Ditch tape and expect quiet season, say experts

| 29/03/2012

me0328tape (295x300).jpg(CNS): Experts from the US National Hurricane Center in Miami are advising people to stop taping up their windows in the face of an approaching storm. They say it leads to false sense of security and actually increases danger.  NHC director Bill Read advises using shutters or impact-resistant windows instead. as tape does not protect your windows. "At best, it’s an inconvenience. At worst, some people have the illusion that they’re safe," he said, noting that people can get severely hurt because tape can create larger and deadlier shards of glass. Meanwhile, this forthcoming season could be the quietest one for three decades, according to early hints from Colorado State experts.

William Gray and Philip Klotzbach said the tropical Atlantic Ocean is cooler than normal and the La Nina weather pattern is giving way to El Nino. Their first official hurricane forecast comes out 4 April and it will show that the Atlantic hurricane basin will likely have less activity than the average 1981 to2010 season.

In the past 30 years the average hurricane season has seen a dozen named storms, six hurricanes, more than a third of which have been considered major. Gray and Klotzbach will announce the numbers for 2012 next week.

However, if a storm does hit the NHC officials joined consumer advocate groups this week to encourage residents to ditch the window tape.

“Our goal is to break this myth,” said Read.

Some disaster management officials are guilty of advising residents to use tape on their windows. Read said when he started working in the 1970s, taping windows was still advised in hurricane brochures. That advice was eliminated from brochures in the 1980s, “but it still persists today,” he said.

Category: Science and Nature

Comments (14)

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  1. SKEPTICAL says:

    For anyone from Europe old enough to remember, the theory of “taping” windows to mitigate injuries from shattered glass, probably dates back at least to World War II. Perhaps the idea was that it was a psychological comfort because, sure as Hell – if even a tiny bomb had landed in your back garden, all the Sparky tape in the World was not going to prevent your arse from looking like a pin cushion.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Don't get too excited…just give it a couple of weeks untill the next forecast.  As usual, we'll be so confused by the time hurricane season starts that none of this will matter.

  3. NeoSurvivor says:

    Good.   About time this taping of the windows thing was disspelled.   Many people can't afford shutters.    Some of those can construct perfectly good shutters or custom-fit and numbered panels from 3/4" PT plywood.    

    The point is, even if you can't afford ANY plywood, don't bother with the tape on the windows.   Won't help a thing, and might even make things worse. 

    Let's hope that Doctors Gray and Klotzbach are correct and the ENSO cycle gives us a milder hurricane season than they thought last December.    Their full-length quantitative forecast will be issued 04 APR 12, and will be found at the Colorado State site.  (apparently linking here alerts the CNS spam filter.)

  4. Anonymous says:

    The point of tape was always said to be to cut down the amount of flying glass, not to protect the windows from breaking. Is there any experimental basis for this recommendation?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Expect a busy season folks

  6. Common Sense says:

    What happened to Global Warming – AHHH Sorry, Climate change increasing the number and severity of storms.

    • Anonymous says:

      I suppose the much milder than average Winter has escaped your attention!

      If I recall, it was never said that the extremes that might result from Global warming were going to develop linear!

      Suppose we suffer just one category 5+ Hurricane this year, it could devastate us, but on the whole it might still be one of the quietest seasons!

      In the meantime, I understand Polar Ice is continuing to melt at a rapid pace.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, it was the coldest winter since temperature measurments are done – in Europe.

    • Anonymous says:

      I'm sure this was a joke, but just in case other people read this and think it should be taken seriously it is once again worth pointing out that meterologists have made it clear time and time again that climate change is a macro level impact and not a season by season impact. A great analogy is smoking – if you smoke you won't necesaryily get lung cancer this year, or even next year but statistically the chances of you getting lung cancer at some point in the next 40 years is an order of magnitude higher than if you didn't smoke. Climate change is similar, one normal summer or one quiet hurricane season does not mean that is not happening and does not exist. If the next 40 summers or hurricane seasons are considered 'normal' than it would mean something.

    • Anonymous says:

      Understand what global warming is first and how it interacts with climate patterns before making a smart comment.

  7. Anonymous says:

    "this forthcoming season could be the quietest one for three decades according to early hints from Colorado State experts"


    Colorado eh? They much hurricanes doing coastal damage and the sort up there in the middle of the USA?

    • Anonymous says:

      William Gray is actually one of the world's preeminent hurricane researchers.   His analysis is referred to by the National Hurricane Center and others. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Colorado State University is one of the  worlds leading institutions when it comes to Tropical meteorology. The fact that they are not located in the tropics does not change that.