Winter weather increasingly includes high-speed windstorms as well as precipitation in many parts of the U.S. Wind can wreck things in a hurry, causing damage to housing, roofs, and vehicles. But there are some steps you can take now, before the next one hits, to help minimize the damage, save on costly repairs, and keep you safer during a severe wind event.
How to secure the roof of your home before a storm
The first thing to check before the blustery weather arrives is the roof. Not only is the roof vulnerable to high winds because of its position on the structure of your home, if it fails, other damage can follow. Preventing leaks due to loosened shingles will save a lot of time and money recovering from water damage down the road. The first thing to check on your roof is that the shingles are firmly attached. Make sure that repairs are done by a licensed contractor that specializes in roof repairs so the correct type of fastener and adhesive is used. If you see any movement from your shingles, you’ll need to have the loose ones repaired. Look, also, for any discoloration, accumulated leaves, or other debris.
Inspect your gutters
Once your roof is checked, take a look at your gutters—gutters that are backed up can pull away from the edge of the roof under the weight of the water they’re holding. In high winds, they can become detached and cause damage to surrounding structures. If your gutters are clogged or damaged, you should re-nail them before the wind starts.
Bring lawn furniture and decorations indoors
The next thing to do is wrangle your outdoor furniture or any other objects that could blow around—and you might want to expand your idea of what could become airborne as extreme gusts of wind can sometimes move anything that isn’t nailed down. Hanging plants, bird feeders, and decorations can all cause damage if there’s enough wind. This step isn’t just to protect your furniture, but also to protect nearby structures and vehicles. If furniture becomes airborne it can blow into your house or car, smashing windows or even tearing off siding.
To prevent your deck chairs from becoming destructive debris, bring anything you can indoors. If that’s not possible, pile it in a protected area under a porch. Propane tanks should be stored in an upright position, secured with straps or rope on the side of the structure facing away from the direction of the wind.
Prep your trees
Make sure to take care of your trees, too, if there’s wind in the forecast. If any branches are close to the house or power lines, they should be cut back to prevent damage. In addition to pruning away from your house, you should also make sure that any dead or damaged branches are cleared so they don’t fall and become a hazard.
Brush up on your regular storm preparedness
Don’t forget to do your regular storm preparedness as well. Fuel up vehicles in case of an evacuation, check your emergency kit to make sure you have batteries, flashlights, and all the other basics in case you lose power, and have a contact plan for family members in case call service and internet connections are interrupted. Make sure that you have some basic tools on hand to perform simple maintenance after the wind dissipates so you can minimize any water damage. Having a few tarps and some duct tape on hand can also help cover any broken windows or damage to your exterior.
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