"> Preparing your above ground pool for a hurricane – Above Ground Pools Know it All

Preparing your above ground pool for a hurricane

I have been in the above-ground swimming pool business in Orlando, Florida for more than 35 years. This means that I have experienced what happens to an above ground pool during a hurricane and what doesn’t happen to them.

How to prepare your above ground pool for a hurricane

Above ground pools are usually unaffected by hurricanes. To prepare your above ground pool for a hurricane, shock the pool, secure a cover well, and remove or tie down anything in the yard that may fly into the pool from the high winds.


Hurricanes are a bigger deal now than they were years ago. This is mainly because the news media runs 24 hours a day and there is profit in making people afraid.

The other reason hurricanes are a bigger deal and concern is that a lot more people live in areas where they hit land. As a result, more people are affected by them and more damage is done by them because there’s more human-built stuff to get damaged.

I’m an old school Floridian. This means I don’t get as alarmed as those who haven’t lived in a hurricane zone since they were kids or for too long. Occasionally, an on-coming hurricane will give me some worry. But, for the most part, I don’t even buy extra water when one “might” come my way.

So, with not being much of an alarmist, this article won’t scare you with all of the worse case scenarios that are possible with your above ground pool during a hurricane. If you are looking to feed your fear, then sorry. You’ll have to read elsewhere.

My advice and opinions are based on the reality of what I have seen hurricanes do to above ground swimming pools over a forty-year period. More importantly, it’s also based on what hurricanes have NOT done to above grounds.


Almost every time I have seen an above ground pool damaged by a hurricane, it was from something either flying into it or falling down on it. Flying debris of any kind is therefore your biggest concern when facing a potential hurricane.


Some areas get tornadoes a lot and some get hurricanes. If you live in a “tornado alley” then you know what they can do, which is a lot more than a hurricane can. Unfortunately, hurricanes can create tornadoes, which can be a real problem for above ground pools.

Tornadoes can pick heavy things up and carry them long distances before dropping them. This is a big distinction between them and hurricanes. The wind from hurricanes are different and don’t blow debris as far or as unpredictably as tornadoes do.

Why do I bring this up? Because, when protecting an above ground pool for a hurricane, it’s important to know that most of the things that can blow down or into the pool will be close by. With a tornado, a piece of someone’s shed two blocks away can come down and crash into your pool.

When preparing for a hurricane then, it’s a good idea to secure anything in your own yard that could fly in high winds. You don’t have to worry much about things farther away as they probably won’t fly into your yard. Probably.

If the hurricane produces a tornado near you, then all bets are off and there’s nothing you can do to prepare for that. The good news here is that tornados are rarely made from hurricanes.


I have seen a lot of minor damage caused to above grounds by hurricanes. The major damage is usually done by big branches falling down on the pool.

In a hurricane, big branches (and even whole trees) can snap off and come down. This is because the wind blows hard in one direction and then can quickly blow hard for a couple of seconds in the opposite direction. This can snap even the biggest tree limbs right off.

If you have big trees directly over your pool, then it’s always possible to have a big branch come down. It’s not likely(unless it’s an old oak tree that is close to its maximum age), but it can happen. For this, there’s not much you can do to prepare or prevent it. You could have any questionable tree limbs cut beforehand, but that’s about it.

If your neighbor has a big tree, but it’s not too close to your pool, then you’re most likely ok as large branches (the heavy ones that cause damage) are too heavy to be blown far and usually fall straight down when they snap.


Hurricanes are all different. Some last three days and some last a half an hour. Some blow higher winds and some are calmer. The direction of the hurricane creates a lot of variables too. Some hurricanes can barely rain while others drop a ton of heavy constant rainwater.

Depending on where you live, how high and dry your lot is, and if your above ground pool was built on a grade will matter when it comes to a hurricane that drops a lot of rainwater.

The good news is that if your yard is prone to flooding, but is fairly level, then the pool will just sit in the flooded yard with no damage. If your yard has some grade to it though and you get a lot of water, then the flooding water will travel from high to low in the yard.

This traveling flood water can take some earth with it. This is called erosion. If your above ground pool is in the path of the traveling flood water, then the water can travel like a river next to the pool and take away some of the earth under the wall of the pool. This would not be good.

If your pool is on a grade and you are prone to flooding but have some rocks along the perimeter of the pool’s bottom, then you are most likely ok. The rocks will prevent the earth from eroding as the water travels over them.


As stated earlier, I’m not an alarmist. I’m sure someone can come up with fifty things you can do to prepare your pool before a hurricane. But 46 of them will be unnecessary and only valuable if you are nervous and want something to do instead of just watching it get closer on the news. Here then are four things you can do that won’t be a waste of your time.

1 Shock the pool

A hurricane might be coming. And if it comes to your area, there may be a lot of rain and wind. This will use up chlorine in the pool. In addition to this, the power could go out for a day or more, to which you won’t be able to run the pool pump. A pump not running can use up more chlorine.

Shock the pool before the hurricane. If the chlorine level is already high, then at least put a couple of extra chlorine tablets in the floater.

Don’t worry about adjusting the PH or doing any other preemptive chemistry. You can fix anything that gets out of whack from the storm afterward.

2 If you have one, put the cover on your pool and secure well

This is mainly to help prevent smaller flying debris from blowing in the pool and possibly damaging the liner.

The winds might be really high, so make sure and secure the cover so it doesn’t blow off easily.

It may be a pain to remove later as there can be a lot of rainwater and debris on top of it, but it’s worth it to protect the inside of the pool. If you have a mesh-type cover, that may be a better choice for this. I would go with the solid cover though for maximum protection from flying debris.

3 Access what may be able to take flight in high winds in your yard and secure

As stated above, the most common damage caused to an above ground pool by a hurricane is from flying debris. Look around your yard. Determine what could take flight and crash into your pool, and either move or secure it so it won’t.

Even if it’s only a category one hurricane, do this because any hurricane can have wind gusts capable of moving stuff.

4 Try not to worry about it much

Yeah, I know. This is the opposite of what everyone else that talks about hurricanes will tell you. Keep in mind though that they are making money off of keeping you watching.

The winds from even the baddest hurricane cannot move an above ground pool that’s full of water. It can’t misshape it or blow the water out of it or do anything structural to it. How do I know this? Because I’ve been around hurricanes and above ground pools for 40 years, and I’ve never seen it or even heard of it.

You don’t have to worry at all really. If you cover your pool and secure anything in the yard that can blow up against it, there’s not a lot more you can do. Plus, almost all above grounds go through hurricanes completely unscathed, so the odds are in your favor that nothing will happen to it.


I have three things you can do as options. Most won’t need to do these things, but depending on your situation, you may consider doing them.

1 Secure or move your pool’s equipment

If you can easily drain, disconnect, and move your pump and filter set-up inside, then you may consider that. For most, this is unnecessary, but if you can easily achieve this because you have the lighter cartridge type filter and a good place to store it, then ok.

If you have a sand filter, don’t even consider this. They are monsters to move.

Note. If you have just an extension cord to run your pump, make sure it’s at least unplugged at the source or roll it up and put it away. You don’t want the cord sitting in rainwater.

2 Drain the pool down some.

It’s usually no big deal at all for an above ground pool to overflow, but there are some areas or situations where that may not be ideal.

If you are in a flood zone and don’t want to make things any worse, then yes, drain the pool down some to give room for all the potential hurricane rainwater.

This is only optional in my opinion. It may be a pain to drain the pool down below the skimmer level unless you have a main drain or a sump pump, so don’t stress if you can’t do it easily.

3 Trim questionable tree branches that hang over or close to the pool

Depending on the size of the branches, this may not be a do-it-yourself project.

Cutting big branches high up is dangerous, period. Adding to this is that if you don’t know what you are doing, the branches you cut may fall on your pool and you’ll have the damage you were trying to prevent before the hurricane ever got to you.

I consider this only an option because in most cases, you’ll want and need a tree guy to do this. And tree guys are expensive.


The winds from a hurricane are no match for an above ground swimming pool full of water. It can’t move it because it’s too heavy. An empty above ground pool is a different story.

If your above ground is empty and a hurricane is coming, get that new liner in it and fill it beforehand if you can. If not, then do what you can to secure the walls of the pool.

Bungee cords and stakes are best for this. Go to a hardware store. Buy good heavy-duty bungee cords and stakes made of plastic that have loops built into them. Pound the stakes all around the pool near the wall. Attach the bungees from the stakes to the top of the pool wall underneath the top rails.

The bungees are best because they will give a little as the wind hits the wall. If you have a deck or anything that won’t move in high winds, then you can bungee the pool wall to that as well.

There’s no guarantee that an empty above ground pool won’t blow down some during a hurricane. But the bungees may make the difference.

Side note. If you are looking for hurricane tracking information without the hype our staff recommends Mike’s Weather page


Dan writes with the knowledge of having 35 years (and counting) in the above ground pool industry.

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