Spring & summer storm guide
Tips to prepare for spring rain, hail, lightning, wind & more
While spring and summer may have you thinking of fun in the sun, they are also prime time for storms. By taking a few simple steps, you can help protect your home from the threats that spring and summer storms bring like rain, hail, lightning and wind. Read on for answers to common questions from our expert risk management team.
Q: How can I prepare my home to weather spring or summer storms?
A: One of the easiest things to do is keep your gutters clean. If your gutters are clogged and the water builds up, it can settle around your roof and house, causing water damage to both the exterior and interior of your home. Make sure to have leaders, which are at least 4 feet in length and point away from the foundation.
Q: Is there any preventative landscaping I can do?
A: If you have large limbs over the home or if a tree is dead, hollowed, or diseased, it may not be able to stand up to the strong winds and rains of a summer storm. Check your yard for dangerous trees and limbs and remove anything that is unsafe. A tree expert can help you with this. Additionally, ensure that landscaping guides water away from your home’s foundation. The ground should slope away from your home at a quarter-inch per foot heading downhill away from the foundation. If you need to, add some soil to create this grade.
Q: Do I really have to pack up my outdoor furniture?
A: In a storm, outdoor furniture can turn into a missile if it is picked up by a strong gust of wind. Taking precautions by bringing your furniture inside or securing it can help you avoid this scenario when there are high winds.
Q: How do I protect my home against “straight-line” winds?
A: If you live in an area prone to strong winds, you have a few options.
- You can install garage doors that are certified for higher wind speeds.
- A secondary option is to install wood or metal stiffeners for reinforcement.
- You can also strap your roof to the wall studs beneath to prevent it from being lifted by strong winds.
- We also recommend using permanent storm shutters over all windows. Usually made of aluminum or steel, these may be motor-driven or manually operated. If you opt for motor-driven shutters, ensure that they can also be manually operated in case of a power outage.
Q: How can you protect a roof from wind and hail?
A: There are about 3,000 hailstorms in the U.S. every year, and significant hailstorms result in millions of dollars of damages to residential roofs, siding, outdoor and roof-mounted equipment.
Roof repair and replacement can be a very expensive and daunting proposition. The best way to protect your first line of defense is to ensure that the roof deck is securely fastened to the framing with proper nails and mechanical fasteners. Any loose shingles should be re-adhered to minimize the chance they may fly off and create more damage.
If you are redoing your roof, class 4 “impact resistant,” a new type of single, can make your home’s roof nearly impervious to most hail and wind-related damage.
Q: Are impact resistant shingles worth the extra cost?
A: Generally, yes, but it really depends on where you live. Thousands of homeowners lose their roofs to wind and hail damage each year, but some areas are more affected by damaging storms than others. Homes in areas that experience stronger, damaging storms will benefit greatly from impact resistant shingles because they offer long-term roof protection. Typically, these shingles cost 10-20% more than their non-impact counterparts, but they reduce a homeowner’s maintenance costs and may even prevent premature roof replacement.
Q: What precautions can I take to protect my home from lightning?
A: The ideal lightning protection system includes lightning rods, a surge arrestor and circuit breakers. Employ a licensed electrician to install a comprehensive surge protection system on your home. The Insurance Information Institute offers general guidelines on choosing an appropriate system here.
Remember, if you are caught outside when lightning hits, avoid being near lakes, open water and trees. Do not stand by fences, telephone poles, pipelines or any other vertical or metal objects that can attract a lightning strike.
Q: What else can I do to prepare for spring & summer storms?
A: Your safety and that of your family is of primary importance. We recommend that you listen regularly to weather updates and maintain an emergency supply kit.
You can find the latest forecasts and hazardous weather conditions at the National Weather Service website and by viewing NOAA’s National Weather Service map. In addition, some smartphones are able to receive flash flood and other warning alerts via the Wireless Emergency Alerts system. You can find more information here.
An emergency supply kit should sustain you and your family for a 72-hour period and include:
- A portable radio
- Extra batteries
- Non-perishable food
- Bottled water
Store your kit in a place commonly known to all family members. Replace or refresh items in your kit every six months.
It also helps to know you have resources you can count on, and at Berkley One, our risk management and claims experts are here to help with proactive advice and risk consulting. We also offer access to our PlusOneSM Service Network, a team of fully vetted and insured contractors and service providers at your fingertips who can help with proactive installations or repairs. To learn more, contact us here.