A hurricane is a frightening natural disaster that can have devastating effects on a homeowner’s property. Hurricanes can cause different kinds of damage to your home depending on their strength and size. It is important to remember that hurricanes of all levels can cause property damage and need to be treated with the caution they deserve.
But what is a hurricane? By definition, a hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm. Typically this cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms and a counterclockwise rotation that we feel as wind near the earth’s surface. They form by moving over the open ocean and gathering heat and energy while evaporating seawater increases their power. A hurricane’s rotation centers around an “eye”, which is the calmest part of the storm.
Hurricanes can cause damage both to coastal areas and areas several hundred miles inland. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is one way of measuring the severity of hurricanes for the purposes of measuring potential property damage from wind. This scale assigns hurricanes a rating of 1-5, with 1 causing the least amount of devastation and 5 causing the most.
Ratings on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale are based upon maximum sustained wind speed. Anything above a Level 3 on this scale is considered a major hurricane that can cause significant damage. It is important to familiarize yourself with the hazards that come with each category of hurricane, because watches and warnings are issued for hurricanes that pose a risk to your area.
Category 1 Hurricane
A Category 1 hurricane has sustained winds of 74-95 mph. Hurricanes of this strength may cause:
1. Shaking, bending, and breaking of trees, poles, bushes, and other objects on or near your home due to wind. This means that the exterior of your home could potentially be damaged.
2. Falling debris against your home, including anything from tree branches to a neighbor’s garbage can.
3. Power outages, which can potentially spark a fire.
Category 2 Hurricane
Category 2 hurricanes have sustained winds between 96-110 mph. A hurricane like this can cause everything listed above, as well as:
4. Minor roof damage, which may cause leaks in your home. This can result in water damage to walls, flooring, and property inside your home.
5. Heavy rain that can lead to flooding in your home. If you are in a coastal area, then storm surge is also a possibility. Either or both of these types of flooding can result in destruction, mold, and mildew.
Category 3 Hurricane
As mentioned previously, anything that is a Category 3 or above is considered a major hurricane. This category has sustained wind speeds between 111-129 mph. A storm of this strength can produce all the damage above and more, including:
6. Complete removal of roofs, siding, decking, and other outdoor fixtures. This results in devastating water damage inside the home.
7. Major damage outside your property, including to driveways, sidewalks, and patios.
8. Loss of clean water and sewer services. This means there is the potential for an environmental disaster caused by human waste.
Category 4 Hurricane
Category 4 hurricanes have sustained wind speeds between 130-156 mph. Everything listed above may happen, along with:
9. Severe structural damage to your home, including but not limited to collapsed roofs and walls. This may render your home structurally unsound.
10. Deadly flying debris that may break windows and doors.
Category 5 Hurricane
Category 5 hurricanes have sustained wind speeds over 157 mph. These storms produce the most hurricane damage. Expect all of the devastation listed previously as well as:
11. Completely destroyed homes.
12. Uninhabitable property.
Now that we know the 12 types of damage hurricanes can cause, you may be wondering how you can prepare your home for such an event. It is crucial that you listen to the radio or TV for information about the storm so that you know what to expect. It is a good idea to prepare an emergency kit for you and your family that includes things like food, water, and medicine.
If you are instructed to do so, be sure to turn off your home’s utilities to avoid unnecessary risk of fire or flood. If you are able to leave your utilities turned on, be sure to turn the temperature on your refrigerator down and leave the doors closed. This will
help to keep perishable food fresh for as long as possible in the event of a power outage.
Here are some other precautions you can take if a hurricane is imminent:
Close and lock all windows. Cover all of your home's windows with permanent storm shutters or marine-grade plywood if possible. A common misconception is that tape put up in an “X” pattern will keep glass intact under heavy wind, but this is not true. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking and should not be used.
Install straps or clips to fasten your roof to the frame structure. By securing the roof to the frame you may reduce damage.
If possible, reinforce your garage doors so wind does not enter the space.
To prevent possible flooding, secure first floor doorways with sandbags, duct tape or heavy plastic.
Tie down or bring indoors loose objects outside that might be blown around by wind. These include but are not limited to outdoor furniture, garbage cans, decorations, and signs. If you do not do this you risk losing your objects and potentially causing more damage.
Trim down any trees and shrubs around your home. This will help improve their wind resistance and may help them survive the storm.
Install a generator for backup power. Make sure to keep extra fuel on hand.
Keep a supply of water for drinking and sanitary purposes by filling the bathtub and any other large containers with water.
If you must evacuate your home, lock the doors when you leave to deter looting.
If your home has sustained damage after a hurricane has passed, WeDry USA can help. We offer comprehensive water, fire, and mold damage services as well as residential and commercial restoration, all with 24/7 support. Give us a call today at 855-WEDRY24 or select “I need help” on our website.