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 Those who should prepare to evacuate from the path of a hurricane

Based on information from the National Hurricane Center, officials in the Lake County Emergency Operations Center could issue an evacuation order for residents of manufactured homes and low-lying areas within 36 hours before a hurricane begins to impact the County.

Hurricane evacuation route

Because of the destructive power and torrential rainfall of a hurricane, residents in a manufactured home or low-lying area should never ignore an evacuation order. While manufactured homes are a popular way of life in Florida, the 2010 U.S. Census data estimate there are nearly 850,000 mobile homes in the state, riding out a hurricane in a mobile home can be a fatal decision.

Manufactured homes are particularly vulnerable to hurricane-force winds. That is why emergency officials order manufactured home evacuation even for the least powerful storm, a Category 1 hurricane. Although some manufactured homes are built to withstand higher winds than of a Category 1 hurricane, Lake County Office of Emergency Management officials still believe these residents are safer in a site-built home or general risk shelter.

The destruction left by Hurricane Charley in Punta Gorda, Fla., easily illustrates why manufactured homes and high winds don’t mix. According to a newspaper report, severe damage was reported in 31 different mobile home parks in the area.

One of the few defenses a manufactured home has against high winds is proper tie-downs or anchors. Florida law requires all manufactured homes to be anchored. Faulty or unstable anchors can be a problem. A resident may be able to check the condition of the tie-downs, but it is best to hire a licensed mobile home installer or repair company.

While anchors prevent high winds from twisting or lifting the foundation of a manufacture home, they will not inhibit the wind from damaging the roof or walls.

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