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Hurricane Ivan Slams Gulf Shores

Hurricane Resistant & Quality Windows & Doors

Hurricane Shutter and Storm Shutter Suppliers

Pensacola TV WEAR the ABC Affiliate 10 pm News Feature about our house--Sept 29, 04
Nice but contains factual errors on cost per sq ft--FYI

Our concrete Hurricane proof house was basically unharmed by the tremendous force of Hurricane Ivan's 160 MPH winds.

ivan-satallite.jpg (17281 bytes)NOAA Photo

before hurricane ivan
BEFORE Hurricane Ivan: The photo I took as I drove away on Tuesday, Sept 14, 2004
right after the police came to be sure I was on my way OUT !
They even kindly helped me with my last hurricane shutter latching.

storm damage driveway hurricane ivan
AFTER: Our driveway after Hurricane Ivan's eye went directly over our concrete house.

house protected by hurricane shutters
A yard FULL of debris. Most of it was parts and contents of people's former wooden beach homes.
The rest was recreational stuff like coolers, ski's, kid's beach toys, and a whole bunch of red plastic gas containers.

hurricane proof house-exterior hutters on north

hurricane destroyed home walls hurricane destroyed home walls

It appears that we have someone's home in pieces in our yard .
There is quite a bit of furniture along with the wall sections, decks and railings.

hurricane furniture damage unrepairable
hurricane table legs oak table

home pilings foundation of a house,hurricane damage

We can see across Little Lagoon ( not actually little, just the name ) places where several houses recently stood.
I believe that some of those houses are now in our yard.

hurricane proof house shutters hurricane protection The absolutely amazing thing is that the shutters on our south side were blown completely off our house but yet not a single pane of glass is broken !!! That says a lot for Weathershield Windows--and we do not even have impact glass in our windows and doors (which I will get next time for sure). We only took in a small amount of water. After some investigation on our part, it seems the only reason that we took in water, was thru the clothes dryer vent opening. The dryer vent had a flimsy plastic louvered cover, which of course is gone now. We have not pulled the stack washer/dryer unit out yet to see just how the dryer vent hose burst. I just hope the dirty water did not get up inside the dryer.

Our porch roof is fine. We thought maybe we would lose the porch in a violent storm sometime, but we didn't. We did use long screws on every joist instead of just nails. Our roof is sheet metal called roofing hurricane proof. I was told by the roofers in Gulf Shores that was the best type to have since it has a color matched screw into the decking every two feet. A nice thing is that it is relatively inexpensive compared to old-style-standing seam metal roofing with clips, which is what I thought I wanted. We have hurricane straps on the roof trusses and no sheetrock in the house. Our ceilings are tongue-in-groove pine boards, as are our interior walls.

hurricane-shutter-closed hurricane-shutter-hardware-haspThis is a polywood hurricane shutter on the north side of the house. These shutters have the Acme cast iron hinges, but on this north side of the house no shutters came off. The north side did not get the full force of the wind and the windows are higher, so no pounding debris on the waves reached them. The shutters fit into the openings properly and are flush with the wall. The forged sliding hasp closure is set at an angle to allow gravity to be one's friend and help the latch stay closed.

Acme-Shutter-Hinge-Set.jpg (9839 bytes)
Acme Hinges

Here is my missing shutter theory: Our southern shutters ended up being a little bit larger than the window openings in the blocks after all hardware was added to the big bi-fold sections. When closed, because of the extra hardware (flat steel hinges) between sections, the shutters bowed out from the wall somewhat. We didn't chisel out for the flat hinges because of the embedded aluminum frame in the shutter that is close to the edge. We used the Acme hinge because it is designed so that the shutter rises and falls a bit as you open and close it and it locks into the open position. When fully open, the hinge lets the shutter fall in a manner that holds the shutter nicely flat against the wall so shutter dogs are not needed. The post part of the hinge is mounted to the wall and the loop part on the shutter drops down over the post. I think that since the closed shutters bowed out, the upward force of the wind hitting the solid house wall plus the high winds and waves slamming against the wall caused the whole shutter unit to rise up and off the hinge posts. The hinges are made of cast iron so if one side came off, the other hinges would snap in a heartbeat. Since the shutters bowed out slightly, the upper edges of the shutters were not inside the openings like all the other windows were. Inside the opening, the shutters could not rise at all. Live and learn. Whatever shutter system we use to replace the window shutters on the south I'd like to use either forged steel, brass, stainless steel or aluminum hinges---not cast ones. Forged or rolled metals have much greater tensile strength than anything cast. See, college learnin' comes in handy.

Several people have asked to see the shutters in their open position on the south wall before Hurricane Ivan.
south-window-storm-shutters in sunset
BEFORE: Photo on the left is daytime shot, and on right is the rosy glow of a Gulf Shores sunset.
The windows had bi-fold shutters on both sides of each window that met in the middle and secured with two stainless steel bolts. We had to use seperate upper and lower shutters due to the weight and available height of the materials. People often want to know how much we spent on the shutters, Polywood w/ aluminum frame and lexan interior sheet , 13 pairs for just about $8000 painted but uninstalled. French door aluminum shutters $800 uninstalled/unpainted
Hurricane Shutter Resources
Hurricane Proof Windows & Door Sources.

hurricane- van damage home air conditioner unit-electrical ivan-damage-AC.jpg (18059 bytes)
You can see that we will be without electricity for some time. The electrical service terminal boxes were ripped from the wall in the high winds. Our air conditioner compressor unit used to sit on this raised platform. It had hurricane straps that were fastened to embedded brackets of stainless steel but obviously the straps or bolts were not strong enuf for Ivan. Our storage shed  was on the other side of the A/C is now completely blow away.

electric-transformer home power This damaged box in our yard steps up the power to our house. It is a long run of about 400 ft underground from road to house.

ft-morgan-woods-east hurricane debris
This undeveloped property (about 3 acres) to the east of us was previously very dense foliage. It was a jungle of palmettos, yaupon holly, magnolia, red bay, ferns, smilac, muscadines, etc.. and now one can see clear across to the house on the other side. The debris is so thick that it will have to be cleared out to encourage new under story plant growth.

hurricane cleared woods

hurricane proof house design
On the north side, the bench, heavy steel chairs, and my paddle boat were all lashed together with an orange extension cord.
Had it not been for the high water, I think they might have survived on that side of the house.


ivan-damage-paddle-boat.jpg (28111 bytes)
We spotted all the above items up close to the street still lashed together !
They may be
salvageable--I hope so.

gazebo damage building materials
Someone's Upturned Gazebo

concrete steps damage
We had minor step damage on the south, towards the water. 
The top step is on the ground and one step has a chipped off corner.

ivan-damage-yard-piles.jpg (26241 bytes) ivan-damage-yard-2.jpg (25872 bytes)

ivan-damage-yard-3.jpg (24396 bytes)
A Bobcat carries a house wall section out of our yard and to the piles of debris on the street. The Bobcat operator just picked it up thru the window. Gradually we get much of the yard cleared, the grass is pretty much gone, the damp soil got very churned up by the equipment.

 ivan-damage-street.jpg (24200 bytes) ivan-damage-street-2.jpg (25780 bytes)
My old paddle boat was ruined, but still we saw someone stop and grab it off the pile at the street.

ivan-da-ho.jpg (17917 bytes)
Close-up of pile of debris.

ivan-sea-oat-sign.jpg (55010 bytes)

The yard is cleared of the largest stuff. The sign came from some public beach or wildlife refuge area to our house, over a mile for sure.

People who have followed our website and home building adventure from all over have been emailing and calling to comment or ask questions about how we fared. A Scripts-Howard newspaper columnist from Florida called for his article on hurricane shutters, Chris Arpe Gang of the Memphis Commercial Appeal called so she could do a small piece for her paper. One of the production companies for cable TV's DIY network called about including us in next seasons "Owner Built Homes" show. The Pensacola ABC TV affiliate reporter. Lisa Bell, was out today to do an interview-to air Wed. Sept 29 on 10 p.m. news.

Newspaper article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal--Oct 2, 2004

after-ivan-yard.jpg (18571 bytes)
Our once lovely yard of St. Augustine grass and living trees has looked like this (moonscape) now for 10 months--but Spring 2005, we are working hard to restore--See Photos Here

Neighbor's Boat Docks Before and After IVAN

hurricane-ivan-boat dock-east-before
Before: To the east were several private boat docks, now gone.

hurricane-ivan boat dock-damage-east
After: Boat docks all missing plus look at the open space between the trees now.So much foilage is gone..

hurricane-ivan boat dock-before-west

Before: To the west was a nice boat dock--it had recently gotten a new hip roof and boat slips,
done after this photo was taken.

hurricane-ivan boat dock-damage-west little lagoon
After: Not much left !

Some of our neighbor's homes along Ft. Morgan Road on Little Lagoon in Gulf Shores.

hurricane-damage-neighbors on little lagoon

hurricane-damage-neighbors on ft morgan rd

hurricane-ivan-pontoon-boat gulf shores

This boat is now sitting by our neighbor's driveway out on the edge of Fort Morgan Road. It doesn't look too damaged, it looks like some kids borrowed it for a 'joy ride' and just parked it !

See Hurricane Ivan damage photos of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
hurricane-ivan-damage-car.jpg (10366 bytes)

This car was still belly-up in the surf over a week later in Orange Beach
See Orange Beach devastation Here

hurricane-ivan-orange-beach-home-damage.jpg (13488 bytes)
This is pretty typical of the beach houses still standing on West Beach in Gulf Shores
Take a walk along West Beach in Gulf Shores,
these are the homes who's pieces were in our yard.

Jack Edwards Airport Airplane Hangers in Gulf Shores

hurricane-ivan-airport-hanger-damage jack edwards

Seems the only small airplane hanger at Jack Edwards Airport that has damage is ours ! The doors were blown off and the end wall was blown in. Inside were two cars, one of which now has a smashed convertible top---my new 1974 Volkswagon Thing. I had just gotten the plates for it days before the hurricane. The plates are still sitting in the kitchen. You can see terrible wind storm damage to the large hanger in the background and the yellow truck on the left. The plane had been flown to Memphis, so was not in the hanger. Two cars were in the hanger plus a couple of computer monitors, table and chairs, iron gates, etc...which all got soaked.

hurricane-ivan-volkswagon-thing-damage airport

My Volkswagon Thing's top was brand new and imported from Germany. Even the frame was new :o(
It is increasingly difficult to obtain parts for '74 Things. The other car just got one dent.

airport-office trailer-damage jack edwards gulf shores
This trailer at Jack Edwards was the office for recreational helicopter rides.

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