Be Ready for High Winds
Each year, on June 1, another hurricane season arrives. Have you thought about what’s over your head? You can take some simple steps to check off roof hurricane preparedness on your emergency readiness.
We’ve had some fairly ‘tame’ seasons, with few landfalling storms, in recent years, and that’s what we all hope for when that time of year approaches. But remember, it takes just one single tropical system aiming at you to be one too many!
In their approach to getting ready for storm season, some people completely forget about their roof hurricane preparedness.
There are some things you can do to make sure yours is in decent shape to better resist those damaging high winds.
There’s also one critical item that you might or might not need in the aftermath of a hurricane. But you can easily find it now and have it on hand. However, they tend to be difficult to find after a bad storm. Without it you risk more damage – not only to your roof, but also to the structure of your home, and possibly even its contents.
Intro photo: Blue tarps protect damaged roofs after a hurricane. Source: FEMA, public domain
Two Steps to Help You
With Roof Hurricane Preparedness
There are some things you can do now that may help to keep a roof over your head if a bad storm comes your way:
1 – Get an inspection and have any needed repairs done.
2 – Install hurricane straps, also called anchors or tie-downs.
If you haven’t had a professional roof inspection done in a number of years, it’s time. Be sure your inspector is approved by your insurance
company. This is important. Your agent should be able to give you a list of authorized companies.
They’ll find nail pops, loose shingles, and other minor weaknesses that could be exploited by a tropical weather system. Hopefully, they won’t find anything major. But, even if they do, you’ll want to know so you can have it taken care of.
Hurricane straps reduce the lifting effect of high winds and can help your roof to stay in place. Most coastal area homes built in recent years should have them, but older ones may need to be retrofitted with them.
While neither of these things will guarantee that you’ll end up being completely problem free, they can certainly help to keep damage a whole lot less than it might otherwise have been.
Our Roof Inspection
Getting our roof inspected qualified us for lower home owners insurance premiums.
We live in an older home. We have had a roof inspection and also a wind mitigation assessment done.
The outcome was fabulous! I was quite excited to hear that, not only is our roof is still good, but also that the hurricane tie-downs that were put in when the house was built were solid. They actually exceed state requirements. I can’t tell you how pleased we were with these results, which the inspector forwarded to our insurance company.
Because of the favorable report, we received a substantial reduction on the annual premium for our home owners insurance. In just one year, we’ll save about six times what it cost to have the inspection done. Now, that’s what I call a great return!
We live on the coast, so insurance here tends to be quite expensive. We pay more than twice as much as others with a comparable dwellings in non hurricane prone areas, so qualifying for discounts on insurance are a big deal around here. Of course, that actually means we have taken steps to be better prepared for hurricanes, which is the really important thing.
Image: my personal photo
Installing a Blue Roof Tarp
Get the Damaged Area Covered Immediately
Even if, like us, you passed your inspection with flying colors, and have good tie downs, a hurricane, or even a tropical storm, could still bring you some very unpleasant overhead surprises.
If that should happen, you’ll need to act swiftly. Getting the area in question adequately protected is very important. If you don’t, that wind damage could be just the beginning of even more problems.
Think about it! Any foul weather that follows can make things much worse if the affected area is left exposed to the elements. A leaking roof can put your walls, and even the contents of your home at risk.
That’s where blue roof tarps come in.
As you can imagine, just after a severe weather event, they are suddenly in great demand. Lots of people suddenly need them! Home improvement stores can sell out of them in a flash.
Having protective coverings on hand before you actually need them is not only convenient, it may be the only way to be ready to get them installed right away.
Early Stages of Roof Damage – in Hurricane Irene
A shingle that is already loose, or that has a nail about to pop, is vulnerable to wind, as you can see in this short video. A loose shingle may not seem like much, but once they start going, your outer protective layer has been breached. And when that happens . . .
Roof vs. Hurricane Irene
You Can Plan Ahead
Or Wait for Help from FEMA
So, you’ve heard the government will come into a devastated area and put those temporary coverings on roofs for free, right? And you’re not gonna worry, cause they’ll take care of all that roof hurricane preparedness and protection for you. It’s all cool, right? Think again!
FEMA calls their program Operation Blue Roof, and I can give you both good and bad news about that.
Through this program, you can get a free tarp installed on your home. (Yep, that’s good)
BUT you must qualify, and if you do, you may wait weeks for that installation to happen. (Ut-oh)HOW DOES THE PROGRAM WORK?There are some things you should know if you intend to depend on this particular government program to help protect you and your home from additional loss.
- Your roof must still be structurally sound, with less than 50% damage.
- You must go to a designated Right-of-Entry Center in your area, fill out a form, and get on the list. Then, you wait.
- They will prioritize and go to hardest hit areas first. (You’re taking a chance that it doesn’t rain in the meantime)
- All the while, you must hope that they won’t run out of supplies before they get to you.
SOLUTION: Be ready with your own tarps ahead of time.
Hurricane Preparedness Supplies – Blue Roof Tarps and More
You’ll be better prepared for roof damage if you have several roofing tarps on hand before a storm rolls through your area.
In addition to roof hurricane preparedness, there are two other things I’d like to remind you of as you think about your family’s emergency preparations and planning. These are items that I firmly believe should be in every home located in hurricane country. They’re in ours, and should be in yours, too!
Be Ready for Hurricane Season!
Instructional Video – Tarping Your Roof
Here’s a video about How to Tarp a Roof. I recommend watching it NOW, rather than waiting until you think you might need it, since when that time comes, you might also be without power. In fact, that’s a distinct possibility.
How to Tarp a Roof
About Roof Hurricane Preparedness
Pages by other authors about getting your home and roof ready to withstand high winds, and also about those famous blue tarps
And About Hurricane Season in general:
A couple of pages by the same author, with general information about that special time of year when we all pay attention to what’s happening in the tropics:
Seasonal Hurricane Predictions and Names – Predictions for the 2016 hurricane season from some premier forecasters, and the names that will be used this year and how those names were selected.
What are Cape Verde Hurricanes? – The time when those special storms known as Cape Verde Hurricanes tend to form is almost like a season within a season. Then is that, and what are they?