Storm season in the United States hits its peak time during the summer months. According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane season begins in May and strengthens from August to October. Anyone who’s been inside a dangerous storm knows that this type of weather is no joke.
While your family and pets should be your top priority during a natural disaster, careful preparations should also be made to take care of what is generally considered everyone’s most valuable, tangible asset: your home. With winds that can reach over 74 mph, a speed that’s almost as fast as what’s required for a plane to take off, storms can cause severe damage and casualties. Don’t wait until a storm hits to deal with potential damage, or you’ll be in for quite the rude awakening.
Hurricanes are violent storms that are fueled by two simple ingredients: water and heat. These two simple ingredients when put together have caused some of the worst natural destruction the world has seen. If you own a home near the ocean or by large bodies of water, the chances that you will come face to face with an out of control storm are significantly higher.
Even areas that are not likely to be hit by the brunt of these storms can find themselves facing torrential rain and dangerous flooding. And because homeowners living in these areas aren’t used to dealing with major storms, their homes are less likely to be ready in case of a weather emergency. The following points address important topics to keep in mind when preparing for a possible storm.
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Steps to Protect Your Home
Steps should be taken to protect your home for numerous reasons. For one, storms can cause expensive damage to the exterior, interior, and roofing of your home. One of the biggest hazards in a hurricane is the damage caused by strong winds. The storm also brings with it high water levels that can cause flooding that's not covered by homeowners insurance. Many people are at risk for damaging their home during a storm.
The effects of storms can be devastating to your property. If you happen to suffer any type of damage, your insurance is intended to help cover the repairs. The insurance company will not cover the costs of water damage due to the storm. An insurance adjuster will help you by claiming your insurance for your property damages. The following points are some actions that should be taken to safely secure your home:
- Cut down large trees and weak branches that could fall onto your home.
- Replace rocks and gravel with shredded bark, a material that will be less likely to cause serious damage to your property.
- Replace windows and glass doors with tempered glass, which is stronger than other types of glass and can withstand strong winds and direct hits. Tempered glass is also safer than other kinds of glass because if it is shattered, it breaks into small circular pieces rather than sharp and jagged shards, preventing injury and providing easier cleanup.
- Install storm shutters if you live in areas where storms with strong winds occur frequently. This will help keep your family safe indoors if a window does shatter during the storm.
- Clear your porch and yards. Move inside any furniture that could easily be blown away and break into windows from the outside. Furniture to bring inside include bikes, grills, wood tables, and more. Considering that the strongest hurricanes can pick up cars and throw them through the air, your outdoor furniture isn’t likely to withstand its power.
Guarding your Garden
The safety of your plants shouldn’t be overlooked if you have the time to make the necessary preparations. You’ve taken the time and effort to grow and nurture these plants, and you don’t have to give up on them even if a storm is coming. To help your garden survive a storm, create shelters to guard your plants against heavy winds and rain.
The most efficient protection is provided by hothouses, but because these can be a heavy long-term investment, you can also protect your plants by stretching nylon sheets above them. Just as when protecting the rest of your home, remember to bring inside chairs and tables, amongst other objects that could be easily blown away.
This will prevent your plants from being knocked over. It is also advised to bring inside pots and delicate plants that need more security.
Know the Difference Between a Hurricane “Watch” and “Warning”
The difference in a single word can mean the difference between “there will be some rain all week” and “get out of the city” when it comes to hurricanes. It’s important to watch the news to be alerted to weather alerts. One weather alert is a hurricane watch, which indicates that a hurricane is yet to hit, but certain conditions could lead to its creation.
These type of alerts are announced about 48 hours before a hurricane is expected to form, which allows time to make any necessary preparations for both you and your home. On the other hand, a hurricane warning is a whole different ballpark. Warnings indicate that a hurricane has already started or is about to occur, so drop any preparations and check to make sure you have emergency supplies and get to a safe place.
Review Your Insurance Policies
One essential preparation that can be overlooked before a storm due to its intangibility is your home insurance policies. As scary as it may be to think about what could happen to your home, it’s wiser to be safe than sorry and check. Reviewing your insurance policy should be a priority on your storm season checklist.
Homeowners insurance will cover temporary repairs caused by hurricane damage, along with expenses incurred by necessary relocation costs if the damage makes it impossible to live in your home. However, these insurance policies often do not include coverage for flood damage.
If you live near the coast or are located in an area where flooding occurs frequently, you may need to ensure your home is against water damage and purchase a separate policy for this. If you have a flood damage claim, it is essential to talk to a lawyer, who can help you with the insurance claim. In addition, if the insurance company denies your insurance claim, you must speak with a lawyer soon after because this could be an indication that they are trying to delay the process of getting payment from you.
No one can stop a storm from happening; the only way to protect your home and family is to be prepared. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn about the potential health and safety risks after a storm or flooding has occurred, and advise homeowners against taking on cleanup jobs that may be too dangerous. The best choice is to seek help from experienced and qualified professionals who know how to handle natural damage restoration and leave it to them to deal with mold removal, along with other damaged property and jobs after a storm.