Updated: Aug 29, 2019
The start of summer also brings the start of hurricane season. The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30. Being knowledgeable about the dangers that hurricanes present and preparing well for a hurricane can lower the possibility of property damage in the aftermath.
Hurricanes themselves can be very dangerous to people and homes, due to their high wind speeds. Another primary cause of damage is flooding resulting from both the coastal storm surge of the ocean and the rainfall.
Examples of past Florida hurricanes include Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Michael.
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew made landfall in South Florida as a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, and also had impacts in the Bahamas and Louisiana. In Florida alone, 25,524 homes were destroyed and 101,241 others were damaged. In Homestead, Florida, 99.2% of mobile homes were completely destroyed, as said by the Communications Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Alberto Moscoso. In Florida, damage costs were near $25 billion (in 1992 USD).
Hurricane Irma in 2017 cost almost $50 billion for damage costs in the states affected by it. At peak intensity, Hurricane Irma was categorized as a Category 5 Hurricane, but its wind speeds reduced to that of a Category 4 Hurricane before making landfall. Hurricane Irma also produced 21 tornadoes in Florida, which caused more property damage.
Hurricane Michael hit in 2018 and was recently recategorized as a Category 5 hurricane, after originally being perceived as a Category 4. This makes the hurricane the most recent Category 5 hurricane, out of four. The hurricane caused about $25 billion in damages, and scientists at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center reported Hurricane Michael as the strongest hurricane landfall on record in the Florida Panhandle.
In order to protect your home from hurricanes, certain precautions must be made, such as bracing your garage door. While many people believe that the roof is the most vulnerable part of a house, most garage doors are not reinforced. When the wind gets into the garage, it can cause a push-pull combination that could cause the roof to fly off. Along with this, make sure that your roof is in good condition, and there are no loose roof tiles or shingles.
Securing all windows and doors is also an important step. Broken windows can let in wind and rain, and also increase air pressure under the roof. While storm shutters provide the best protection, boarding up windows are also an option. However, taping up windows with masking tape doesn’t help the situation in any way, as many believe it is a suitable form of protection.
Flooding is the most common natural disaster, and hurricanes heighten the chances of flooding occurring. Place sandbags around your home’s entrances; experts recommend piling up sandbags at least 2 feet high for the most effective barricade.
Trimming the trees surrounding your house will reduce the chances of broken tree limbs causing property damage. If a tree damages your home, or even your neighbor’s house, insurance may cover a portion of the damages. However, in most cases, insurance won’t cover the costs of removing a tree that didn’t cause any damages. Be sure to secure loose objects outside of your home, or bring them inside the house away from the strong winds.
Before the hurricane hits, take an inventory of your valuables to make the process of getting through an insurance claim easier if the hurricane damages your home. Also, take the time to update your insurance and make sure you’re covered for certain circumstances.
Taking the proper precautions before a hurricane hits will greatly reduce the chances of property damages and keep your home safe from natural disasters.