Preparing Your LED Sign for Hurricane Season

Rainy weather at Showers Field displaying a Watchfire LED sign.

Digital signs can become a vital resource for the benefit of their communities, and local businesses often run safety-related messages during hurricane season. These messages keep local residents informed when they may not have reliable access to traditional media while on the road. If you’ve invested in an LED display, you may wonder how a hurricane or other bad weather could affect its operation.

One thing you won’t have to worry about: turning the sign off. We have weighed the risks of leaving the sign on versus powering it off, and believe the best solution is to leave the sign powered ON during the storm. When the internal electronic components are powered up, enough heat will be generated to prevent condensation from forming inside the cabinet, providing that power is not disrupted for an extended period of time. In fact, CRG Advertising’s Charles Ghione, kept his Watchfire billboards on without issue when Hurricane Sandy’s 85 mph winds hit the east coast.

Leaving the sign powered on also means that important public safety announcements can be sent to the sign remotely as long as there is power and internet access at the site. With any storm, there is an unpreventable risk of a direct lightning strike that could cause damage whether the sign is powered on or off.

To address the risk of surge damage from lightning or power line crosses during the storm, multiple surge suppressors in your display should prevent most damage that results from problems with downed power lines.

While your instincts may be to cover the face of your LED sign to prevent damage to the LEDs or louvers, this is not recommended. Covering the face can inhibit ventilation. Damage to the sign caused by any natural disaster would not be covered under our warranty, but we will work with service providers and sign companies to get Watchfire displays up and running as quickly as possible.

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