Intermediate: Preparing the Home for Severe Summer Storms

Man walking in a heavy rain stormWith summer upon us, severe weather can strike at any time. Depending on where you live, hurricanes, tornadoes, storms flash floods, or wildfires could be in your future. Before a storm heads your way, there are precautions every homeowner should take to ensure their home and yards are ready. Check the following features of your home to avoid unnecessary damage when the next severe storm comes your way:

  • Roofing and shingles – Inspect the roof gutters and shingles for any damage that might have occurred last season. Unfixed damage can cause leaks during heavy rains. If you’ve already had heavy rain or hail in your area this summer, double-check to make sure everything looks okay. Those who aren’t sure what to look for should consider hiring a roofing professional for some peace of mind.
  • Gutters and downspouts – Failing gutters can cause problems with the foundation of a home. To prevent this, attach extensions to the base of your downspouts to carry water away from your home’s foundation.
  • Windows – Reinforce windows and storm shutters to minimize damage from thunderstorms and tornados. It is best to board up windows for hurricanes, so keep boards in an accessible place on your property. Don’t wait to buy boards until a hurricane is headed your way, as you don’t want to risk the possibility that stores might sell out.
  • Sump pumps – If your house has a basement and your area gets hit with excessive rain each summer, consider installing a sump pump to remove excessive ground water. An unprotected basement may flood and damage floors, walls, and items stored in the room.
  • Standby generator – According to the U.S. Department of Energy, weather-related power outages have doubled since 2003. Losing electricity means your sump pump will stop, your refrigerator won’t be able to keep food cold, and your security system will be disarmed. Invest in a standby generator – they run on propane or natural gas so they don’t need to be refueled. It will allow needed systems to keep running such as your sump pump, large appliances, lights, and security system.
  • Landscaping – If your property has trees that are too close to the house or overgrown limbs and branches, trim them down. Broken branches or toppled trees may cause power outages and property damage.

All homes should be equipped with an emergency supplies kit. Avoid putting this kit together at the last minute. Instead, dedicate a space in your pantry or garage for storing storm-related essentials. This includes at least three days worth of water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, blankets, warm clothes, and medication.

The National Weather Service has additional survival and safety information for severe weather. Get all the supplies you need to stay safe at