This native Houstonian recently dodged a bullet, so my heart goes out to everyone east of me on the Gulf Coast affected by Hurricane Laura. That said, my time protecting my classic(ish) cars from this hurricane makes a good refresher course for those who live where catastrophic flooding and high winds threatens your property every year. This will be far from a comprehensive guide, so read the comments section for words of wisdom from our Hagerty Community.
To get the ball rolling, this story’s gonna have two sides: Prepping for your classics and getting your daily driver ready in the event of an evacuation. Before we dig in, all of your property (not just cars) should be photographed before the storm, as it might be needed later to assess its pre-storm condition by an insurance claims adjuster.
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This topic hits close to home for me, so I have to post a reply. I cannot agree more with your statement "If there’s one thing I learned from Hurricane Harvey, putting your vehicle on jack stands is worth the effort, even if your neighborhood has never flooded before." I learned the same thing from the same storm.
I had just finished the complete restoration of a VW Beetle, from the ground up. The car was licensed for the first time in over 10 years and ready to enjoy. It had 27 miles on the odometer....and then came Harvey.
When it looked inevitable that water would be coming in the house, I tried to jack the car up as much as I could, but only having 2 jack stands, I resorted to putting a couple of spare rims under the front wheels and the jack stands under the rear. Then my house took on 3 feet of water! But you know what? By raising the car as much as I did, I managed to keep the fuse box and the dash switches dry. The water came right up to the lower edge of my fuse box. If the car had been left on the ground, those electrical items would have been under water. So as bad as it was, I am actually thankful that I had jacked the car up, even those few inches.
I have the car fixed and back on the road now. I also now own 4 jack stands. 😀
The last thing anyone wants is their garage doors blow-in during a bad storm such as a hurricane. This is what we do.
Whenever we have a hurricane on the way, we get as much outdoor things into our garage as possible, and the cars too. I installed side latches/sliding locks on both the right and left sides of the garage doors, as there had only been one on each door. I set the latches in order to lock the doors down.
Then we then take a folded-up blanket (or other soft item to act as a cushion) one of us holds the blanket against the back of the car and the other pushes the car against the garage door, and applies the parking brake. Doing the same with the other garage door, the cars then hold pressure against the garage doors framework. This gives the garage doors two sources in securing their protection, from inside the garage.
I would not put pressure on the doors from the outside as there isn't a frame structure to press against in that direction. But parking a car close to the outside of a garage door would offer some additional protection.
I've lived in Florida for 35 years, so I have seen plenty of hurricanes. I have a couple of comments on your suggestions. 1) You mention covering a car with a tarp and strapping it down. I considered that once and opted against it. I figured that the paint would withstand the rain much better than a cover buffeting against the paint for 20 hours. I don't have any data for comparison... just a thought. 2) You suggest parking between buildings to protect against the wind. This might work well; then again, it might not. It depends on the building. Keep in mind that anything that falls on the roof of the building will get blown to and likely fall off the leeward side, right where the car is parked. I did this and had a cement roof tile narrowly miss my convertible top. Had it fallen through the top during the storm, the damage would have been extreme. ...Just a couple thoughts to keep in mind.
Sajeev, very well done. I'm, keeping this excellent work so I can have it for the time when I need it. I have lived through 3 Hurricanes (I moved) in New Orleans and fire in California, currently active as you know. My cars are fine. I have fireproof storage (we'll see) and I am prepared in other ways as well as the family personally. I'm thinking seriously of moving to the Mojave Desert or some other place with no weather. Never mind. Thanks again.
Slightly off topic, but my sporting club had a disasterous fire. The most difficult part was reconstructing the records as the honour boards were lost that were up to 130 years old. A few photos stored separately to the building would have saved a lot of time chasing old newspapers etc. It may be worth a digital copy of the historical records of your vehicles.
Wow, thank you so much for sharing! Yes, I think everyone needs a full set of jackstands for every car they own in the Gulf Coast. You just don't know what's gonna happen!
I am so happy to hear the Beetle survived Harvey!
I cant Resist. My father has a home in Fla. as well as here in TC MI. When he added a garage to his home in Fla. The "inspector" Told him he HAD to have this "hurricane" door $$$, so later on when talking to the worthless bureaucrat, he told him he was all safe for a hurricane, all he had to do was stand behind the door!