As the months progress, many homeowners are concerned about Florida’s hurricane season. All across Florida property owners are asking questions such as, how can I prepare my home. What if I have roof damage? Will the power go out? Will we escape a direct hit?
Since no one has a crystal ball, or at least a working crystal ball, our advise is to prepare for the worst during Florida’s hurricane season. While being hopeful that a hurricane won’t hit South Florida being prepared is the smartest thing to do. Of course, it’s going to get warm, and humid as summer approaches. No crystal ball needed for that prediction.
As the famous John Trusler once said, “There’s no time like the present”, and now is a good time to get ready for the next round of Florida’s hurricane season.
It looks like the approaching hurricane and storm season is off to a very active start. This year’s beginning of Florida’s hurricane season started with several tropical storms all heading up the west coast of our start. Recently we have had several named storms approach South Florida and head into the Gulf Coast. Currently we are tracking tropical storm Fred. Since we don’t own a crystal ball, or at least a working crystal ball, we can tell exactly where this storm is going to hit. What I can tell you, is that last night was a wet one. Here in the Boynton Beach area it poured all night, this morning there were soaked lawns and a huge amount of flooded streets.
ABOVE: Looking at the tracking map you can see how Tropical Storm Fred is arcing along the west coast of Florida towards Tampa, Fort Meyers, and into the Gulf Coast. Keep in mind that it is only early August, as the months progress the oceans of the Atlantic and the Golf of Mexico will continue to get warmer spinning off more tropical storms and hurricanes.
During the Covid pandemic there are unique risks that Floridians should keep in mind.
Currently most of the South Florida hospitals are operating at above full capacity. This means that if you sustain and injury and need treatment in a hospital. You could be in for a long wait. While tropical storm Fred has not evolved into a hurricane, there is a good chance that more storms and potential hurricanes will follow. Most the the hurricane related injuries that occur are the result of homeowners preparing for an approaching storm. The act of installing hurricane shutters could cause a wide range of injuries. Those metal hurricane shutters have very sharp edges and can seriously cut someone while being installed. Since the shutters are flat and wide, one good gust of wind will turn a metal shutter into a flying knife.
Have you seen those television commercials for those screens that keep leaves from resting inside you homes gutters? You know, the ones that say, climbing a ladder is too dangerous. They happen to be right. However, climbing a ladder to install hurricane shutters, is even more dangerous. With the hospitals filled to capacity because of the pandemic, you don’t want to need medial attention.
In addition the over run hospitals and medical centers, the fact that social distancing is required, means that there are fewer spaces available in shelters. If you home is kept safe and secure from a hurricane, then you shouldn’t need a shelter. One of the biggest reasons why South Florida residents are forced out of their homes is roof damage. NOW is the time to check your roof for broken tiles, cracks or potential leaks. During a hurricane, having a roof to keep you and your family dry could keep you out of a public shelter.
Often you may hear homeowners say something to the effect of, “No need to be concerned, it’s not a hurricane, only a tropical storm”. While this statement may be true, South Florida homeowners should still take action to secure their homes when it’s simply a tropical storm and not a hurricane. While a hurricane will produce high winds over a large area, a tropical storm could produce high winds in a much smaller area, known as a rope tornado one could cause as much or even more damage to a single home than a hurricane.
ABOVE: Sometimes small tornados or a rope tornados cause home damage in to only a few homes. In the news you will often read about single homes that have been damaged in communities with many homes. Because these tornados are tiny they will not destroy entire blocks but only a single or a couple homes. Spun from tropical storms residents never think that a tornado would hit, their home. With this in mind, homeowners should prepare their homes at the beginning of Florida’s Hurricane, because anything can happen.
In addition to tornados, a tropical storm could cause a micro burst. A micro burst could cause the same wind speed as a hurricane, just for a shorter time. What does this translate to? When hurricane season starts, no one know if we will get hit by a huge category 5 hurricane, a small tropical storm or nothing at all. However, being prepared is the best way to keep your home safe, save money in the long run, and look out for the well being of yourself and your family.
It’s not just bad weather that will cause home damage, the moist environment will also cause plenty of home damage.
As we move closer to warmer weather and Florida’s hurricane season, moisture, water damage & mold start to become more of a problem for homeowners.
Working as a water damage restoration company in South Florida many of our home inspections determine that water damage has occurred as a result of South Florida’s additional moisture brought on by the warmer weather. As Florida’s hurricane season approaches, it’s up to home and business owners to take the necessary steps to protect their homes from the humid conditions.
You probably don’t know this, In addition to being for Get Dry, Inc’s SEO person, I’m also an established photographer. You can check out my website here. Before I moved to South Florida I lived in Los Angeles, and before living in Los Angeles, I lived in New York. While living in both LA and NY, the climate never affected my ability to grab a camera and start taking pictures. I’m not saying the weather didn’t affect my images at all, because it did. If I had a photo shoot and it was raining out, that effected my photo session. If it was foggy, that determined the look of my pictures. However, when I moved to South Florida, I learned that the climate could determine when and where I could take pictures.
In the fall, winter and spring, Florida’s temperature and gentle breeze makes South Florida a paradise. However, as the Florida’s hurricane season approaches, it becomes hot and humid.
Before, I moved to West Palm Beach, I spent some time vacationing here in South Florida. Every vacation I enjoyed here in South Florida was during the winter months. While it was freezing in New York, the temperature in South Florida was pleasant and not too hot with a slight breeze. Actually it a delightful time to be here.
I relocated to West Palm Beach during the summer months. Sure, it was hot and humid. By the way, this was my first experience with hurricanes. Hurricane Wilma was my first hurricane experience.
One of the very first weddings I photographed in South Florida took place at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami. Everything was going perfectly. During the reception, I took a quick walk outside to see if there were any creative photo opportunities. I found a great location with nice outdoor lighting. I brought the bride and groom out for what I thought would be a few quick photos. Once I had them in position, I picked up my camera, looked through the viewfinder and saw, NOTHING, just a blank view out of focus grey. In that second, I thought, maybe the lens broke? Then I looked at the front of the lens and saw that the lens had completely fogged over. Actually, the what was on the lens was much more than fog. It was actually water droplets that formed both inside and on the surface of the lens. It took about 30 minutes for the moisture to equalize before I was able to take any pictures. Now I know, as a photographer in South Florida, you can’t go from an inside air-conditioned room to the humid South Florida outdoor environment with out considering the fact that moisture will form on your lens. Actually for Florida photographers, this is a big issue.
Read about this photographer who’s camera broke due to Florida’s humid environment.
Here’s another, Shooting in Florida’s humid conditions.
This exact same situation occurs in your home or business whenever the power goes out during a summer storm or hurricane. When hurricane Wilma hit South Florida, our home went from cool & comfortable to a hot wet mess. After only a few hours everything was damp. Since we were new to South Florida we were completely unprepared for the hurricane and the aftermath that the hurricane left behind.
A damaged roof and flying roof tiles are one of the main reasons why a homeowner may need water damage restoration in West Palm Beach or any other close by county.
As the hurricane home pummeled our Palm Beach County, I looked out the peephole of our front door; I could see the heavy rain and the trees blowing. Then I started to see roof tiles fly and land on the walkway by our front door.
Once the hurricane ended and I got to inspect the damage, I found that most of the roof tiles didn’t come from our house but from our next-door neighbor’s roof.
While we lost a few tiles, our roof didn’t suffer any major damage. In addition to the roof damage that many homes suffered, lots of cars that were left outside had sustained damage. Some had broken windows and other had been dented.
After a hurricane or wind storm, flying debris is one of the main causes of home water and mold damage.
Once a hurricane or major storm hits our area, the distress calls we receive continue to last many days. The homeowners that suffer major roof damage know almost immediately because the large holes in their roof allow for lots of water intrusion. The homes that have sustained smaller roof cracks or holes may seem ok for a while. That is until a slow trickle of water seeps into the homes attic. In some of these cases the rainwater soaks into the attic’s insulation and remains in the attic for days. In the first 24 to 48 hours mold starts to grow. Once this happens the homeowner has a much larger problem to deal with. Many home occupants have no clue that mold is growing in their walls & above their heads. Often occupants in mold infected homes become sick. Read our article: Is you home making you sick? When you consider the fact that the home is already damp due to a power outage the homeowner is in for a bad situation. Our advice is to have your roof thoroughly checked for damage after a storm or hurricane.
How to prepare for the next South Florida hurricane season.
After living in South Florida for a few years I have learned how to prepare for Florida’s hurricane season. Having lived through a few direct hits, and plenty of near misses I have learned something about South Florida storms and hurricanes. Below is a hurricane preparedness checklist that you may find useful.
- Test your back-up home power system. If you home has a home back-up generator, have it checked to make sure it’s working properly. If you have a gas-powered generator, fire it up and make sure it works. If you don’t own one, now is a great time to purchase on. In addition the generator, make sure you have several high quality extension cords. Because it’s hazardous to run a gas generator indoors you will need long extension cords to get power to your home from the gas generator operating outdoors.
- Owning a dehumidifier along with several fans is also a great idea. I can tell you from experience, in the hot summer hurricane season, if your power goes out, your home will become damp, moist, and dark if your hurricane shutters are still up. When this happens mold can start to grow in as little as 24 hours. The key is to keep moisture out of your home.
- Make sure you have plenty of bottled water on hand. In a rain storm residents may be advised not to drink tap water. In addition to bottled water, stock up on non-perishable food, a good flashlight along with additional batteries.
- One very handy item to own is a hand crank radio that receives IS FM and Emergency weather and safety reports. Today, you can also find crank radios with built-in flashlights that will also charge your cell phone.
- Finally every home should plenty of first aid supplies. A good first aid kit should include at least, Band-Aids in several sizes, gauze pads, antibiotic ointment, elastic wraps, scissors & tweezers, duct tape.
- This is also a good time to review your insurance policies. This includes homeowners, and flood insurance.
- Check your roof for any damage, or loose roof tiles that may fly off and created further damage. In a hurricane force wind, if one tile flies off, the wind can get under the other tiles and lift them off as well,
- Make sure you are prepared to install your hurricane shutters. If you have hurricane glass, then have the window seams checked. If you will need to install window shutters, check to make sure you have all the fittings. It’s been my experience that, during the hurricane shutter installation process, screws get bent & parts get lost. Having these on hand well before the hardware stores get mobbed and run out of supplies is a great idea.
While we don’t have a crystal ball to tell us when, or if a hurricane will impact your home, one thing is certain. Preparing for a direct hit is the smartest thing a homeowner can do. The reality is sometimes a hurricane may track a path right to Florida, then track away in the last hours. In the case of Dorian & Mathew the center moved within a few miles of the Florida coastline. However, hurricane Wilma was a direct hit! Actually the eye passed directly over my home.
We hope you will find this article helpful. At Get Dry, Inc. out goal is to help home and business owners recover from any type of water disaster. Water damage can occur as a result of a hurricane, storm, flood or even a broken plumbing pipe. If you suspect your property has suffered from a water related problem, or if you smell something strange in your home, call us to inspect. We offer a free inspection and are happy to visit your home or business. We are based in Boynton Beach, and cover all of Broward County, Palm Beach County, and Martin County. We can be easily reached at (561) 737-5561