In our article on the Top 20 Windiest and Stormiest Cities in Missouri you would have noted with some concern that top wind speeds of 70, 80, and even 90 mph hit our great state.
The highest recorded wind speed in May 2020 was 96 mph in Gideon that resulted in $5 million in property damage. That should be sufficient motivation to drive your preparation for when those windstorms hit your community and your home.
We’ve developed some checklists to help you prepare and guide your actions during a windstorm, along with what to do after the storm has passed.
Preparing For a Windstorm
There’s a great deal you can do in preparation for windstorms. We’ve compiled this list to help you get ready.
- Keep trees trimmed. Cut back tree branches that are hanging over your home or outbuildings. Remove dead branches and cut down dead trees.
- Check your roof. Watch for loose or missing shingles. Keep your roof repaired and in good shape for rains and snowfall. As a result, it will also be ready for windstorms.
- Have fuel on hand. It’s a good idea to have one or more propane tanks on hand to fire up your grill. If you should lose power for any length of time, cook your meals on the grill.
- Consider a small gas-powered electrical generator. A small generator can power refrigerators and freezers during power outages. It can also power computers and televisions to help keep you informed and in touch. Make sure you test it before you need it.
- Review school emergency plans. If you have children, check their school’s emergency plans so you know what to expect if the storms hit during a school day.
- Park your cars in the garage. Remove them from the risk of falling trees and windblown debris.
- Secure outdoor furniture. Anything that’s in your yard can be blown into your home via the windows and doors. Before a windstorm, bring them indoors, place them in a shed, or use some other method to secure them.
- Prepare for loss of electrical power. Now that your car is in the garage, make sure you know how to open the door manually. Locate the circuit breaker or fuse box so you can disconnect power to avoid power surges.
- Set up an emergency shelter. This can be a space in your basement or a first-floor interior room away from windows and exterior doors. Your family can gather there just before any windstorm.
- Install a weather app on your phone. Your phone can keep you up to date on any storm warnings as well as status updates as you ride out the storm.
Create an Emergency Supply Kit
Not only will an emergency shelter within your home prove extremely valuable during any storms, but taking the time to pull together an emergency supply kit will also prove to be enormously helpful. Here’s a list to get you started.
- Three days’ supply of food for the family and any pets
- First aid kit
- Bottled water
- Battery-powered radio
- Candles and matches or lighter
- Flashlight and lots of batteries
- Battery-powered cell phone charger
- Sleeping bags and pillows
- Medications and prescription drugs
- Multi-purpose tool
- Extra cash
It’s also a good idea to have a similar kit ready to go on the road in case you need to evacuate your home.
Actions to Take During a Windstorm
At some point, the windstorms will arrive. That’s when it’s time to put all your preparation to use.
- Shelter in your basement or interior room. Take your emergency kit to the shelter you’ve already prepared. Gather your family.
- Get off the road. If the storm finds you in your car on the road, find a safe place to park. An underground parking garage is perfect. Avoid bridges and overpasses. They help funnel the wind through those openings, creating a greater hazard.
- Monitor the situation. Use your portable battery powered radio to monitor the weather. When in doubt, stay inside. Only go outside when you’re sure the storm has passed.
What to Do After a Windstorm
After the storm has passed, there can still be considerable danger to you and your family.
- Watch for natural gas leaks. If you smell gas, leave the premises at once and call the gas company
- Stay clear of downed electrical power lines. Don’t go near downed lines. Report them to your utility company.
- Keep refrigerator doors closed. Keeping them closed can keep food frozen for up to two days when power has been lost.
- Review your home for damage. Review the roof, siding, windows, doors, along with the outdoors including trees. If the home has structural damage, you’ll need to evacuate at once.
- Contact your insurance company. If you discover damage, get in contact with your insurance company to begin the claims process. Make sure you record all the damage. A pro tip is to use your phone to take photos.
Windstorms in Our Hometowns
In our earlier article on Windiest Cities in Missouri, we dug into the numbers for the locations in Missouri where we have offices.
In our review of 2020 windstorms, Kansas City experienced thunderstorms on June 4 and 5 with winds that gusted to 64 mph. Moberly saw a storm on Nov. 10 with 52-mph winds. Springfield Airport recorded 70-mph thunderstorm winds on June 4 with property estimated at $350,000. And not to be left out, St. Louis had thunderstorm wind speeds of 61 mph during an April 28 event.
We hope that windstorms won’t damage your home’s foundation. But rain and even hail often arrive with those storms. That’s a nasty combination that can find its way into your basement or crawl space if there are any cracks or if the water accumulates around your home.
We recommend that you consult the professionals at Foundation Recovery Systems for a free inspection and repair estimate to identify any issues with your foundation, basement, or crawl space that need attention in preparation for windstorms.