How Can Extreme Weather Cause Property Damage?
Extreme weather events are becoming more common all across the world, and the United States is no exception. In fact, the likelihood of a billion-dollar weather-related disaster occurring in the United States has been steadily increasing since the 1980s, according to data collected from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) in 2023.
In the American South, residents expect around a dozen named storms each year — and even more during busy years. Across the American West, wildfires are becoming increasingly common and threaten many residents’ homes every year. Storms, floods, snow, and various other forms of extreme weather can threaten the lives of residents while destroying homes, cars, and RVs. Hurricane forecasts are becoming more common while people across the country either contend with extreme drought or excess rain according to the same 2023 NCEI report.
It is more important than ever for Americans to prepare for the weather events that affect them.
Learn more about how Mother Nature can ravage your property and how you can take steps to protect your family and your home when storms start to blow.
The Impact Hurricanes Can Have on Property
Hurricanes are some of the most destructive forces on planet Earth. They bring extreme winds that can rip a home off its foundation and heavy rains that can fill a building to its second story. It is estimated that Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida in 2022, caused $112.9 billion in damage and destroyed thousands of homes.
Experts that track hurricanes have found that they are becoming more frequent and larger. They also don’t just hit Florida. Residents in Texas, Louisiana, the American South, and even the Northeast — Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey — need to be prepared for a hurricane to hit.
How You Can Protect Your Property
Hurricanes cost Americans $148.4 billion per year in property damage. Fortunately, many homeowners actively take steps throughout the year to protect their belongings. Here are a few ways to prepare.
- Avoid buying a home in a flood zone. This can decrease your chances of water damage.
- Invest in hurricane shutters or windows. These devices can withstand harsh winds.
- Schedule regular roof inspections and maintenance. This can prevent flooding and damage when a storm comes.
- Trim trees around your home. If a tree or a branch falls, it won’t harm your house.
- Park your car and RV in a safe area. Especially in states like Florida, where hurricanes are most common, you can also look into RV or boat storage in secure, elevated locations so it can withstand the storm.
Hurricane season starts in June, so you should start evaluating your property, supplies, and evacuation plans in May to make sure you are prepared.
Floods: A Destructive Force of Nature
Flooding is associated with hurricanes, both from the storm surge and the rainfall that comes with them. However, there doesn’t have to be a hurricane for your area to flood. Rapidly melting snow from the mountains in the spring can cause rivers to swell while periods of intense rain can flood streets — even after only a short period of time.
Flash floods can appear out of nowhere because of broken dams or overflowing rivers. These floods can sweep away cars, boats, and RVs while ripping away homes from where they used to stand.
Ways to Prevent Flood Damage
If you live near a flood-prone area or any water, make sure you are protecting your home and property. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Keep runoff and drainage infrastructure clear. This will move water away from your home and prevent flooding.
- Elevate electrical systems. Keep your electrics as far away from the water as possible.
- Have a strong foundation. Do not buy a house unless you are sure that the foundation is sound.
- Seal your home. Make sure your windows and doors are weathertight so water won’t seep in.
If you live in a flood-prone state like Texas, talk to storage professionals about their flood prevention steps. This way you can trust your RV and boat storage provider to protect your property during a storm.
Wildfires and Their Devastating Effects
Wildfires caused more than $3.2 billion in damage in the United States between 2022 and 2023. These fires are expected to become more common as a result of climate change and urban sprawl. Extreme heat and periods of drought can create wildfires that can then spread into towns and cities across the American West.
How To Protect Your Belongings During a Wildfire
Even if you are evacuating because of a wildfire, it is possible to protect your home and increase the chances that it is still standing when you return. Here are a few tips.
- Create a 30-foot safety zone around your home. Limit the amount of vegetation around your home so the fire doesn’t spread.
- Build with non-combustible materials. Invest in fire-resistant roofing and siding to protect your home.
- Cover and close vents. Any vent in your home can let in debris and ignite your property. Make sure you keep these covered with mesh.
- Store any possessions you don’t need in a fire-resistant facility. For example, if you live in Arizona, store your boat or RV in a secure location when not in use. This can give you peace of mind during fire season.
If you plan to buy a house in a wildfire-prone area, hire a home inspector who can make sure the home is protected with fire-resistant materials.
Tornadoes: Unpredictable and Often Deadly
Tornadoes are common across the American Midwest and South, with states like Kansas and Oklahoma having the severest threats of these storms. Tornados can range in severity from minor EF0 storms with winds less than 85 mph to severe EF5 storms with winds exceeding 200 mph.
The wind is the biggest concern with tornados, but these storms often also come with rain, lightning, and hail. This can make cleanup after a tornado difficult because there are multiple weather elements to contend with.
Secure Your Property Against Tornadoes
Residents in tornado-prone areas can practice responding to a storm. These weather events can crop up within a few minutes, which doesn’t give anyone time to prepare for the storm. This means you need to prepare your property beforehand to mitigate damage. Here’s what you need to do.
- Create an emergency preparedness plan. Know where you will go in the event of a storm — like a windowless bathroom, closet, or underground shelter.
- Secure items outside of your home. Put away lawn chairs, grills, and other items when they aren’t in use. These can become projectiles in the wind.
- Keep up with roof maintenance. This can prevent leaks during a storm and mitigate damage from flying debris.
- Store your belongings when you aren’t using them. Especially in states like that are in tornado alley like Missouri. If your boat or RV is in storage when it isn’t in use, then you won’t have to worry about these vehicles getting damaged during the storm.
Many of these steps will become second nature over time. For example, if you buy a grill with wheels, you can easily roll it into your garage or shed when it’s not in use.
Other Types of Severe Weather To Be Aware Of
This guide has talked about common weather events, but it is by no means a comprehensive list. There are several different types of natural threats that can affect your property, including heat waves, snowstorms, strong winds, and even hail.
It’s important to understand which weather threats are prominent in your area and how to protect yourself against them. For example, snow is uncommon in the lowlands of Southern California, but residents should be prepared for wildfires and heat waves.
Not all weather events last as long as a hurricane. A tornado can pop up in a matter of minutes and a few pellets of hail can severely damage your car or RV. Know your local risks and take steps to stay safe.
Preparedness and Resilience: The Key to Safeguarding Your Home and Property
Even if your area isn’t known for severe weather, you may encounter an unexpected event that threatens your home and property. Hurricanes are becoming more erratic and wildfires and becoming common across the country. This isn’t meant to scare you, but rather to make sure you and your family are prepared.
Evaluate the threats in your area and consider how you can protect your home before disaster strikes. The best way to prepare for a storm is to secure your home when the weather is nice. Even simple preparations like keeping your RV covered or investing in storage options can save you time and reduce your stress levels when Mother Nature bears down on your home.