Strong winds are expected to hit Polk County. Neighbors are rushing the hardware stores and hunkering down. The county is currently under a tropical storm warning.
In 2004 when Charley passed through, Lake Wales was called the town of blue tarps. It was one of he hardest hit areas with strong winds uprooting trees, peeling roofs and breaking windows. Folks remember Charley and are prepping once again for the same with Matthew.
Employees at Whit's Building Supply, in Bartow, have been running around non-stop. They are keeping up with the demands of getting ready for Matthew. Their most popular request is plywood. This hardware store has plenty to sell.
“We went ahead and bought a truck load of plywood, worth probably about $7,000," said Don.
But it turns out, people living inland may not be doing enough. ABC Action News checked in with local state farm agent Dan Mann. We asked him what steps a homeowner should take to protect against the wind.
“That wood [plywood] very well will make all the difference in the world as far as a house taking a substantial hit or no hit at all," he said.
Mann adds, this is a great start but you need to make sure high winds don't pick up your yard belongings.
"They can turn into deadly missiles," he said.
Mann advices you to walk around your home and take note of every loose item. Either bring it inside or secure it down.
He took us around his own home and found a problem. One of his shutters was missing a pin. Mann noted the biggest insurance claims from Charley were in the categories of windows and roofs. Should water get in your home, it could mean paying big bucks in repairs.
Boarding up your windows is one of the most protective actions you can do with your home but a commonly missed step is actually caulking around your windows and it’ll only cost you about $3.
Mann says winds don't need to shatter your windows for water to get into your home. Both the hardware manager and insurance agent agree, waiting until the last minute isn't a smart choice.