Your brolly’s inside out, you’re leaning into the wind to walk but getting nowhere while rain lashes, sticking your clothes to your body. That’s stormy weather for you. A broken brolly’s not the end of the world and clothes dry out, but when winds are strong enough to damage your home it’s often a bit late, let alone dangerous to start climbing a ladder to do that repair to the garage roof you’ve been meaning to tackle for ages. So before the wind really starts to blow, it makes sense to do some quick checks around your property to help prevent storm damage. It’s worth bearing in mind that insurance won’t cover you for damage that’s down to poor maintenance.
The first place to start is to have a look at the roof – call in a professional for them to check if there are any tiles missing or loose. If you have a low roof you could check yourself or ask a friend to. Pay particular attention to garage, sheds and flat roofs. Wear and tear to these roofs may mean that they have become weakened and will be unable to support additional weight from snow, ice and broken branches.
Secondly, make sure your gutters, gullies and drains are clear; this will allow heavy rainfall and melted ice to pass through quickly and effectively. If drainpipes and gutters aren’t cleaned, water can become trapped in the cold weather and cause these to crack and burst. Before the wind gets going, you should also have a look around your property for any overhanging tree branches and loose debris that could damage your home in strong winds. Tree branches can be cut back and loose furniture can be stored inside. Storms can vary in their severity, so it is important to always err on the side of caution and take any steps possible to reduce the damage caused to your property and vehicle.
The Met Office has reported that gale winds are the most common cause of damage and disruption in the UK. In 2007, Hurricane Kyrill in the UK featured winds at speeds of over 80mph. Strong winds do occur in the UK, so it’s also worth bearing in mind the following top tips on how you can protect your home for more serious storms.
Be ready for the storm
If you have been warned or believe that a serious storm is en route…
- Ensure any debris is removed from outside and that any loose items are secured or stored inside.
- Make sure that all windows and doors are shut, and locked where possible.
- Secure your car in a garage (if possible), but at the very least park it away from any objects including trees that may fall and damage it.
- Organise where your family and any pets will be during the expected storm time, to ensure everyone is safe.
- Storms can result in power cuts, so make a storm kit which includes torches, necessary medication, food, water and blankets etc.
Once the dust has settled
Depending on the severity of the winds, the post-storm clean-up can vary from small repairs to much bigger ones.
- Avoid standing near walls, buildings and trees that may be prone to collapse following the storm.
- Be aware of any loose electrical wires and cables that may have been damaged. Leave these for a professional to fix.
- Contact your insurance company immediately if you think you need to make a claim.
Whether this year brings light winds or harsh gales, it’s good to prepare your home in advance. This includes making sure that you have the contact details for those you can contact in an emergency, such as electricians, plumbers, roofers, your insurer’s claim helpline and your brokers details.