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Thread: Hurricane Pre-Planning for Next Year & Beyond

  1. #11
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    Glad this excellent thread was made into a sticky, contains all kinds of great information.
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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRob View Post
    Glad this excellent thread was made into a sticky, contains all kinds of great information.
    Sadly, not much will happen/change. Landlords not actually living in the property they own will probably not spruce up their holdings, leaving tenants vulnerable.

    Absent vacation property owners will most likely choose to rely on insurance as they are not here for much of the hurricane season or will simply choose to leave if a storm appears on the horizon.

    Watching the effects of big storms elsewhere on TV and the assumption that it "won't happen here" will placate many to do just the bare minimum.

    Renters certainly will not make the investment in someone else's property when the landlord opts not to.

    Even if you do everything possible to the highest attainable standards, a Cat 4/5 passing sufficiently close can still sweep you and everything you own away. We all know that living through the storm is but the beginning of the hardship. Surviving these catastrophic events and not having to endure the horrendous aftermath is the name of the game and for many this means packing up and leaving at the right time. "Do I stay or do I go", a bit of a gamble for sure but if you do go, you won't be killed and you won't have to bathe in a bucket, eat mud and watch the trees blowing in the breeze as your only source of entertainment for what could be weeks or months.

    If there is a lesson to be learned from last year, it is that leaving for a safer place well away from the path of the storm is the only sure bet one can make. Not something many are prepared to or able to do, but a three day off island excursion can be a welcome break from daily life here. Returning when the danger has passed and it is clear that a relatively normal life "can" go on, is much preferable to "Oh shyte!" - Airport is closed, no power, no cell phones, no water, no food, roving bands of hand-nots, washed out roads and a general all around nasty bit of business.

    Do all that you can afford to do in the way of preparation to protect your property, but always remember, that even your best may not be good enough and there is never a guarantee that when the sky clears you will be dry, safe and comfortable. A building is just a building and can be replaced; A life not so much; Living an existence similar to those in Puerto Rico these days, not something anyone wants to endure.

  4. #13
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    i am not too brainy so most of this advice is going over my head, to be frank. however, i can do a simple explanation of our setup, maybe it can help. there are small changes you can make at little cost.

    gas: we have two large bottles and a system that connects them. we never run out of gas, all i need to do is go to the back, turn off empty bottle, turn on full bottle and flip the lever that connects them. then miesposo takes the empty tank to fill it up. before irma we had both filled up.

    petrol: we do not have a generator so only need petrol for cars. again, before irma we filled up both.

    backup power: we have 3.5 kw inverter and 8 batteries. our power is pretty much 24/7 but we did not downgrade the system even after moving to A circuit. before irma miesposo turned off the inversor so that we stayed on street power. sure enough the electricity in our area went out at night. fridge/freezer held on nicely since they were not being opened. the blackout lasted 3 days. we were the only ones on our street with the juice still left by the time we got reconnected. miesposo would switch the inversor on/off during that time so that we could charge phones, use computers and keep the food cold.

    food/water: we bought few large water bottles as extra supply. altogether 6, for the 2 of us. plenty of cans. i baked several breads, wrapped them in foil and put in the fridge. our cistern was full and at the worst we could boil that water too for drinking. remember that in a real shortage of resources water for bathing can be reused. wash in a tub or using large plastic bowl; that soapy water can be then used for cleaning the floor or flushing toilets.

    charging: it's a good idea to buy a car charger and that little gizmo that serves as an external battery (small box that you charge from the power source once and can then at any point connect to the phone to give it more juice).

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  5. #14
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    this is our most important Topic on the Weather Section.
    i don't understand how i could miss it, when it came up at year's end.
    and it is always great to read jstarebel, no force will bring da guy down, always floating an extra inch over the bottom.
    somebody mentioned " we are far away from the next Ice Age",
    totally agreed of course.
    I would even say we are on a quick way Aawy from anything Ice Aged.
    we get hotter and our Storm activities get Wilder, and that trend should continue for a very long time from now.
    Storms will get more frequent and we will see every other year a new "most powerful" or "Biggest/widest" Storm in history.
    we will not change to a declining trend on the matter during our life time.
    I agree with the ones who say "move as far away as you can afford to travel, better even hopp on a plane and switch continents" to stay safe, as that is the only way to guarantee the family's safety health/life wise.
    We stayed here all together during the 2018 Storms, but honestly,
    in the same situation/outlook again I tend to send wife and Daughter and Dog on a long road trip or even sit them on a plane to visit friends somewhere northern New England, where harm is the least awaited after storms passed down here heading over there then, but i would stay myself together with some friends to secure the own stuff, to not leave everything behind.
    Mike

    www.MikeFisherPuntaCana.com
    MikeFisherPuntaCana@gmail.com
    Punta Cana/Cap Cana/Dominican Republic

  6. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ju10prd View Post
    A coupe of posts in the Hurricane season thread have prompted me to post this new thread. It was posted that the possibility of another crazy season is in store next year and maybe this time DR will not be so very lucky.

    As I have mentioned in another thread, I have recently been working along side loss adjusters in the USVI following the impacts of both Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and have been a resident in the Caribbean for more than 17 years and involved in the design and construction of numerous buildings of all types as well as living through many tropical storms and hurricanes, but not seen anything so close as this years major storms.

    In DR we were incredibly fortunate the tracks of either of those storms was not 50 to 100 miles further south or west, or DR would have suffered badly in certain regions and the festive season would have been grim.

    I thought I would share a few thoughts to home owners and renters in DR on what could happen, based upon what I have seen inspecting numerous windstorm damaged dwellings and businesses and interacting with the experiences of the insured in the badly damaged USVI.

    Only when both Irma and Maria were heading in our direction, DR1 members were desperate for information on what to do with their property. It is too late then, so now is an opportune time to plan ahead for the next season and beyond and I hope the following helps:

    • Look at your power situation locally. Look at the power transmission in particular and if the feed is by overhead power line and expect significant long delays (several months perhaps) in restoring power and cable services. Some areas of DR have private providers and underground distribution and they will likely be served better after a storm. I am thinking that the East Coast and Las Galeras might fare better. But my suggestion is that you look at solar photovoltaic DC supply and battery storage and inversion to AC. I met insured persons who had solar but entered into contracts to sell the electricity to the grid and were sat at home without power and regretted their short sightedness. Generators are a secondary option and noisy and need regular maintenance if your power is out for months.

    • Also change to cooking by gas and maybe also for water heating. Electric stoves may look good but are absolutely useless with no juice.

    • Think water supply. Even if you have cistern storage without power you might not be able to access that source of water and showering will become a desperate need. And time to think water purification too. We are fortunate here on DR1 to have jstarebel who has invaluable, perhaps unsurpassed, experience of water systems regionally.

    • Think laundry. No electrical supply and a need to wash clothes sodden with sweat.

    • Thankfully not so many homes in DR have timber frame constructed roofing however, I’ve seen many such roof failures from the ring (bond) beam detaching itself from the block wall due to poor vertical reinforcement to rafter uplift through poor hurricane strapping to purlin uplift where nailed rather than screwed. But by far the most common roof damage is the uplift of the roof covering again due to poor fixing. And often the solar panels go too because of poor fixing. Well fixed panels don’t go anywhere. Good roof truss construction and proper hurricane clipping to a bond beam which is anchored down to the foundations through continuous rebar in concrete infill columns and concrete filled block voids.

    • But water ingress is the costly event. Make sure that roofing is good first then look at your windows. Louvre windows and jalousie will be no use in severe rain driven winds and the water will find it’s way in through them. Even through poorly constructed external doors water finds it’s way in. Mosquito screens will get destroyed so best to remove and store them. Don’t think hurricane shutters are the answer either. I’ve seen the folding ones fail due to poor fixings. Consider the fabric ones or better still the time proven permanent Bermuda type shutters. I’ve seen windows screens behind hurricane shutters blown out. Big windows screens and sliding doors are a big risk. I've seen external walls blown in and find out that the construction has been cement board on stud framing and stucco...it doesn't work with these powerful storms.

    • Check all your window and balcony door fixings and if they are spaced more than 12 inches apart question the adequacy. If they are corroding, change them to stainless steel.

    • Back to roof. The roof sheeting should be overlapped by two upstand profiles. And properly sealed and screwed. Look at all the flashings and especially the ridge capping. Gutters will take a hit for sure. Concrete roofs will normally fare well but keep the elastomeric roof paint maintained but any parapet capping may suffer. If you have roof tiles or shingles expect a lot of damage. Even properly installed standing seam roofs let water in…generally at the details. Out door balconies are also subject to extra uplift forces. The wind gets into these areas and exerts significant stresses and can be the beginning of the end for the main roof. Look at you balconies and any porches and imagine the worst.

    • Internal gutters will prove a disaster in the making in general. They won’t handle the rainfall and outlets will back up with the wind-blown debris. The ponded water on the roofing will then find its own way down under gravity and that could be through concrete cracks and weaknesses.

    • Plan for water ingress. Protect any thing vulnerable. Design to avoid vulnerability. Make sure your content cover is enough. Internal finishes easily get damaged and internal doors invariably are ruined along with kitchen cabinetry and toilet vanities. Water also gets under tiling and especially in DR where there is a tendency to lay 1st floor tiles on a bed of mortar this could be a big issue. Sheetrock will get damaged and be ruined and a source of mold growth and if the water is from above all will need to be changed.

    • Look at your garden and surroundings. Even neighbours places. I’ve seen whole roofing slammed up against another house and the insured may get a small sum to clear such debris which was not theirs. Check your insurance policy carefully for what is covered externally. Weather heads will go and are they covered?

    • Also check if your property is sufficiently insured and the value at risk is sufficiently covered.

    • And importantly before a storm hits or is a probability go take record photographs before the event and in the unfortunate event plenty immediately afterwards for the insurance claim.

    • Water being the main problem could impact you through flood damage depending on where you live and how your house is sited. Check your cover.

    • Finally check your deductible. It is a percentage of the sum insured and quite often a large sum. Insurance premiums will go up throughout the Caribbean for everybody even if the storms missed you. Understand your insurance and evaluate the risks as your number one New Years resolution.

    Again, please take some time to evaluate your property well before hurricane season comes around and take early actions to avoid the potential misery that has afflicted so many islanders this year.

    I do wish the Dominican government would do so likewise.

    As always plan for the worst and hope for the best.
    Don't forget to stock up on whiskey and rum

  7. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbobo View Post
    Don't forget to stock up on whiskey and rum
    and freeze in 2 of the 5 gallon drinking water juggs, so you have cold drinking water long after the electricity went out.
    also frozen small water-plastic bags all over spread over your meats etc in the freezer will keep the stuff much longer frozen/cold/ediable til very long after the electricity went out, and each serves as still cooled drinking water after it defreezed.
    Mike

    www.MikeFisherPuntaCana.com
    MikeFisherPuntaCana@gmail.com
    Punta Cana/Cap Cana/Dominican Republic

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  9. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeFisher View Post
    and freeze in 2 of the 5 gallon drinking water juggs, so you have cold drinking water long after the electricity went out.
    also frozen small water-plastic bags all over spread over your meats etc in the freezer will keep the stuff much longer frozen/cold/ediable til very long after the electricity went out, and each serves as still cooled drinking water after it defreezed.
    Very good advice for foreigners, and not just for storm season. Specifically, on this particular point of water preservation. People in the RD have been doing this for generations due to the faulty power installations.

  10. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caonabo View Post
    Very good advice for foreigners, and not just for storm season. Specifically, on this particular point of water preservation. People in the RD have been doing this for generations due to the faulty power installations.
    thats right, it also is helpful when on looong boat rides, or fishing on a Yola far out there for several days/nights in a row.
    Mike

    www.MikeFisherPuntaCana.com
    MikeFisherPuntaCana@gmail.com
    Punta Cana/Cap Cana/Dominican Republic

  11. #19
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    Could you reccommend what type of roof you would build other than cement and how you would build it? tks a ton

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