On average, each hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes. This statistic originates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which also predicts a near-normal 2019 Atlantic hurricane season with 70% confidence. Despite those seemingly disarming statistics—disarming, at least, to Floridians—all it can take is one devastating storm to cause serious property damages.
In fact, the Congressional Budget Office’s 2019 report expects annual economic losses from most types of damage caused by hurricane winds and storm-related flooding to total $54 billion—$34 billion in losses to households, $9 billion to commercial businesses, and $12 billion to the public sector.
Therefore, it may be in the best interests of property owners to take precautions. The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers tips on how to prevent wind and water damage to buildings. To fortify against high winds, owners should reinforce their building, including its doors, windows, walls, and roofs. During the storm, people should stay away from windows and seek shelter on the lowest level in an interior room. Owners should also trim or remove trees close enough to fall on buildings, bring lightweight objects inside, and anchor propane tanks down.
To prepare for flooding, homeowners can keep gutters and drains free of debris. It’s also recommended they install check valves in sewer lines to prevent floodwater from backing up into drains. If the heating system, water heater, or electric panel are below the flood line, they should be moved upward. Finally, emergency protective materials, such as plywood, plastic sheeting, and sandbags should be kept on hand. Before hurricane season, be sure to review insurance policies and safeguard critical financial, medical, educational, and legal documents by keeping them in a waterproof container.
Besides looking after themselves and others, a homeowner’s goal should be to minimize the potential financial impact disasters can cause. Reviewing insurance policy is a crucial step, especially when it comes to policies relating to home, health, and flooding. With hurricane season commencing June 1st and lasting until November 30th, it might be wise to consider adequate protection measures.
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