How St. Croix Homeowners Prepare for Hurricanes

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St. Croix homeowners are breathing a sigh of relief today as Hurricane Gonzalo passed us to the north overnight, providing only some welcome rain to our island.  We are spoiled to beautiful weather year-round, with a consistent forecast of 88 degrees and sunny with a 10 percent chance of rain.  Forget worry about being snowed-in, driving on ice or taking cover in tornado alley.

The one weather-related issue we deal with is the chance of tropical storms and hurricanes, which can be intimidating to Caribbean newcomers.  Historically the threats are few and far between (St. Croix’s last mild encounter was in 2008, last major in 1989).  But with a few plans and precautions, hurricane season is nothing to sweat when you live in paradise.  Many islanders actually plan hurricane parties when work and school are cancelled, to enjoy some local rum and ride out the storm with friends.

Windstorm / Flood Insurance

Windstorm and flood insurance are a wise investment when you buy a home in the Caribbean as riders to your homeowners policy (windstorm coverage is mandatory if you have a mortgage).  These can cover exterior damage as well as protect the contents of your home like furnishings.

Hurricane Shutters

Another smart purchase for St. Croix homeowners is quality hurricane shutters.  Several styles exist including panels, roll d0wn and accordion.  They offer the same basic protection, covering glass with a steel or aluminum barrier.  Generally the easier they are to close, the more costly they are to have initially installed.  But good shutters are well worth it when the process to prepare your house for a storm is quick and requires little risk lifting panels, using ladders, etc.

Generators

In case a storm knocks out power, many St. Croix residents own generators.  To power an entire house you can purchase a standby generator, which are available with automatic transfer switches and start-up systems.  To power only the basics (fridge, fans, etc.) you can buy a portable residential generator.

Season Preparation Kit

Ready.gov recommends the following list of disaster supplies:

– Water (one gallon per person per day for three days)

– Non-perishable food

– Manual can opener

– Wrench / pliers to turn off utilities

– Radio

– Flashlight

– Spare batteries

– Cell phone and battery chargers

– Whistle to signal for help

– Local map

– First aid kit

Ready to leave the snow and ice behind in the states?  Download our free guide the 10 Best Reasons for Living on St. Croix.  

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