From 1980 to 2019, the U.S. faced 1.75 trillion dollars in damages from climate disasters. That includes weather events like floods, tornadoes, wildfires, and hurricanes.
While all of these weather disasters cause terrible damage, none are as deadly or destructive as a hurricane. After all, a hurricane combines the wind damage of a tornado with the destruction of a flood. It’s no wonder why they’re so dangerous.
The question is, how do these destructive storms directly impact your home?
Read on to learn about the most common types of damage and how they happen. That way you’ll know how to prepare for the next weather event.
1. Broken Windows and Siding Damage
Between the high winds and flying debris, you can expect some window and siding damage from a hurricane. With strong winds, pebbles and sticks turn into dangerous projectiles. Even if you have impact-resistant hurricane windows, flying objects can still break through.
High winds can also pull off cracked siding. Air can get under the siding, pull it loose, and turn it into a projectile. That’s why it’s critical to seal up any holes or gaps before the storm.
You can also protect your windows by boarding them up with plywood. Once you cut the plywood to size, bolt it to the frame.
2. Flooded Septic Tank
Since hurricanes produce lots of rain, most storms cause some flooding. While flooding is a problem on its own, it can also create a problem for your septic tank. Once the ground gets soaked with water, the floodwater has nowhere to escape.
That’s when it can start leaking into your septic tank. When water floods your septic tank, sewage can back up into your home and cause an even bigger mess. Plus, if you have an electrical pump running your septic tank, it won’t work during a hurricane-induced power outage.
As a form of prevention, you can install a backup generator and try to install your septic tank in an area with good drainage. That said, this is a tough problem to avoid if you’re facing serious flooding.
3. Water Damage
Hurricanes can create torrential rains over the course of a few hours. That’s why flooding is a major problem during these storms.
Damage from flooding doesn’t stop when the water recedes—you also have to worry about mold and rotting wood. Water can soak into your carpet, subfloor, wall studs, insulation, and drywall. The moisture left behind can cause mold spores.
While there’s not much you can do to prevent water damage, you can have an inspector tour your home to look for hidden signs of water damage. If there’s significant damage, you’ll need to do this anyway for your insurance claim.
4. Shingle and Roof Damage
Shingle and roof damage is one of the most common reasons for hurricane damage claims. It’s due mostly to damaging winds, but flying debris can also damage your roof.
Hurricanes can produce winds from at least 70 mph to more than 150 mph. Since nails and tar are the only things holding down your shingles, they can come loose during a storm.
In a Category 5 hurricane which is the strongest type of storm, many homes will have their entire roof fail.
5. Damage From Landscaping
The landscaping around your home and your neighbors’ homes can also damage your home during a hurricane. The strong winds from a hurricane can uproot trees and turn mulch pieces into flying projectiles.
But, that doesn’t mean you need to give up your tall trees and dig up your bushes. Before hurricane season, trim dead tree branches and rethink that gravel in your flower beds.
For more protection, you can choose plants that can stand up to strong winds. It’s also smart to get your neighbors on board since their landscape choices can also affect your home.
6. Fire Damage
While wind and water are your main concerns during a hurricane, you might also have to contend with fire damage. Water and electricity are a deadly combination, which can lead to fire.
If water gets into your home’s electrical outlets or appliances, it can spark and cause an electrical fire. Given the strong winds in a hurricane, the fire can also spread to nearby buildings and trees.
Luckily, you can cut down on this risk by unplugging everything from your outlets. That includes lamps, appliances, and electrical devices. You can’t really prevent damage to your appliances, but it will cut down on your risk for an electrical fire.
7. Damage From Flying Debris
A major cause of hurricane damage is flying debris. In winds of more than 150 mph, that’s enough power to throw a barbecue grill, toss a car, or push a house off its foundation.
Flying debris can land on rooftops, go through windows, or fall on top of cars. It can even lead to serious injury or death.
The best way to avoid this kind of damage is to bring everything you can inside. That includes things like patio furniture, grills, pool toys, and lawn equipment. If it’s something you can’t bring inside like a pool pump, make sure it’s as secure as possible.
Does Your Home Have Any of These Types of Damage From a Hurricane?
From roof damage to water damage, there are so many types of damage that can result from a hurricane. The problem is, once you’re in the path of a hurricane, there’s not much you can do.
As if the immediate damage from wind and rain wasn’t bad enough, there’s also the indirect damage from electrical fires and mold to worry about. But, the more you understand what a hurricane can do, the better you can prepare to deal with the aftermath.
Looking for more information on maintaining your home? Browse our home and garden articles to find helpful ideas.
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