Severe Weather Guide: How to tie big items down

You've probably seen the photos of plastic drinking straws driven into telephone poles during a hurricane. If high winds can do that to a straw, think of the damage they could do with a lawn chair or grill cover. When severe storms are brewing, it’s critical to batten down the hatches.

What to tie down and how to do it

auger anchor concrete footing

Smaller items like lawn chairs, toys, grills, garden ornaments and plants should be brought inside. For items too large to bring inside, here are a few guidelines:

  • The best anchors are eyebolts or another type of sturdy hardware deeply embedded in concrete footings or pads.
  • In areas where high winds are common, the ideal approach is to build a “tiedown area.” These are areas made of concrete with hardware anchored in place for securing objects. Tiedown areas can double as patios, parking pads for boats or sports courts (just make certain to take precautions so people don’t trip over any protruding anchors).
  • If you don’t have concrete-anchored tiedowns, you can install metal auger anchors. These devices look like gigantic eye bolts with an auger on one end. Bear in mind, if the ground becomes waterlogged, strong winds can yank these anchors out of the ground.
  • Auger anchors work best when installed in line with, or parallel to, the angle of the rope or cable being secured to them.
  • Whatever type of in-ground anchor you use, make certain to use heavy-duty straps, cable or rope for securing things to the anchors. Straps with built-in ratchets, found in the hardware section at Lowe’s, are sturdy, easy to store and easy to tighten.
  • Strap boats firmly to their trailers, then secure the tongue of the trailer to a rock-solid object, if possible. Let some air out of the tires and pour water inside the boat for weight. Remove all loose gear and electronics.
  • Mobile and manufactured homes and trailers should be firmly secured in place to solid in-ground anchors. Bear in mind, experts recommend moving to a more secure shelter, when available.

Information for this post was made in collaboration with Lowes for a severe weather guide.