Hurricanes form over warm ocean waters and move toward land, affecting not just the U.S. coastlines and territories, but also areas more than 100 miles inland. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The Pacific hurricane season runs May 15 to November 30. These storms can cause significant property damage due to flooding and high winds. Taking the right precautions can help to keep your home and your family safe this hurricane season.
Protect Your Roof
Your roof is arguably the most vulnerable part of the home’s structure. Strong hurricane winds can literally lift the roof from a home if it isn’t properly anchored to the frame. Inspect and maintain or if needed, install, hurricane straps or clips that securely fasten your roof. Hurricane straps or clips distribute the wind’s force among different parts of the roof. This helps it to resist the wind, increasing the likelihood of it remaining intact.
Find a Source of Emergency Power
Purchase a gas-powered generator to provide electricity for your household. This will come in handy if power lines are down after the hurricane. Note that not all emergency generators are good for charging smartphones and other delicate electronics. You may also want to invest in an inverter generator or a large power bank in addition to the gasoline-fueled version.
Prepare Your Yard
Fallen trees and limbs can cause serious personal injury and property damage. Prepare for them to be battered by hurricane-force winds. Trim limbs above and around your home to keep them from breaking off and falling on your house. If you have dead or unhealthy trees in your yard, it is a good idea to remove them entirely if possible. Tree-trimming before the storm also makes it easier to clean up your yard after. Just avoid piling up the clippings and leaves in your yard or on the curb before the hurricane hits. In addition, bring your grill and lawn furniture indoors. As with tree limbs, the hurricane-force winds can turn these items into projectiles.
Remove Debris from Gutters
Clean your gutters to ensure that they take water away from your home. Water running toward your home can damage your foundation and may cause indoor flooding. Overflowing water can damage your roof and seep behind the siding.
Cover Your Windows
Windows are often the first parts of a home to go when hurricanes hit. Storm shutters will help to protect your windows. They can also help keep everyone in the home safe from flying glass. You’ll need to make sure they’re properly installed, inspected, and maintained. Alternatively, you can cover your windows with plywood. You will need to cover all of the windows in your home during a hurricane.
Make Your Home as Watertight as Possible
Flooding is a very real risk due to the heavy rains that typically follow hurricanes. To help keep the interior of your home dry, assure there is adequate weatherstripping for all entry doors. In addition, you may need to apply or regularly maintain the weather-resistant caulk around your entry doors and windows. If flooding is a significant enough danger in your neighborhood, consider purchasing plastic bags that you can fill with sand and use to help keep water out.
Prepare for an Insurance Claim
Review your insurance coverage to make sure you are covered for a storm. Know who to contact in case a storm does affect your home. Take inventory of everything in your home with photos or videos. These can serve as evidence to support an insurance claim if your possessions are damaged or destroyed by the hurricane. Send your photos or video to your insurance agent for their records.