Is Your Home Prepared For Winter Storms?
The world’s weather is changing. The UK has just enjoyed the most beautiful spell of Indian summer weather for over a decade and even though there’s a slight change forecast for the beginning of October, we are still set fair for the foreseeable future. However, recent years have seen massive winter storm surges bringing unprecedented levels of damage to homes and with an El Nino event due this winter, it does not pay to be complacent.
Making sure that your home has adequate storm protection can make the difference between a small amount of damage and catastrophic property loss. The key to surviving winter storms unscathed lies in preparation and knowing what to do in the event of a serious one. Some parts of the world regularly experience dangerous storms and tornadoes and the American Red Cross recommends that families have an emergency kit ready prepared just in case.
Here are some common sense tips to help make sure your home is protected and prepared for the worst the weather can throw at you, even if you are forced to temporarily evacuate.
Check the lie of the land
Keep an eye on the weather forecast and if a storm is reported as being imminent, walk your property taking note of any items that need to be stored safely away. Make a checklist of vulnerable items; garden furniture, potted plants, unsecured trellis fencing and the like. Basically, you need to remove anything that is likely to be blown around in high winds; even an innocent-looking kid’s plastic slide can suddenly become a dangerous missile in a strong gale.
Use somewhere secure like a brick garage or storage building to keep your yard clutter safe; not a wooden garden shed that could blow down.
Existing exterior damage
Check the exterior of your home carefully for any loose trim, guttering or wobbly shingles. If you can, replace any damaged items and secure others that might be loose. It’s a good idea to replace standard roof tiles with wind-resistant asphalt shingles. If any large repairs are necessary, hire a professional firm to carry them out during the summer months before the storms arrive.
Make sure you clear your gutters and attic fan covers of fallen leaves and other accumulated debris.
Windows are easily broken and damaged by trees thrashing in the wind during a storm. Get your loppers sharpened at the local hardware store and trim any branches or hedges that might cause damage to windows or to your roof or guttering.
Trees that have a ‘V’ branch configuration are more likely to actually break than those with ‘U’ branch joints. Any trees which are dead should be cut down as they can be easily uprooted after heavy or prolonged rainfall. Dead branches should also be removed.
Plain glass windows do not offer as much resistance to wind damage as well as double glazed ones. It’s also well-worth installing storm shutters and storm windows if you can afford to especially if you live in an area which is prone to severe storms.
So, with a little forethought you can go a long way toward protecting your property from the worst of the winter weather. Remember to make sure that you have sufficient insurance cover in place, just in case the worst does happen and your property is seriously damaged.
About Alison Page
Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at http://www.theladywriter.co.uk