Are mangrove losses in West Central Florida putting Tampa Bay homeowners at greater risk of windstorm damage in the event of a hurricane or other severe storm? If you live in Florida, you may have heard that mangrove forests can provide protection against severe storm damage. If you know about the benefits of mangroves to people and property, you also may know that human impact has been extremely damaging to native mangrove forests throughout the state. We want to talk more about how a greater emphasis on environmental protection also might be able to help protect your home from severe storm damage.
Thankfully, we have reached the end of the Atlantic hurricane season. However, it remains essential for West Central Florida homeowners to be prepared for windstorm damage in the winter and early spring. Often, the slightly cooler months in the Tampa Bay area are accompanied by severe storms, and strong winds can result in substantial property damage. When it comes to storms that have the potential to damage your home, all storms are not equal. However, your home can be damaged by serious windstorm damage no matter what time of year or the type of severe storm you are facing.
For any Floridian who has lived in the state through a major hurricane, it should not come as a surprise that a hurricane that strikes the East Coast of the state can produce serious wind storm damage on the West Coast. You do not have to be within the path of the hurricane's eye-or even within the bands outside it-to experience significant wind storm damage that can leave your home with serious property damage. Indeed, as a recent report from Bay News 9 explained, Hurricane Matthew moved relatively quickly out of Florida and never posed a risk of a direct hit to cities in West Central Florida, yet many of those locations experienced power outages as a result of the dangerous winds from this hurricane.
For anyone living in Sarasota or the Tampa Bay area, you might be wondering if you need to gear up for another eventful tornado season that could lead to significant property damage. But wait-does Florida actually have a tornado season? Last year around this same time, residents of West Central Florida were eagerly waiting for hurricane season to come to a close (which ends November 30 in Florida). Yet just a short time later, the Gulf Coast experienced a number of very serious storms that produced damaging tornadoes.
Given that severe storms have been impacting Florida residents in recent months and likely will continue through the winter, it is important to think about ways of protecting your home from wind storm damage. Certainly, the threat of wind damage from hurricanes is well-known to most residents of South and Central Florida. But if you own a home, you might not be thinking about bolstering your property in the hurricane off-season. According to a pamphlet from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), "the force of . . . wind alone can cause weak places in your home to fail." In other words, it is a good idea to take steps to bolster your property in the event of an unexpected severe storm with high winds.