June 3rd, 2015
Summer months across the U.S. are always two-fold. On one side, the weather is beautiful and everyone is able to freely enjoy hotter temperatures and tons of sunshine. Yet, atmospheric conditions will often lead to severe weather formations. In some instances, areas may be hit by flash floods and hailstorms, while other areas may experience a prolonged and devastating drought.
The Midwest is all too familiar with dangerous summer weather. Tornadoes are most active from April to August, although they can form throughout the year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center, numerous tornados have already been reported this season. Thus far, 412 tornados were reported in the month of May and 185 were noted in April.
Homeowners in areas affected by severe weather will need to ensure they take the necessary steps to protect their homes and families. However, damage to houses may still be unavoidable, in which case home insurance can provide relief after the storm has passed.
Fix vulnerable areas
Areas inside and around the house should always be inspected. For example, doors and windows should be repaired well in advance of advancing storms. Homeowners in particular should look to repair windows and doors if need be. Torrential downpours can cause flooding inside a house if windows are not well kept, for instance. The Peoria Journal Star recommended investing in permanent or plywood window shutters. While not aesthetically pleasing, plywood can strengthen and protect glass from shattering.
Another area that may get overlooked is the garage door. Ernst Kiesling, a civil engineering professor at Texas Tech University, told Popular Mechanics the garage door is generally regarded as a house's biggest vulnerability. Of course, this only applies to houses with adjoined garages. These doors should be windowless and reinforced for maximum protection.
Outside, families should clear the property of any fallen tree branches. These items can potentially become dangerous during high winds and damage property. Homeowners will also want to inspect their home's roof. During high wind storms, roofing material may fly off and cause harm to the building and residents inside. While no material is invincible against tornadoes, a stronger roofing material may be able to help lessen the damage.
Don't rely on one source
Homeowners, no matter where they live, will always want to have some type of plan in place for when severe weather strikes. This includes not overly relying on one piece of technology. Many areas will have tornado sirens to act as an early warning system for residents, but sometimes those sirens do not give enough advance warning. Modern technology can help fill the void. The American Red Cross provides a tornado mobile application for popular smartphones, while some companies have developed weather apps that can send severe weather alerts. The U.S. government also has an emergency alert system in place to inform residents of dangerous conditions. Parade magazine recommended households be equipped with weather radios as well. Combined with television warnings and sirens, families can always be prepared for nature.
Modern technology will also help fill the gap when power is lost. Social media and text messaging can alert emergency responders for help or allow people to stay in contact with family members. Both are important, especially if a tornado strikes. Depending on the severity of the storm, residents should always keep in mind the various person trackers offered online, according to The Washington Post. For example, Internet giants Google and Facebook allow people in the affected areas to mark themselves as safe. People outside of the natural disaster can also find information about a specific someone.
Above all, homeowners should properly prepare for severe weather no matter their location by stocking up on necessary supplies, such as nonperishable foods, batteries, radios and blankets. Supplies will also come in handy for the after-effects of severe weather, such as electricity blackouts. In particular, families may want to look into purchasing a standalone generator. In the event of a blackout, a generator can kick on almost instantly and provide power to keep electricity running.
Homeowners who want to compare home insurance policies should head to CoverHound to look at all the available options that best fit particular needs.