Anna Maria Island has a lot of little old houses with little old windows. I live in one of them. The windows are the old jalousie style, which crank open like blinds, in horizontal sections. The seals on the metal frames around these old windows are poor. The fit of the window sections into the frame is not always tight. In one case, I’ve even used tape to cover a gap between the window and window frame. The glass is thin and weak. It’s time for new windows!
Ideally, my new windows would meet the standards of the Miami-Dade building code, which is the gold standard for all windows in hurricane territory. They would pass the large missile test, namely, they would not shatter if a six-foot-long two-by-four hit the window at 34 miles per hour. And they would pass the small missile test, enduring ten ball bearings hitting the window repeatedly at 50 miles an hour.
Fortunately for me, the biggest test my current windows usually have to endure is having nut shells dropped on them by a squirrel I’ve just fed. But, truth is, there often are lots of coconuts hanging around my yard, and these would be dangerous missiles in the event of a hurricane. I try to trim the coconuts before hurricanes threaten to hit Anna Maria Island, but, as the trees get higher, this is becoming more difficult. I always spend hours before each approaching storm to lower the shutters over some of the windows, and to screw plywood over the others.
It would be so much easier to have new storm-proof windows, to not have to worry about boarding up with plywood or even closing the Bermuda shutters. How great it would be to still be able to look out the window as a hurricane approaches, rather than to sit in a dark house that has been boarded up.
But there is something nice about the old windows. They fit the island, the Old Florida look. They let the breeze in so well when they are opened fully, and if there is a shower, the rain doesn’t come in, because the opened glass provides an awning. So, until I can afford the cost of fine new Miami-Dade tested windows, I guess I’ll just continue to enjoy the breeze and allow time to lower the hurricane shutters.
P.S. Don’t even bother using duct tape over glass windows. It is totally ineffective for storm protection and only serves to leave a hard to remove adhesive residue on the glass!