Weather patterns vary throughout the country, but seasonal storms are a standard. Their intensity varies from storm to storm and even season to season, but they do come. Fall storms can be quite intense. If you are in hurricane country, they can be devastating. However, you can be hundreds of miles or more away from coastal waterways and still be affected by heavy rains and wind damage leftover from a dying hurricane. Here are tips to help you prepare for fall storms.
Batten Down the Hatches
That nautical term instructs crews to secure things for an impending storm. It applies equally as well on land. On a ship, you would secure hatches and tarps against waves and wind damage. At your house it is obvious to close windows and doors, but outdoor furniture, umbrellas, swimming pool toys and other items may need secured. Fall storms, like their spring counterparts, often have heavy wind gusts that can send things such as the family trampoline flying.
Fall storms often produce huge amounts of rain in a short period of time. After the dry season of late summer, hard, dry ground does not quickly absorb rainwater. This leads to flash floods. Even if your region does not flood, your property may experience a mini flash flood in low areas. This leads to soggy yards, wet garages and basements and damaged landscaping. You already know the problem areas, and here are some fixes:
- Install flexible downspout extenders.
- Replace the rubber weatherstripping at the bottom of garage doors.
- Place sand tubes at basement doors that let water seep in.
Prevent Damage From Trees
A tree falling in the forest may or may not make a noise if no one is listening, but one falling on your roof can kill. Wind damage is almost always associated with trees downed in a storm. An oak tree can crash through roof trusses and brick walls like a rottweiler tearing through a gingerbread house. Branches overhanging driveways can fall and shatter windshields or crush roofs. Only the outermost layer under tree bark is live growth. A tree could have leaves and be over 90 percent rotted internally.
- Remove all branches with no leaves.
- Inspect the tree canopy closely for cracked or broken limbs.
- Prune branches growing out from the trunk at least more than a 35 degree angle.
- If signs of rot or insect infestation are present, consult an arborist.
Prepare for the Worst
The best fall storm preparations can still be inadequate. Storms covering a large geographical region can stress private and government storm recovery. It is a good idea to have some precut plywood and screws to cover a window broken during a storm. Also, keep telephone numbers of tree removal experts written down as the Internet may be down after a storm. Here are some more tips to prepare for intense late season storms.
- Keep some extra food and bottled water on hand.
- Have an evacuation plan.
- Keep extra flashlights and batteries on hand.
- Keep cell phones charged.
- If you are in a cold climate, maintain an alternate source of heat.
Weather reporting data indicates that 2005 was the worst year for hurricane activity in the Atlantic. Though the season officially ended on November 30, it continued into January of the following year. Hurricane Hermine is the first to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005. The 2016 season started in January with Hurricane Alex and had the record-making Colin and Danielle appear as the first dual preseason storms in weather data history. You should take precautions to protect your home from fall storms whether you are in the path of hurricanes or not. Inland fall storms can be devastating and generate without the energy of a hurricane helping them.