Lake County residents that live in a manufactured home or low-lying areas should prepare themselves for potential evacuations during the hurricane season.
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.
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.