As of June 1, we have officially entered Hurricane Season, and we won’t be out of it until November 30, so there are a few things that you may want to keep in mind this season.
First off, it’s helpful to know what’s what, so here’s a chart covering the different storms:
What it’s called
What defines it
What to expect (for a well built home)
A rotating system of clouds and storms that originates over tropical waters.
A tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 38 mph or less
Occasional snapped branches, damaged wind chimes.
A tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 39-73 mph
Gusts may snap larger branches, possible mild damage to shingles and gutters.
Category 1 Hurricane
A tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 74-95 mph
Large branches may snap. Gutters, shingles, and shutters may be torn away.
Category 2 Hurricane
A tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 96-110 mph
Major damage to the roof and its sides. Many trees may snap or be uprooted. Some roads blocked and near-total power loss for a few days to weeks.
Category 3 Hurricane
A tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 111-129 mph
Major damage to roofs, gables, and sides of buildings. Many roads blocked, electricity and power unavailable from days to weeks.
Category 4 Hurricane
A tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 131-156 mph
Severe damage to exterior walls and roofs. Possible roof collapse. Most trees snapped or uprooted. Most of area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Category 5 Hurricane
A tropical cyclone with sustained winds greater than 156 mph
Possible destruction of entire house, with total roof and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power lines will isolate whole neighborhoods. Power outages will last for weeks or months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Considering that we live in New England, we aren’t as likely to be hit by a high level storm as states farther south, but that may lull us into a false sense of security. Just because we PROBABLY won’t get hit with 156 mph winds, doesn’t mean the 95 mph winds won’t do serious damage.
Some things to be wary of:
·Falling Trees – New England is full of large, broad leafed trees that, unlike that palms down south, are more likely to snap in high winds than bend and survive. Downed trees can knock out power lines, block major roads, or damage your roof, patio, or car. Consider trimming trees back, especially if they are close to the house.
·Pooling Water – The heavy rains associated with hurricanes will also accumulate and create large puddles or pools. Around the yard, these may be fine, but if they build up next to your home, you may face water damage or flooding in your basement. My own basement used to flood from regular summer showers, but we installed a French drain, which has done wonders.
·Coastal Surges – If you live near the coast, or have a vacation home near the beach, you will want to watch out for storm surges, water that is forced by winds to create outrageous tides. The damage incurred from the surge is covered under your flood, not wind, insurance.
Flying Debris –The high winds will not only tear down trees, but also whip around random detritus. The aesthetic pebble paths or gravel driveways may bite you in the rump during a hurricane, and your exterior walls will look pox marked and torn up after the stones get hurled from a 100 mph gust. Soft mulch and asphalt may be a safer alternative to consider.
If you suspect that you may lose power, or that your road may get blocked by trees, consider preparing an essentials kit well beforehand. You can put some of the following into your kit:
Extra batteries and flashlights
First aid kit
Cash (ATM’s may not be working)
Ample water (1 gallon per person per day)
Personal hygiene items
Entertainment (board games, books, cards)
Remember to keep up with the weather reports this season, and pay especially close attention if you hear a hurricane watch or warning, they demonstrate a 36 or 24 hour arrival time of the storm, respectively.