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.
Anyone who has spent a summer in West Central Florida knows to expect a lot of thunderstorms. According to data from the World Data Center for Meteorology, Tampa has an average of 55 days during the summer with thunderstorms, with an average of 20 thunderstorms in July and 21 thunderstorms in August. The city of Tampa actually has the highest number of thunderstorms, on average, of any major city in Florida. Are these thunderstorms weather events that should concern you in terms of property damage, or are they commonplace summer incidents for which you do not need to worry about windstorm damage?
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.
We have not yet reached hurricane season in Florida, but many homeowners in the Tampa Bay area were under the assumption that the dangerous weather patterns brought on by this year's El Niño had begun to dissipate. However, earlier this year-just days after the start of spring-severe storms moved into Pasco County and caused substantial wind damage to dozens of homes, according to an article in the Land O' Lakes Patch.
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.