Hurricanes: Here are the Facts

McMahon Hurricane Image

Hurricanes are some of the most costly and devastating natural disasters. New Jersey got lucky and dodged Hurricane Dorian’s wrath in early September. But we’re not out of the clear.

Officially, hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th each year, with increased activity during the late summer and early fall.

Don’t wait until a hurricane is tracking toward your community to start your hurricane prep. Start Now. Create a plan, grab your supplies, and be prepared for any storm.

  • Build or restock an emergency preparedness kit. Be sure to read our article Disaster Preparation – Now is the Time for ideas to include in your kit.
  • Bring in items, such as outdoor furniture, flags, and yard ornaments which the wind can blow away.
  • Have drinking water ready for use. Enough water for a gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Be sure to keep your car in good working condition and keep the gas tank full. Stock it with emergency supplies and a fresh change of clothes.
  • Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power – even consider building an emergency communication plan.
  • Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.

In general, consider including in your emergency kit five different categories of materials: life essentials, medical supplies, food, tools, and documents.

Staying Prepared Saves Lives
An emergency kit can make a huge difference when a true disaster occurs. Access to a kit can be a critical part of responding, minimizing problems and even surviving. With proper supplies available in your home, your car, or even in your office, you can rest easy knowing that you’re ready to face the worst.

Preparing for Wind Damage

While no location is safe from flood threats, if you live near the coast in certain parts of the U.S., your property is at risk of wind damage from hurricanes.

Standard homeowners insurance covers the home’s structure during hurricanes and windstorms. A home’s market value is not the same as its insured value; the latter is the cost to rebuild. Understand your hurricane/windstorm deductible- Most companies have stated “triggers” indicating when a policy’s hurricane and windstorm deductibles take effect. Hurricane/windstorm deductibles may range from 1-5% of a home’s insured value.

Ask us about flooding and sewer backups because they are common exclusions- consider purchasing these separate policy coverages. If you own a condo or apartment, ask the management company what is covered under the building’s master insurance policy.

When preparing for a hurricane, it is easy to find yourself turning to popular myths to protect your property. For example, you may have heard that taping a big “X” on your windows will prevent them from breaking and keep you safe in a hurricane. Actually, that “X” will do little to protect your windows from being shattered by the wind or flying debris. The “X” tape myth is just one of the many misconceptions about adequate hurricane preparation. Take a look at a few other popular hurricane myths:

Myth #1 – You Only Need to Protect the Windows Facing the Water

Hurricane-force winds can turn landscaping materials and other outdoor items into projectiles that can break windows on any side of your home. All windows and glass doors should be secured to guard against high winds and flying objects.

Myth #2 – If You Lean against a Window or Door, You Can Keep it from Blowing Inward

You are putting yourself in danger if you remain in front of windows and doors. Instead, you should:

  • Stay away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors and brace external doors before the storm.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.

Myth #3 – Open Windows to Alleviate Pressure

This myth is based on the misconception that pressure can build up in your home during a storm to the point of causing complete structural failure. According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, no house is built airtight and an over-pressurization to this degree is not possible. Opening windows presents the danger of flying objects entering your home. Therefore, all windows should be closed and shuttered during a hurricane.

Myth #4 – The Biggest Myth is that “It Will Not Happen Here”

Each year, heavy rains, strong winds, floods and coastal storm surges from tropical storms and hurricanes affect much of the United States, including both coastal and inland areas. Although all of us hope we will not be affected by a hurricane, it is always safer for you, your family and business to be prepared.

Did You Know?

Winds associated with a hurricane can range from 74 mph in a small storm to over 155 mph in a catastrophic one. Steady wind, wind gusts, and tornadoes are responsible for a great deal of the structural damage caused by hurricanes.
During a Hurricane you should close interior doors. By closing interior doors, you can prevent the amount of force air can push on the roof from the inside (like preventing air from being blown into a balloon). Closing interior doors can reduce the amount of force the roof has to withstand by 30%.