Most property owners are no strangers to severe weather, but when it occurs we encourage people to prepare for the worst. Every year, severe weather causes costly damages from flooding, hail, and strong winds. Understanding the most common forms of severe weather where you live can help you prepare. Once you know your risks, create an emergency plan and practice it before disaster strikes.
What to know about thunderstorms and tornadoes
Thunderstorms develop year round. When classified as severe they may produce strong winds over 50 mph, hail, and torrential rains increasing the risk for flash flooding. Lightning strikes may damage trees or power lines. These elements increase the chances of experiencing property damage to structures such as roofs, siding, and windows. Severe thunderstorms may also produce tornadoes.
Tornadoes are common during spring and summer but can hit any time conditions are favorable. They can create enough strength to topple trees, power lines, vehicles, and pull building structures out from their foundations. A tornado is a funnel cloud that moves on the ground in a violent rotation. They can throw debris miles away and make loud noises that sound like a rushing train. Local communities may use a blow horn or special tornado siren to warn people when a tornado is sighted so they can take cover.
How to be safe and protect your property
When experiencing either a severe thunderstorm or tornado threat, here are things you can do to prepare before the storm:
- Download a weather app to used to track severe weather in your area. Local news apps may provide additional information about breaking weather news in your area.
- Sign up to receive weather alerts from trusted sources such as NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio, National Weather Service (NWS), and the Emergency Alert System (EAS).
- Know the difference between a weather watch and a warning. A severe thunderstorm watch means conditions are favorable for severe weather. A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted on the ground or by weather radar and may be in your vicinity.
- Know where to go to take cover such as a closet, basement, or strong structure to reduce risk of injury. Consider where you can go if flooding occurs.
- Trim tree branches or cut down trees to reduce property damage risk. To minimize damage risk from electrical wiring, invest in a lightning protection system, surge protectors, or lightning rods to protect electronics and appliances.
- Learn warning signs of a tornado. Things to be aware of include low-lying or a funnel-shaped cloud, flying debris or debris cloud, dark greenish sky, and loud sounds like a freight train.
Conduct practice drills with your family, so everyone knows what to do during severe weather. Create a safety plan with important phone numbers and any directions for action to take after the storm passes. Make a safety kit with items such as non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries, medications, and essentials for anyone with special needs. Talk to your children about severe weather situations and make sure they understand where safe shelters are when at home or at school.
Additional tips, advice, and resources to know
Be on alert when weather watches or warnings are issued for your area. Pay attention to local news broadcastings for updates. Heed warnings issued by local law enforcement when severe weather is imminent. Let people you trust know about your weather preparedness plan. Check with your insurance carrier to learn additional tips on keeping your property safe. You should also review your policy details to understand what damages are covered.
People may not expect to be a victim of storm damage, but it is important to know who you can call for immediate assistance with property damage. Working with an experienced restoration company puts your mind at ease. Such experts know how to get your home or business repaired so things can get back to normal.