Smart planning and preparation in the years, months, and days leading up to a hurricane can prevent damage to your home, property, and vehicles. Not only will preparation save you time and money, but it will also keep you and your family safer.
If you are a Florida homeowner, you don’t need to be told that hurricane season is unpredictable and can bring very damaging storms. Intentional preparation is necessary to make it through the season safely.
Hurricane season started on June 1st and continues until November 30th. Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science is predicting a higher-than-average 2020 storm season, with 19 named systems including four major hurricanes. Check out the department’s full forecast report here: https://tropical.colostate.edu/forecasting.html.
Storm Preparations Ahead of Time
Regardless of the season forecast, it only takes one hurricane traveling across your property to cause costly damage. Although storm damage is often unpredictable, you can prepare ahead of time by addressing issues with vulnerable trees.
Start with taking some time to assess your trees. Are any of them in danger of falling in a storm? Trees are more susceptible to hurricane damage if they have been planted within the last five years, have shallow root systems, are leaning, or are very old.
Tackle the trees that are small enough (15 feet or shorter) for you to handle on your own. Remove any branches that are cracked, dying, or dead. Shorten those that are unusually long or that are the same diameter as the trunk. If a whole tree is weak or damaged, reinforce it or consider removing it.
For trees that are taller than 15 feet, call a certified arborist to assess and prune them. The arborist will remove potentially hazardous branches, thin out the canopy if needed, and inform you if a tree should be removed altogether.
Preparations as a Storm Approaches
Once your trees are in good shape and you have removed those that are likely to fall and cause damage, you can relax and focus on preparations in the day or two before a storm hits.
Perform a walkthrough of your property and look for unsecured items that could be moved or blown over by strong winds. Things like wind chimes, tables, yard art, pots, and trash cans should be brought inside if possible, or put close to the side of the house. If you have an arbor or basketball hoop, lay it on its side. These precautions will reduce the risk of damage to these items and the risk of them causing damage to a house or vehicle.
Once the threat of storms has passed, take some time to learn about strategic landscaping that will be more storm-resistant. This includes selecting wind-resistant trees, planting trees in groups so that they protect each other from the wind, leaving ample space between large trees and structures or power lines, and pruning trees in a way that will promote strong branches and wind resistance.
Smart planning and preparation in the years, months, and days leading up to a hurricane can prevent unnecessary damage to your home, property, and vehicles. Not only will preparation save you time and money, but it will also keep you and your family safer.