If you're dreading the next few months of hurricane season, you're not alone. Hurricane Matthew last year was a wake-up call for a lot of Floridians. For years we went without a powerful hurricane in our state, which lulled a lot of home owners into a false sense of security. Some home owners neglected their insurance policies as a result, which had ruinous financial consequences for some after the storm passed.
We knew that this year's El Niño was among the strongest on record, but what most Floridians did not know is that they would need to be bracing for significant risks of tornado damage. A recent article in The Palm Beach Post emphasized that we have only made it through a single month of 2016, but eight devastating tornadoes have already touched down in our state. And these tornadoes were not forgettable experiences for most homeowners. Indeed, as the article points out, "even for hurricane-hearty Floridians, the eight tornadoes that pulsed through the state this month were soul-shaking, mesmerizing, terrifying." What could be worse than eight tornadoes by the end of January? In short, it is possible that the tornado trend will continue-and perhaps will worsen-in the coming weeks.
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.
According to a recent article in the Orlando Sentinel, the El Niño pattern this winter could result in severe storms in Central and Southwest Florida. Indeed, as the article emphasizes, "Floridians should brace themselves for a wet and wild winter, all thanks to El Niño." In case you do not know about El Niño and the ways in which these weather patterns can impact Florida, the primary fact to know is this: a strong El Niño can bring serious thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hailstorms to our typically sunny state. And according to the article, "this year's is one of the strongest El Niños on record." How can you protect your home from hailstorm damage?
Even though it is winter in Florida (and well outside the time period for anticipating a hurricane), it is never too early to think about whether your home and personal property are prepared for the start of hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center makes clear that hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th, and as such Southwest Florida residents do not need to worry about the risk of hurricane damage during the winter months. However, according to an article from CBS Moneywatch, some aspects of hurricane preparation can take months. It is never too early to begin preparing your home for one of these devastating storms.