If you feel like weather-related events are getting larger, more impactful, and downright scarier recently, you are not alone. From Kansas City to St. Louis, homeowners across Missouri and the U.S. are seeing an increase in weather-related damages. From hurricanes to flooding and wildfires to drought conditions, extreme weather can damage crops and impact entire communities, including hometowns in areas like Springfield and Moberly. For homeowners, it can also mean costly repair bills. As the number of weather-related events causing major damage to U.S. cities rises, the importance of ensuring your home is protected from damaging weather is becoming even more important.
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Severe Weather Impacts Homeowners Across the U.S.
From 2010 to 2020 there were more than 75 storms in the U.S. rated “severe” by NOAA that each caused more than $1 billion in property and other damage. This included seven wildfires, 12 hurricanes, 18 floods, eight droughts, and six winter storms. These weather events were reported on by national media, bringing us stories of daring rescues and heartbreaking destruction, each one a reminder that preparing for an emergency before it occurs is essential.
Many of the named storms, we can easily remember. The most expensive weather event in the U.S. in the past 10 years was Hurricane Harvey, which caused $131 billion in flood damages and impacted eight million Americans. Hurricanes Maria, Sandy, Irma, Michael, Florence, and Irene also topped the list of the 10 most expensive extreme weather events. In addition, the 2020 drought affected more than half of U.S. states, and the 2018 wildfires in California destroyed more than 18,000 buildings.
Common Weather-Related Damages Caused by Wind, Hail, and Flooding
Weather is the number one cause of home damage. Some of the most common weather events that cause costly damage to U.S. homes include high winds, hail, flooding, and lightning. Each of these weather events is well known to Midwestern communities from St. Louis to Kansas City. For example, high winds can damage a home’s foundation, and falling trees cause additional structural damage to homes each year. Hail damage is most common to a home’s roof, windows, and outdoor structures like decks and fences.
Flood damage can be some of the costliest to repair and affects both the interior and exterior, as well as a home’s infrastructure. Lightning storms can cause fire damage and hurt a home’s electrical systems (and items plugged in at the time). According to Travelers Insurance, Inc., 24% of homeowner’s insurance claims from 2006-2016 were wind-related. In addition, more weather claims are filed in the spring than any other season.
Protecting Your Home Against Extreme Weather
If you are a new or existing homeowner, there are ways you can protect your home before an extreme weather event occurs to minimize costly damages. One important addition to homes with basements or built near rivers or in hurricane or flood-prone areas is a sump pump with a backup battery in case of a power outage. You should also waterproof your basement and any other rooms below flood level, including crawl spaces, before an emergency occurs.
To protect homes against high winds from hurricanes and other storms, consider adding a new roof and window upgrades. There are innovative, cost-effective new building materials and processes that help protect against extreme weather and reduce the impact on your home from these types of events.
If you live in an area of the country affected by hurricanes, pricing the installation of hurricane shutters to protect windows, doors, and the home’s interior from wind and water damage is important to consider. For homes in areas known for wildfires, consider planting fire-resistant shrubs and plants around your home and creating a “fuel break” to stop fire in its tracks by placing pebbles, gravel, pavers, or other non-combustible items between your home and forest areas. Ensure smoke detectors are installed and checked regularly.
Regular Home Maintenance Reduces Effects of Weather-Related Damage
To protect against everyday storm damage, ensure your home maintenance schedule includes cleaning gutters regularly and identifying and sealing cracks and leaks in doors, windows, walls, floors, and the foundation. Winter-proofing your home before a storm occurs by adding proper insulation to crawl spaces, attics, and basements can both reduce your heating bill and minimize storm damage, including from freezing water pipes. In addition, service your HVAC systems regularly, especially before the winter months.
Extreme weather events are a scary new reality for many homeowners who live in areas affected by hurricanes, flooding, droughts, and winter weather. If you are prepared for a weather event before it occurs by conducting regular home inspections and fixing problem areas, you will help minimize costly damages. From winter-proofing basements and crawl spaces to adding flood protections and planting fire-resistant shrubs around your home, you can help reduce the effects of weather-related events on your own wallet.At Foundation Recovery Systems, we can help! Our professional team provides basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, and foundation repair services to ensure your home is protected. Learn more by scheduling a free inspection and repair estimate with one of our experts.