What are damaging winds?

What are damaging winds?

Damaging winds are often called “straight-line” winds to differentiate the damage they cause from tornado damage. Strong thunderstorm winds can come from a number of different processes. Most thunderstorm winds that cause damage at the ground are a result of outflow generated by a thunderstorm downdraft. Damaging winds are classified as those exceeding 50-60 mph.

Are damaging winds really a big deal?

Damage from severe thunderstorm winds account for half of all severe reports in the lower 48 states and is more common than damage from tornadoes. Wind speeds can reach up to 100 mph and can produce a damage path extending for hundreds of miles.

Who is at risk from damaging winds?

Since most thunderstorms produce some straight-line winds as a result of outflow generated by the thunderstorm downdraft, anyone living in thunderstorm-prone areas of the world is at risk for experiencing this hazard.

People living in mobile homes are especially at risk for injury and death. Even anchored mobile homes can be seriously damaged when winds gust over 80 mph.


Frequently Asked Questions About Damaging Winds

Types of water leaks in the bathtub.

Types of water leaks in the bathtub.

Because bathtubs, with or without integrated showers, get such frequent use and the amounts of water used are quite copious, any type of bathtub leak can be an annoying and potentially very serious problem. Left untreated, some leaks can cause thousands of dollars in damage, requiring major repairs and renovations.

Faucet Leaks – Grout/ Caulk Leaks – Drain Leaks

Any type of bathtub leak can be an annoying and potentially very serious problem.

What To Do During A Hurricane: A Complete Guide

What To Do During A Hurricane: A Complete Guide

Do you live in a region of the United States that’s especially prone to hurricanes?

If so, you know that knowledge is power. It’s important to know not only what to do during a hurricane, but also how to prepare beforehand and handle the aftermath once it’s over.

Don’t be caught off-guard without ways to protect yourself. Today, we’re sharing a complete guide that covers the steps to take before, during and after a hurricane.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.


What to Do Before a Hurricane

You’ve watched the weather forecast and you know that a hurricane could be approaching. There is one major decision to make at this point: Will you stay put or evacuate?


If You Evacuate

You might decide to evacuate on your own will. Or, local authorities might order you to do so. Either way, there are several stepsto take to make sure you leave your home as protected as possible.

Begin by unplugging all of your appliances and connected devices, including your televisions. If you’re currently storing valuables or other important items at or below ground level (as in a basement), try to move them to a higher position, such as on a table or kitchen counter.

Then, you’ll need to disconnect certain connections. Turn off your water and gas to prevent flooding and dangerous leaks, and take the fuses out of your air conditioning system. These could surge when the power comes back on, causing serious damage.

If you have time to plan before you evacuate, make sure your car has a full tank of gas and make any necessary repairs to ensure it’s in good running condition. Stash emergency supplies in the trunk, along with a change of clothes.


If You Stay Home

Before the hurricane makes landfall, there are certain steps you can take to safeguard your home. If you plan to stay put, bring in all lawn equipment and ornaments to prevent them from becoming airborne during the storm.

This can range from decorative flags and planters to sculptures, portable fountains and more. Also, remember to check your pool covers and shed doors. Both should be tightly secured.

If you haven’t already, go ahead and put all of your important documents in a weather-proof container that will protect them from water damage. Then, move all valuables to the highest elevation possible.

Finally, don’t forget about your cars! If you park outside, move them from underneath trees if possible. Otherwise, bring them inside the garage.


Keeping Your Pets Safe

Regardless of whether you decide to stay or evacuate, make sure that your pets are micro-chipped and have identification tags. These will be invaluable if you become separated.

If you’re evacuating, remember to pack a bag for Fido, too.

Inside of it, include all important medications, records, food, and leashes. Keep it nearby for quick access.

What to Do During a Hurricane

If you decided to ride the storm out from home, you’ll need to take special precautions to stay as safe as possible.

Under no circumstance should you handle electrical equipment, such as your stove, hairdryer, or television. If you need to use the phone, do so quickly and only in an emergency.

If the power goes out during the storm, resist the urge to light every candle in the house. These could knock over during the commotion of the hurricane and pose a fire risk. Instead, stick with battery-operated flashlights.

Finally, don’t assume the storm is over just because the rain subsides or the wind dies down. Remember, the eye of the storm is often characterized by a short-lived period of calm. Soon thereafter, the weather pattern picks back up. If you’re outside when it happens, you could be in the middle of the chaos.

Along the same lines, don’t underestimate the power of floodwaters. It takes less than a foot of fast-moving water to knock you off your feet during a hurricane. Resist the urge to walk or swim in the water, and never attempt to drive through it.


What to Do After a Hurricane

The storm is officially over, power is restored, and you’re left to assess the aftermath. If your home is intact, remember to turn on your appliances slowly, one at a time. Powering them up all at once could create a damaging surge.

If your power is still out, an outdoor generator positioned at least 10 feet away from your home can help you access critical appliances. However, remember to never use one indoors, even in a basement. The exhaust fumes they generate can lead to high levels of carbon monoxide, a toxic gas that can be deadly to inhale.

Then, you can check your property inside and outside for hurricane damage, taking photos of any evidence you encounter. If you notice any downed power lines along the way, report them to local authorities, being careful to stay far away from them. Also, keep far away from floodwaters and dangerous debris.


Protect Yourself and Your Valuables Today

Still wondering what to do during a hurricane? One of the most important steps you can take is to have an experienced and certified insurance adjuster on your side.

If you experience water damage to your property, you deserve to restore what you lost.

We understand that the claims process can be confusing and overwhelming, and we’re here to help.

As Orlando’s premier hurricane damage adjusters, we’re dedicated to making sure you receive the maximum compensation you’re due. We’re experts in this field and we’re ready to work with you every step of the way.

Contact us for a free case evaluation today and let us take it from there.

The Complete Florida Resident’s Guide To Hurricane Insurance

The Complete Florida Resident’s Guide To Hurricane Insurance

You’ve finally done it… you purchased your dream home on one of the most beautiful places on all of God’s creation: Florida. This state is home to pristine beaches, beautiful year-round weather, and eye-catching greenery everywhere you turn. It truly is one of a kind, and you’re now a homeowner in it… lucky you! However, not even paradise comes without its cautions. Being in a peninsula, every Florida owner should invest in hurricane insurance regardless of where you live. You always think it can’t happen to you until it does. Here is your complete guide to hurricane insurance as a Florida resident.  

There’s Insurance for any Living Situation

  Many people reading this may think Well, I’m not a homeowner yet so this article doesn’t apply to me… Wrong! There’s hurricane insurance for any situation, whether you’re renting a home or buying a home, you can be covered. You can also be specified by the type of home that you own or rent. Categories such as renter’s insurance, condo insurance, mobile home insurance, and homeowner’s insurance help target your overall needs. For example, homeowner’s insurance will be geared towards protecting not only your belongings but the structural integrity of the house itself. Whereas renter’s insurance is simply focused on covering all of your belongings that become damaged during the hurricane. The property itself is up to your landlord, not you. Hurricane insurance is included in any of these home policies in the state of Florida, pick the one that fits your situation and stay protected during a crisis.    

Safety During an Emergency

Depending on how seriously your location gets hit with the hurricane, you may find that your home, neighborhood, and city unsafe to stay in. When that happens, you’ll need to make temporary living arrangements until your home can be fixed. Many people don’t have enough saved up to pay for that unforeseen expense out of pocket. Hurricane insurance helps you cover those expenses by way of reimbursing you for all the emergency costs. That way you and your family can find safe shelter, whatever that may look like, as you await the day you can return home. Depending on your provider, you may find that they’ll try to be a bit stingy with how much/little coverage they payout for you. That’s why it’s crucial to team up with a trusted public adjuster to set yourself up with the highest possible settlement. You’re the one that is going through the tragedy, you should be compensated for it.

Hurricanes are Included in Flood Insurance

    You may find yourself overwhelmed by the number of insurance policies you need to invest in as a Florida homeowner. Fear not, most of them are included within each other. Flood insurance differs from home insurance, but it still covers hurricanes if they’re the cause of the flood itself. Basically, flood insurance covers any instance in which your property and/or belongings are damaged by rising water where there’s usually dry land. Flood damage is one of the most costly incidents that can happen to your home. It can cost a minimum of $7,800 for only 1-4 inches of water. That means you’re forced to pay it out of pocket without flood insurance on your side. Fortunately, some homeowners are required to have flood insurance. There are several factors that indicate whether you fall in that umbrella, the big indication is your flood zone, read more about that below…    

Know Your Flood Zones

Whether you realized it or not, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has mapped out flood zones all across the nation. The state of Florida especially abides by this, being almost completely surrounded by water, and uses it to determine if you’re more or less susceptible to floods. The mapping programs are relatively easy to understand, their risk factors are associated and labeled with a letter. FEMA undergoes an exhaustive process every few years with all local counties to provide any changes and reinforced data that support each flood zone category. So if your zone is labeled “AE” or high risk, there’s significant evidence to back it up. Living in a high-risk zone shouldn’t keep you up at night. You just need to make sure your belongings and future are protected in the event of an emergency. Hurricanes are a part of life down in Florida. If you live in the state long enough, you’re certain to undergo an evacuation or two; it’s just a means of safety!    

Learn All That You Can

Whether you’ve lived in Florida your entire life or are just now becoming a full-time resident, it benefits you to know all you can about hurricane emergencies. Read up on a successful evacuation process and what you can do to best prepare yourself when that day comes. There are things you can be doing now to protect your family later. Things like having an emergency kit and evacuation plan will come in handy during that time. If you’ve set yourself up with hurricane insurance, it’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about. Now it’s time to focus on being as prepared as possible to temporarily move you and your family if one were to hit your town.    

Hurricane Insurance Doesn’t Have to Be a Headache

You’ve already got enough on your plate when a natural disaster happens, don’t let hurricane insurance be another thing to worry about. There are claim consultants out there with experience in helping people like you get the most return possible for their settlements. Be sure to read up on how Let Us Claim can help you maximize your insurance company’s payout after there’s been damage to your home. For more inquiries, please reach out via our contact us page and we’ll be happy to speak with you further.
The Scientific Scoop: How A Hurricane Forms

The Scientific Scoop: How A Hurricane Forms

  Every year, parts of the Gulf Coast, Caribbean, and Atlantic Coast prepare for what they call “hurricane season.”

A hurricane is a type of storm that is also known as a tropical cyclone. It’s a rotating low-pressure weather system that forms over warm tropical or subtropical waters (like the Caribbean). To be a hurricane, the wind in the cyclone must reach at least 74 miles-per-hour.

What causes hurricanes, and how do they become so powerful? Keep reading to learn how a hurricane forms.


How a Hurricane Forms: Evaporation and      Condensation


Why does only part of the world experience tropical cyclones (and hurricanes)? It’s because these storms need warm water (at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit for 165 feet below the surface) to form.

However, these storms need more than tropical waters: they also need the right conditions.

A tropical cyclone occurs when the warm air over the sea rises and gets replaced by cooler air. Thanks to the equatorial latitude, the cold air then warms and also rises. As the warm air rises, the area below becomes a low-pressure zone. Then, the air from higher pressure areas pushes in, which causes the air to rise again.

To form a hurricane, the rising air needs to meet winds. When the westward winds blow from Africa across the Atlantic, it causes the water to turn into water vapor and rise. When the water vapor rises, it cools again and turns back into water droplets.

The cycle of evaporation and condensation (formation of water droplets) in the rising air causes cumulonimbus clouds to form. They then begin to rotate thanks to the rotation of the earth.

When there’s enough warm water, the clouds grow and grow through more cycles. Once the clouds rotate at more than 74 miles per hour, they become a hurricane.


The Four Stages of a Tropical Cyclone

Before reaching hurricane state, the tropical cyclone goes through three earlier stages. Indeed, a tropical cyclone can still cause damage even if it doesn’t achieve hurricane status.

The first stage is a tropical disturbance. It occurs when the clouds form according to the evaporation and condensation pattern described above and when the wind begins circulating.

Rotating weather systems with surface winds of under 39 miles per hour are tropical depressions. Once the speeds reach 39 miles per hour (up to 74 mph), the system is a tropical storm.


What Makes Hurricanes so Powerful?

Hurricanes are at their most powerful when they’re out at sea because they feed on the cycle of warm water evaporation and condensation. Once they hit land, they lose their power source, which causes them to weaken, but not before wreaking havoc.

Once a storm becomes a hurricane, it falls into one of five categories:

  • Category 1 – 74-95 mph winds
  • Category 2 – 96-110 mph winds
  • Category 3 – 111-129 mph winds
  • Category 4 – 130-156 mph winds
  • Category 5 – 157+ mph hour winds

The strongest Atlantic hurricane ever on record is Hurricane Wilma (2005). Wind speeds were recorded at 185 miles per hour and caused $34.4 billion in damage.

As a reminder, wind speeds are not the only factor involved in the damage a storm causes. Flooding is also an issue, which is why Hurrican Katrina, which also landed in 2005, had max wind speeds of 175 miles per hour but caused $161.6 billion in damage

Tropical cyclones (same storm but not called hurricanes) are often much stronger when they originate in the Pacific. The size of the Pacific Ocean gives the system more time to gather speed before it meets land, which means these storms have the potential to be much stronger and larger.

In the Pacific, the storm with the highest winds is Patricia (2015), with wind speeds of up to 215 miles per hour.


Why Global Warming Plays a Role in Hurricane Strength

Scientists say it’s challenging to link single storms to other trends like global warming. However, it is possible to link storm patterns, and the patterns are troubling.

For example, when Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas in 2019, it arrived with 185 mile per hour winds and a powerful storm surge that devastated the islands. But Dorian wasn’t always a superstorm: the Friday before it landed, it was a Category 3. On Sunday, the “storm-fueling waters” of the Caribbean raised it to a Category 5 storm. Then, when it lost the winds needed to move it on, it stalled over the Bahamas, battering some parts of the archipelago into oblivion.

Why the link with climate change?

The National Climate Assessment has suggested for years that we could see a higher number of more intense storms over time – hitting the coasts one after another. Moreover, warmer conditions could make hurricanes move slower and dump more rain (thanks to the increased cycle). Other studies say a warmer atmosphere could also slow down the winds that push a storm forward, as happened with Hurrican Dorian.

The slower winds don’t make for slower wind speeds. They stop the storm from reaching land faster, thereby cutting off its supply of warm water, which weakens it.


Are Category 6 Hurricanes on Their Way?

At present, there are five categories of hurricanes. But the intensity of the storms (and the number of them) has some considering whether a Category 6 is necessary. A new category would better communicate the severity and power of today’s superstorms. But Robert Simpson, who created the Saffir-Simpson scale currently used, said that once wind speeds are more than 156 miles per hour, it tears buildings apart – and that’s the most important thing to communicate (in their opinion).

Scientists first started discussing it after the intense 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. But chatter notably picked up when Hurricane Dorian landed and became what some believe as the threshold for Category 6 storms.

A new category is possible, but at present, it doesn’t exist. Call them what you want, but a lack of a new name doesn’t negate the damage done by these new storms.


Do You Have Adequate Hurricane Protection?

If you live on the Atlantic or Gulf coasts of the United States, you need excellent insurance to help protect you when hurricanes make landfall.

The combination of warmer waters and warmer air temps impact how a hurricane forms. They create more and more severe storms.

Are you worried about what your insurance offers? Are you still dealing with hurricane damage from last year? We specialize in hurricane damage of all kinds. Get in touch for a free consultation with our insurance consultants.