This coming weekend marks the first day of spring for 2021. Although the mornings and evenings are still chilly, the days are getting warmer, which means some nasty storms will be stirring up soon. Falling in “Tornado Alley,” North Texas often experiences nature’s wrath throughout the spring and summer months with tornadoes, hail, flash floods, and damaging winds.
Although there is no way to control the weather, there are some precautionary steps you can take to prepare your home to endure Mother Nature’s fury. It’s important to get these things done ahead of time, instead of dealing with the damage that is left after a bad storm!
1. Identify any existing roof or siding problems. The roof is one of the hardest-hit areas of your home during a volatile storm. It’s a good idea to inspect your roof for missing shingles and possible leaks, and of course, make any necessary repairs. Loose siding should also be replaced, as it can rip off easily in heavy winds. Even if the wind doesn’t completely blow off damaged sections, leaving these issues unaddressed throughout the warm, wet season is a risk that could result in much bigger problems like mold or water damage.
2. Clean the gutters. North Texas experienced a record-breaking freeze a few weeks ago, resulting in below-zero temperatures. The snow may have been fun for a few days, but the single-digit temps took a toll on plants and trees. As they recover and push out new leaves, the old, dead ones have fallen and have completely covered yards, walkways, and gutters. Leaving your gutters over-flowing with leaves and debris can be very dangerous for your home come storm season. Removing leaves that have collected in your gutters, drains, and downspouts will allow heavy rains to flow freely off the roof and away from your home. Be sure that downspouts are secured, and that water is draining properly away from your house and not toward your foundation. We often get calls this time of year about water pooling during heavy storms, creating flooding and drainage issues. Be sure to give us a call early on if you notice these issues on your property!
3. Secure your belongings. Secure patio furniture and other yard items or put them in storage during storms so they don’t become dangerous projectiles. You’d be surprised at how easily strong winds can pick up and toss around bulky items!
4. Make a plan for pets. This should hopefully be a no-brainer, but if you have outdoor pets, make preparations to bring them inside during bad weather! It’s helpful to have a kennel set up or a designated room for pets planned ahead of time. Just as you wouldn’t want to be outside during a storm, your pets don’t either! If your pets are nervous during storms, it’s a good idea to call the vet or your local pet supply store and get some calming treats or medication that can help your pet relax. You’ll be happy you did this ahead of time when your pet begins to get anxious as the storms roll in.
5. Trim greenery. Trimming greenery can be a physically taxing project, but doing so will help protect your home. Prune gangly limbs, shrubbery, and branches so they don’t snap off in a windstorm and land on your home or on a power line. Gusty winds can break off large tree branches resulting in damage to your roof, windows, siding, garage door, or your car. Keeping your landscaping maintained could prevent a lot of damage and repair expenses.
6. Take cover. In extremely severe weather, take advantage of storm doors and shutters if your home has them. If your home doesn’t already have them, it might be worth it to get them installed. Keeping blinds and shades pulled and tacking window coverings around the edges can help protect you from broken glass or flying debris if tornadoes or straight-line winds are a concern. This might not be 100% necessary, but if the weatherman warns of heavy winds, it’s better to be safe than sorry! It’s always best to stay away from windows and doors during a storm, so plan on securing your windows and then keeping your family and pets in an interior room with no windows throughout the duration of the storm.
7. Prepare an emergency kit. Keep a kit stocked with a flashlight, batteries, a storm radio, first aid supplies, bottled water, nonperishable foods, and any prescriptions or specialty medications. It’s also a good idea to store an extra pair of glasses, shoes, blankets or sleeping bags, and important documentation in a safe, accessible place. Again, this might seem like an extreme measure, but you’ll be happy you did it ahead of time in the case that you lose power, experience flash flooding, or worse.
8. Consider having a storm shelter installed. One of the best investments you can make to protect your family during bad weather is to have a storm shelter installed. Even if your home has a central room with no windows, strong winds can easily knock down walls. An underground shelter provides the most safety in such a dangerous situation, and, living in Texas, you can’t be overprepared during tornado season!
Here is an underground tornado shelter we installed in a client’s garage floor a few years ago:
If you need assistance preparing your home for spring and summer storms, whether it’s installing storm doors, cleaning out your gutters, or repairing faulty siding, our handyman division would be happy to help! Contact Mike’s Guys today to get started and have some peace of mind when the next storm rolls through.