Test your IQ: Hurricane myths examined

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HOUSTON - Here is a pop quiz to test your hurricane safety knowledge:

Q1: Do you need to evacuate based on a hurricane's strength/wind speeds?

Yes or No

Q2: Will it cost more than $10,000 to severe weather proof your home?

Yes or No

Q3: Taping my windows will help prevent hurricane damage.

Yes or No.

If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, you have just fallen for a hurricane myth.

A national Harris Interactive Survey, commissioned by Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), tested American's hurricane IQ.

It said their findings are frightening when it comes to people's perception of when it is time to evacuate.

Myth #1: Evacuation orders are based on hurricane wind speeds.

When it comes to fleeing from a hurricane, most people base this life or death decision on how strong the winds of the storm are.

According to the survey, 84 percent of Americans incorrectly believe this myth, and that is a big mistake.

FLASH says the fact is hurricane evacuation zones are defined storm surge threat and inland flooding, not wind speed or hurricane category.

The reason is because storm surge is the greatest threat to life and property.

"Most people think of wind with a hurricane, but in recent years, water from storm surge and inland flooding has done the most damage and killed the most people," said Rick Knabb, Ph.D., director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Storm surge is when a large volume of water is pushed onto land by the force of winds. It can quickly cause flooding, sometimes in minutes.

It isn't just major hurricanes that can produce deadly storm surge.

Hurricane Ike was a category two storm when it made landfall in 2008.

According to the storm damage survey, an estimated 80 to 90 percent of homes in Crystal Beach, Gilchrist and Caplen on the Bolivar Peninsula were destroyed.

There were indications that the water reached 20 foot levels in a few places due to surge.

Tropical storms can also generate deadly storm surges and bring in massive amounts of water to produce inland flooding.

Myth #2: Protecting my home against severe weather will cost more than $10,000.

Getting your home ready for a hurricane does not need to cost thousands and thousands of dollars.

However, 7 out of 10 people believe it will.

According to FLASH, an investment of about $1,000 can help minimize damage to your home.

"With an investment of $1,100, homeowners can brace garage doors, install plywood shutters and seal the roof deck to reduce wind uplift," explained FLASH.

For instance, they suggest using temporary plywood shutters from $275 to $750  to protect windows and sliding glass doors from flying debris.

To plan ahead, get the plywood measured, cut and labeled in advance. Then secure them with nails, screws or anchor bolts and clips before the storm arrives.

Another suggestion is corrugated steel or aluminum shutters from $7 to $15 per foot.

Myth #3: Taping windows with masking or duct tape will prevent hurricane damage.

According to FLASH, taping your windows is a waste of time.

But still, about 54 percent of people believe taping windows helps.

The fact is the tape does not stop the hurricane from breaking your windows, but it can make the situation worse.

Taping may actually create larger shards of glass that can cause serious injury.

FLASH says "Go Tapeless!"

They add even if a tape says "hurricane tape," it isn't enough to protect your home.

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