When considering impact windows or hurricane shutters in Boca Raton, there are a few essential weak points: your windows, roof, and flood and storm surge risk.
Does your Boca Raton home have Impact Windows or Hurricane Shutters?
Let’s visit the average Boca Raton home data to see how residents can strengthen their homes. Roughly 75% of housing units in Boca Raton were built before 1994, meaning fewer homes are likely to be made to withstand a more powerful hurricane in the city.
In 1994, Hurricane Andrew’s impact on South Florida changed the building practices for South Florida. Stronger, more resistant roofs became commonplace on all new construction, and hurricane shutters and impact windows became much more widespread throughout Boca Raton.
Considering housing data, there is still a large majority of homes in Boca Raton that still need adequate hurricane protection in the event of a major hurricane. Even a glance around the communities will reveal that roughly half of all homes in Boca Raton still do not have impact-rated window protection, such as hurricane shutters or impact windows.
The most common hurricane damage risks in Boca Raton
Hurricane Wind Risk in Boca Raton
With most of the city and the unincorporated areas of Boca Raton lying within 15 miles of the ocean, the region is very much at risk of receiving the strongest winds if an intense hurricane were to land within its neighboring communities, making hurricane shutters or impact windows in Boca Raton even more vital.
Wind damage is the most significant source of widespread damage during a hurricane. With minimal elevation (natural or artificial) to break up the storm’s circulation, the area is more vulnerable to stronger winds. Notably, high-rise buildings, mobile homes, and aging window systems are the most at risk of wind damage, although various other factors come into play. While the number of homes with impact windows and hurricane shutters in Boca Raton has gradually increased, roughly 50% still have minimal protection.
A few things to keep in mind while performing a hurricane wind risk assessment of your home are:
Proximity to trees
Downed branches or weak root systems can cause dangerous hazards during a hurricane. Loose or weak branches can quickly become missiles and debris tossed around in a hurricane. Trees with vulnerable root systems can topple in significant hurricanes, causing roof damage or creating multiple small debris risks. These small debris can break windows and weaker outdoor structures.
Generally, most Florida communities and residents will trim trees as needed before the hurricane season begins. Still, it would help if you always accounted for the uncontrollable variables in your hurricane protection plan. Trees are the most common type of debris found after a hurricane and make up the most significant portion of damage found after a hurricane. Having hurricane shutters or impact windows on your Boca Raton home reduces the risks tremendously.
Proximity to weaker outdoor structures
Aging fences, unsecured tool sheds, trampolines, children’s playsets, and other permanent or hard-to-move structures and items can also become dangerous debris in a storm. Keep note of any structures fitting this bill in your surrounding area, even if it may be outside of your property. While removing these items before a storm is strongly recommended, many Floridians choose not to concern themselves with the risk. Your hurricane protection plan should always account for uncontrollable variables like neighbors. Having hurricane shutters or impact windows in Boca Raton will help leave less up to chance.
Storm surge and flood risk in Boca Raton
Considering that a large portion of Boca Raton’s land is within two miles of the ocean or its intercoastal area, its relatively low elevation from sea level, and its numerous canals, lakes, and other bodies of water. The Boca Raton area’s storm surge and flood risk is exceedingly high.
Coastal communities in Boca Raton, particularly those within 2 miles of the ocean, are most at risk of feeling the effects of storm surge. While storm surge is typically most dangerous in significant hurricanes, nearly all tropical systems will affect the surrounding ocean, bringing higher sea levels and more violent waves as they dart across the Atlantic. Storm surge is the #1 cause of property damage and casualty during powerful hurricanes, and you should always be minded if you are in a high-risk area.
Due to Boca Raton’s relatively low elevation, it will catch no breaks in terms of its storm surge risk. Boca Raton’s lower elevation, combined with its various bodies of water, makes the potential impacts of storm surges and localized flooding more prominent. It’s essential to always keep an eye on the water level of any bodies of water close to your property and rain forecasts ahead of the storm to determine your risk for storm-related flooding. It is commonplace during larger storms for the canal system and local lakes to be overrun with excess water.
Having hurricane shutters or impact windows in Boca Raton will not affect storm surge risk, so it’s important to note that your risk factors may vary depending on your distance from the ocean, sea level elevation, and proximity to natural or artificial canals. Please refer to the Florida Disaster’s guide for detailed information about your risk level.
What’s more common in Boca Raton? Impact Windows or Accordion Shutters?
Depending on the area of Boca Raton, various hurricane protection systems are deployed.
- The most common window coverings in East Boca Raton are Impact Windows.
- The most common window coverings in West Boca Raton are Accordion Shutters.
Most new housing structures in Boca Raton leverage impact-rated roofing that can withstand hurricanes, although older homes may not leverage the stronger, hurricane-resistant roofing.
Want to learn more about which is best for your home? Check our our article on how to choose here!
Common additional hurricane impact window options in Boca Raton
With the introduction of ES Windows’ exceptional deals on heat-strength glass, heat-strength glass is by far the most common additional hurricane impact window feature chosen in Boca Raton. Turtle tint may be required if you live within “line-of-sight” of the open ocean, making it the second most common feature on impact windows in Boca Raton.
Disaster Response In Boca Raton: First Responders, FPL, Water Service
Boca Raton has a well-funded government assistance system and is typically given great aid by the national and state governments in the event of a storm. State of Emergencies are quickly issued before storms to free up resources to assist potential victims.
Utility companies are well situated to handle post-hurricane operations, and power is typically restored relatively quickly in the City of Boca Raton compared to other cities in the area. This being said, power outages can last a few days to several months, depending on the severity of the damage done by the hurricane. The best bet to reduce your reliance on disaster aid is to have a hurricane-resistant roof and hurricane shutters or accordion shutters in Boca Raton. Investing in a generator, spare fuel, and other power-related measures is also a wise choice.
First Responders after a Hurricane in Boca Raton: Firefighters, Ambulatory Health & Law Enforcement
First responders are generally available to assist before, during, and after a storm as long as conditions allow.
During hurricane emergencies, the approach to response and rescue operations is carefully tailored to the severity of the situation. At 35-45 mph wind speeds, non-urgent calls for public assistance are set aside, allowing emergency services to concentrate on serious threats such as live downed wires or active fires. Responses to car accidents and automatic fire alarms are also scaled back, limited to those with confirmed injuries or evidence of fire in occupied buildings.
As conditions worsen, with winds between 45-55 mph, the department might decide to suspend all but the most critical operations involving direct life-saving interventions. If winds escalate beyond 55 mph, emergency operations are halted, with responders instructed to take shelter until it’s safe to resume their duties. Throughout these escalating conditions, the department has the authority to adjust response protocols as needed to ensure the safety of both the public and emergency personnel. The underlying priority is clear: save lives while keeping responders safe.
Evacuation Routes & Shelters
For a list of hurricane shelters in Boca Raton, check Palm Beach County’s dedicated list of shelters.
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