Spring is the windiest time of the year across most of the country. Wind speeds can be up to five times stronger in March and April than in July and August.
Last year, there were 18 major weather events in the U.S. with total losses exceeding $160 billion; much of this damage was caused by damaging winds.
What Are Damaging Winds?
Damaging winds are often called “straight-line” winds to differentiate the damage they cause from tornado damage. Damaging winds are classified as those exceeding 50 to 60 mph.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, damage from severe winds accounts for half of all severe reports in the lower 48 states and is more common than damage from tornadoes.
While you can’t prevent severe winds from happening, there are simple, low-cost ways to secure your property to minimize wind damage and help keep your home and family safe.
INSIDE THE HOME
Review your insurance policy. If your home is damaged due to wind-driven weather events, your homeowner’s insurance policy offers some protection. Typically, you’re covered for wind damage from events like tornadoes, hailstorms, rain, and lightning. When you take the time to familiarize yourself with your plan, it will be easier to submit a claim to get your home restored more quickly.
Document your home’s contents. An insurance claim requires a detailed list of all the items destroyed, damaged, or stolen. Proper documentation ensures a faster and smoother claims process and may help maximize your insurance reimbursement. Create a comprehensive report that includes detailed descriptions (receipts if you have them) and photos or videos of the personal property in and around your home.
Unplug appliances in the event of a power outage. It's common to experience a sudden jump in current when power is restored following an outage. As a result, this power surge has the potential to damage any sensitive plugged-in appliances and devices that do not have surge protectors.
OUTSIDE THE HOME
Fortify the roof. Your roof is your first line of defense in a high-wind event. While a newer roof is typically able to handle severe weather, a roof that’s five or more years old needs to undergo an inspection to make sure it doesn’t have any weak areas. Loose or missing shingles are particularly vulnerable because winds can easily lift and tear away more shingles, causing a chain reaction.
Trim or remove dead or damaged trees. Severe winds can cause trees and branches to fall. Make sure any damaged trees on the property are trimmed or removed on a regular basis. Contact your local utility company if tree limbs get close to utility lines or poles in your neighborhood.
Secure objects outside the home. Loose items like patio furniture, BBQs, garbage cans and sports equipment can become dangerous projectiles in strong winds. Before a storm, walk around your property—bring items inside or tie them down so they won’t blow around. Park your car away from trees, streetlamps, and power lines. If possible, park in a garage. And don’t forget to bring your pets inside.
Severe winds can occur anytime, or they can accompany storms like hurricanes, tornados, and thunderstorms. You can be better prepared by taking action with these simple tips.
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