According to the National Weather Service, June 1 – November 30 is the official Atlantic hurricane season, which means anyone living anywhere close to the Atlantic ocean could potentially be affected by hurricanes coming out of that body of water. Tropical storm and hurricane activity typically peaks during the late summer and early fall, so we are now approaching what could be the most active segment of the Atlantic hurricane season. Is your home ready?
While severe weather may not affect every part of the country during this time period, for most Americans living in the eastern half of the nation, June 1 – November 30 is a time when their homes face higher risk of damage from storms. In today’s post, we’ll offer some advice and tips on how to protect your home from common dangers associated with tropical storms and hurricanes.
Tips for Protecting Your Home from A Hurricane
1. Determine Your Risk
Use the National Weather Service’s tool for determining the risk of hurricanes in your area. If you’re thinking of buying a new home, asses the risk for that area. Simply enter the name of the city or town and apply any advanced filters and click the search icon to see every recorded hurricane that has affected that area. You can see details on storm intensity, duration, and the path it took.
2. Don’t Be Misled
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines a “major” hurricane as one that is rated a Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. However, the terminology can be misleading, as even tropical storms and Category 1 and 2 hurricanes can cause major damage to homes and personal property, not to mention threaten lives. After all, storm surge and flooding can be just as deadly as intense wind gusts.
Remember Superstorm Sandy? By the NOAA standards, it was not considered a major hurricane (it never reached above Category 3), despite being the deadliest and most destructive storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.
3. Secure Windows, Doors
Any break or crack in your doors or windows can let in wind and rain. They can also increase the pressure under the roof. If your home has storm shutters, be sure to close them over your windows to provide the best protection. If you don’t have storm shutters, you can board up windows when a storm is on the way. Don’t waste time taping the windows, as most experts agree this won’t do any good.
Ensure your doors have all locks engaged (inlcuding deadbolts) to prevent them from flying open. And remember, hurricanes can swirl in any direction so make sure you secure all doors and windows – not just the ones facing the direction of the storm.
4. Don’t Forget the Garage
The garage door is a highly vulnerable weak spot when it comes to fortifying your home in preparation for a hurricane. Most garage doors are not reinforced, causing them to buckle or even cause the roof to fly off due to wind pressure inside and outside the garage. You can install a simple garage door reinforcement kit to help prevent this from happening.
5. Trim Trees
It’s best to keep questionable branches and limbs at bay throughout the year, so when a storm approaches you’re not worried about that dead limb hanging precariously over your roof. Keep in mind also, tree limbs might not just break and fall on your property – in high winds, they can also become projectiles that travel across the street or into your neighbor’s property.
6. Secure the Roof
If a major storm is headed your way, consider investing in some roof hurricane straps to ensure the roof is secured to the rest of the house. At the very least, you should inspect your roof tiles or shingles to make sure they’re firmly in place. Use roofing cement or a patch kit to fix any loose tiles, as these can become dangerous projectiles during a hurricane.
7. Review/Update Homeowners Insurance
Review your homeowners insurance policy to determine what kind of coverage you have in the event of a hurricane. You may need to update your policy to make sure you have enough coverage if something catastrophic were to happen to your home.
8. Follow Evacuation Orders
Remember, homes can be replaced but you cannot. No dollar amount and no piece of real estate or personal property can make up for a lost life. Always protect your self and your loved ones first and follow the evacuation orders given by your local officials.