Storm Prep

How to Prepare for a Severe Storm

August 5, 2023

The wind is an easy thing to underestimate. If caught off guard, your home could end up taking unnecessary damage. By knowing how to prepare your home for a storm, you can optimize your home and property in the event of extreme weather, such as strong winds and heavy rainfall.

8 Ways to Prepare Your Home for a Storm

Blustering winds can harm your home and property, but there is a lot you can do as a homeowner to prevent avoidable destruction. These are the best tips and precautions you can take to minimize storm damage to your home.

1. Have a Plan

Preparing your home for severe weather starts with a clear plan for you and your family to follow before and during the storm. Your plan will keep your family and your home safe and should include the following:

  • Map of safe zones: You must map out your home and determine the safest places to hide until the weather clears up again. Upper floors and areas near doorways and windows are unsafe places to hide. Bathrooms, small rooms free of clutter, closets, underneath a stairwell and any other space where you can create as many barriers between you and the storm as possible are the best safe zones to occupy during tornadoes and severe storms.
  • Evacuation route: Familiarize yourself with the best paths to take during emergencies. Keep your exit and evacuation routes as well-lit and clear as possible if you need to use them.
  • Board up: Board up doors and windows and ensure nothing is blocking or near them, like vases, picture frames and side tables.
  • Supplies and storage: Keep supplies and other utilities nearby and make sure everyone knows where they are. Storm readiness kits are incredibly useful and a source of comfort during emergencies.
  • Final checks: Check your house while it’s still safe outside. Locking doors, securing or storing lawn ornaments, bringing pets indoors and securing doors and windows are all essential final checks before the storm hits.
  • Stay informed: Listen to the radio and local news warnings about severe weather conditions and plan accordingly.

Preparing yourself and your plan goes a long way toward protecting your home during extreme conditions. Follow these tips to reduce the amount of damage done to your home’s interior while waiting for the storm to pass.

2. Reinforce Your Roof

Your roof is one of the most vulnerable parts of your house during a storm. Your shingles, sidings, chimney and other tall parts of your home and roof can break off and be flung around as debris. It’s up to you to ensure your roof is ready to withstand all the rain and violent winds it will be subjected to while enduring a storm. Here are some reliable ways to reinforce your roof:

  • Get a roof inspection: Scheduling a roof inspection is a wise plan for any homeowner. The inspection will evaluate the condition of your roof and tell you what is safe and secure and what needs to be worked on or replaced.
  • Hurricane straps: Hurricane straps are metal or plastic plates that are installed on your house’s trusses. They help reinforce your roof structure and walls during hurricanes, tornados and cyclones.
  • Repair loose shingles: Loose shingles and roof tiles can easily get swept up by heavy winds and make dangerous flying projectiles. Call a contractor to ensure they are always well-maintained.
  • Flashing: Flashing is a type of waterproof roofing material that prevents water from pooling and redirects it away from your roof’s corners. Your roof’s flashing should be tightly sealed and connected to your roof to prevent water damage.
  • Underlayment: Underlayment insulates and protects your shingles and roof decking against high-speed winds. Examine your underlayment for any rips, holes and punctures regularly.
  • Check mounted equipment: Satellite dishes, antennas, solar panels and any other mounting equipment attached to your roof must be securely and tightly sealed to your rooftop. They are the most vulnerable to strong winds and can be destructive projectiles.

3. Clean Your Gutters

Your gutters can fill up with debris quickly, affecting their usefulness during rainstorms. Cleaning your gutters regularly is a good safety tip for areas with many storms. Clean gutters allow water to flow freely away from your home, reducing water damage. Cleaning your gutters can feel like a chore, but with the proper tools, it can be done in a flash and is a surefire way to help prepare your home for a storm.

4. Improve Water Flow

Cleaning your gutters is one way to ensure water flows away from your house during a storm. If you are looking for other ways to help water flow away from your house, you should look into the following:

  • Rain garden: Rain gardens are shaped like bowls designed to capture water and let it soak into the ground.
  • Plant trees: One of the best stormwater management practices is to plant trees in your garden. They are excellent at filtering stormwater and add to your garden’s aesthetics. Tree canopies can intercept water and their roots stabilize the ground, increasing infiltration. Fallen leaves absorb water and release it slowly.
  • Rain barrels: Rain barrels store and capture rainwater which can be used to water your plants, wash garden equipment and other creative ways you can think of to use the water it retains.
  • Pavers: Different types of pavers can improve water flow. Thick stone bases underneath them let the water soak into the ground.
  • Sump pumps: Sump pumps are used to direct rainwater away from your home’s foundation to prevent flooding.

Many other ways exist to achieve better garden drainage and improve your property’s water flow. These stylish and practical solutions can make your home even more prepared for heavy rain and storm conditions.

5. Secure Loose Fence Posts

Loose fence posts should be avoided and are critical to keeping your home prepared for a storm. You may be surprised by how strong storm winds can get. Anything that needs nailing down or securing can be whipped up and become an issue when the wind blows fast enough. When securing loose fence posts, you might wonder if you should replace or repair your fence. Keep these considerations in mind when deciding what to do:

  • Appearance: Preparing your home is important, but if you think a new fence will not only be safer but will also look better, that is something worth keeping in mind.
  • Lifespan: A new fence will last longer than an old, repaired one. By replacing your fence, you can choose materials that make it more wind resistant and give it a modern update should you think it needs one.
  • Security: Your fence must keep your house safe and well-prepared for storms. Stronger fences designed for security are heavier and tougher, making them less vulnerable to damage from hail, wind and heavy rain.
  • Cost-effectiveness: In the long run, replacing your fence can be more cost-effective than continually having to mend it every time a storm passes. Replacing your fence might seem costly initially but it can be a smart investment.

6. Clear Yard Debris

Preparing your home for a storm means preparing your yard too. There is a lot of potential debris that can be caught up in the storm and there are measures you can take to ensure your yard is as ready as possible. Here are the precautions you should take to make your garden as “stormproof” as possible:

  • Pump your septic tank: If your home uses a septic system, it is wise to have it cleaned out before the storm hits. You should have your septic tank pumped every three years. Your tank can be overfilled and overwhelmed by all the rain that a storm can bring. To avoid a flooded tank and other issues that come with it, make sure your septic tank is drained and cleaned out before the stormy season.
  • Mow the lawn: A trimmed and tidy lawn is more effective at draining water than one with long grass. Some storms can last for several days, so it’s best to mow your lawn while you are able to.
  • Tidy up: Tidy up your garden by storing any toys and decorations in your garden. Lawn ornaments can be dangerous in heavy winds, so it is always a safe bet to store them in a shed or garage until the storm passes. The same applies to outdoor furniture, umbrellas and any toys or tree decorations that can be taken inside or stored.
  • Turn off sprinklers: Switch off your sprinklers and irrigation systems before a storm. Conserve water and let the rain water your garden for you.
  • Harvest: Any ripe products should be harvested from your garden because they will most likely be blown away. Fruit trees, vegetable gardens and berries should all be fully harvested to avoid a mess. It is also a good idea to do what you can to protect your garden from any storm damage.
  • Cover your pool: Pools and hot tubs should be covered, as debris will most likely find its way into your water. Turn off pumps, filters, heaters and lights to conserve energy and reduce the risk of interrupting your power.

7. Trim Your Trees

Trimming and pruning your bushes and trees is a responsible move. Cutting off tree limbs is the best way to prepare trees and foliage for a storm. There are other actions you should take:

  • Secure young trees: Secure young trees and saplings by tying them down and adding additional stakes in the ground.
  • Trimming your trees: Trimming your trees should be done well in advance. If you prune your trees right before a big storm hits, you will have remaining garden refuse lying around, which can be dangerous. Rather stay on top of your trimming and pruning so that when the wind picks up and a storm arrives, all your cut branches have been taken away and disposed of properly.
  • Call a professional: A professional will know how much of your trees need to be pruned to make them storm-ready without cutting off any more than is necessary.
  • Avoid hat-racking: Hat-racking is a severe type of pruning that is only suitable for a limited number of tree species. Hat-raking is illegal because hat-racked trees have weaker joints when they grow back, making them more dangerous and more vulnerable to being blown away or even uprooted during violent storms.
  • Remove what is necessary: Only remove weak branches and strategically reduce tree limbs to make them less susceptible to wind damage. This prevents you from taking away too much from your trees.

8. Prevent Water Leaks

Keeping your roof leak-proof is imperative to preparing your home for a storm. When hit by a storm, there will be a lot of rain and a high risk of water leaks. Here is what you can do to avoid water leaks from damaging your home and better prepare your house for a storm:

  • Find the leaks: This might seem like a logical first step, but it can take time to determine precisely where the leak originated from. Looking for water rings is one of many ways you can find the source of a leak.
  • Maintenance: Maintaining your sump pumps, cleaning your gutters and inspecting your roof often are reliable ways of preventing water leaks during storms.
  • Seal your windows: Strong winds cause windows to rattle, damaging window seals and even breaking old and brittle window seals. Your window seals prevent a lot of water from leaking into your home, so it’s a good idea to make sure your window seals are up to scratch to prepare your home for a big storm.

Homeowners Insurance FAQs After a Storm

Property damage is common during heavy storms and it’s important to know what your homeowners insurance can do for you should your property suffer wind damage. Here are some answers to common questions you might have regarding your homeowners insurance in the event of wind damage:

Is storm damage to my roof covered by my homeowners insurance?

Yes, your insurance should cover wind damage, damage from debris and fallen objects and hail damage.

What do I do after I find storm damage?

Take photos of the damage and submit your claim. Do whatever you can to prevent further damage while your claim is being processed.

Does the damage need to be evaluated?

Yes. It is always best to get a contractor to assess the damage that the storm has done.

Can I fix the damage myself?

It is always best to have a professional do the repairs for you. This ensures the repairs are done properly and prevents the same type of damage from happening during the next storm.

Prepare and Repair with the Right Restoration Service

Rhode Island Restoration is here to repair and prevent wind and storm damage done to your home. Rhode Island Restoration provides a wide range of restoration services for homes and properties. Our company philosophy can be broken down into three words, ready, rapid and reliable. These are the qualities we encompass in all the services we provide. From cleanups and repairs to full reconstruction, we are the residential restoration service you can trust. Contact us today for a free consultation and all the answers to your questions about your home and our restoration services.

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