Weathering the Storm: 7 Ways to Prepare for Severe

Tim Blackwell - 5/13/2015

In some parts of the country, thunderstorms and other severe weather have destroyed property, damaged trees and disrupted day-to-day activities. The rain is welcome in some drought-stricken areas, but the damage is not.

According to, about 10 percent of thunderstorms are classified as severe. These are storms that produce hail at least an inch or larger in diameter, have winds of 58 miles per hour or higher or produce a tornado. Many storms come with lightning as well.

Stormy Weather Ahead

Spring storms will soon give way to hurricane season, which begins June 1. With either time of the year, homes and apartments can be damaged when thunderbolts strike, winds gust and hail and rain pelts the ground. The price tag can be high to make repairs resulting from a storm, even when insurance comes into play.

However, property owners can potentially minimize damage by getting their buildings ready for severe weather. Charging maintenance teams or inspections crews to periodically check on the shape of a building’s exterior can reveal probable areas of damage.

"Some quick and easy preventative measures will help apartment buildings withstand severe storms,” says Ed Wolff, LeasingDesk Insurance President. "Properties should make it a point to always be aware of the vulnerabilities their buildings have, with potential risk and exposure as storm season approaches.”

A number of organizations, including the National Association of Home Builders, offer tips to reduce or avoid damage in severe weather. Following are some suggestions from these resources that can help a structure weather the storm:

1. Keep water out by sealing the building’s exteriors

Windows, entry doors, garage doors and cracks are places where wind and water can enter. Wind that funnels through the home pushes upward and can ultimately lift the roof. A compromised roof will enable water to penetrate and damage the interior. Seal areas that could allow air and water to advance.

2. Inspect the roof for loose or missing shingles

The roof is the first line of defense to prevent water from entering the structure. Sealing around chimneys and vent pipes will help keep water away. Also, inspect and repair shingles that may have detached or come loose. It’s always a good idea to inspect the roof after a storm to prevent future damage. Enlist a qualified roofing contractor for inspections.

3. Clear gutters and inspect the foundation to ensure good water flow

Clogged gutters and debris and erosion around the foundation will inhibit runoff of rain water. Blockages in gutters will force water to overflow and potentially puddle around the foundation or cause damage to the landscape. Check and clear gutters to enable proper drainage from the roof and away from the building. Also, inspect foundations and grade where needed so that rainwater properly runs off.

4. Trim trees close to structures that can cause damage from high winds

Large branches that overhang buildings or are close enough to rub against the sides or roof are a recipe for disaster. Heavy winds could break limbs or cause them to damage the structure. Keep all limbs clear of the building.

5. Secure items in common areas that could become hazards

Bring inside all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down. Also, unplug any outdoor televisions or appliances to avoid possible electrical shock. Disconnect and remove exterior television antennas from the roof, and tie down any objects that could be hurled through the air under high-speed winds.

6. Inspect and repair siding on building exteriors

Damaged siding or trim on the exterior of the building should be repaired and secured to avoid being ripped off by high winds. Also, all window screens should be secure.

7. Install a properly-grounded lightning rod, minimize fire risk

A properly grounded lightning rod helps reduce the risk of fire caused by lightning strikes. Lightning rods won’t increase or decrease the chances of lightning strikes but will provide a path for the electricity to reach the ground more safely. Also, don’t reposition satellite dishes or digital antennas when a storm is approaching.

Taking time to secure your lease property before severe weather approaches may mean the difference between filing a large insurance claim or simply weathering the storm.