Every year, millions of homes suffer from storm damage caused by various natural calamities around the globe. While storm incidents are often predicted by weather bureaus and announced early on in news forecasts, most homeowners are caught unaware by the severity of the damage brought about by such disasters. This leaves many homes unprepared and eventually damaged. People do not only suffer the loss of their personal belongings but at time experience the loss of their very homes.
One such kind of storm that produces great destruction in homes is a hailstorm. Hail is naturally caused by terrible thunderstorms. The water in the atmosphere precipitates and turns into small ice pellets or hard snow. This phenomenon is triggered by freezing nuclei which transforms water droplets into ice when the temperature drops to below zero degrees Celsius. As the process happens over and over again, more ice crystals are converted into hailstones. When this happens, hail in different sizes fall and a hailstorm takes place. It can be as small as a pea and as big as a softball. Hail causes great damage on the roofs of homes, cars, windows and even to the natural surroundings such as to gardens, farms and plantations.
Because of the magnitude of the hazard and the risk that can come from this calamity, it is very important that homeowners equip themselves with the following information on how to gear up for a hailstorm:
1. You must know when to tell if a hailstorm is coming. Look for the usual signs such as thunder and lightning, strong winds, dark clouds and heavy rainfall. Aside from staying in tune for the weather updates, homeowners can tell if a hailstorm is brewing by observing the nature of the current rainfall. When the shafts of rain are increasingly becoming whiter, this may be a sign that hail will soon fall to the ground. You will of course know that hail is already present when you hear a rattling sound as hailstones drop on the grounds and the roofs. When there is excessive and significantly big hail falling, such as when hailstones three inches in diameter fall to the ground, you may now consider this as a hailstorm.
2. Keep a hailstorm emergency kit at your home. This will be handy when a hailstorm occurs and you no longer have time to look for and buy supplies. A hailstorm kit should contain a flashlight for when the electricity goes out during the storm. You cannot attend to other problems if the lights are out so this is very important. You should also arm yourself with a battery-operated radio so you can stay in tune for the latest updates on the development of the hailstorm in your area. Make sure you have extra batteries in your kit in case the blackout extends for a longer period. Candles are also useful you should have them in abundance. They will help you and your family members move around. Buy waterproof matches so you will be able to make fire even when there is flooding after the hailstorm. It is also advisable to keep a list of emergency contact numbers so you will immediately know the numbers to call in case you need help or assistance.
3. It is very important for you to stay indoors when a hailstorm is fast approaching and especially if it is already taking place. Keep all your windows and doors closed to keep hail from entering your home. You should also put up thick curtains to avoid any incidents of hail breaking your window and causing injury to the residents in your home. If you happen to be walking outside when a hail starts to fall, you have to take cover at once. When the hailstones are large, there is a possibility of you getting injured when they strike. They can also cause you to slip if some of them have already fallen to the ground. Do not, however, go under a tree in an attempt to seek cover because trees attract lightning and are very much to prone to lightning strikes.
4. Make sure that your lawn and backyard are also prepared for hailstorms. It will be wise to keep your trees perfectly trimmed in order to avoid having branches fall on your house when a storm strikes. It is also good to always keep leaves and other objects away from drainpipes and gutters so that when there is heavy rainfall the water can drain easily and there will be less possibility of flooding.
5. Prepare your roofs and make them more sturdy and resistant to hailstorms. You may want to consider remodeling your roofs by replacing them with impact resistant roofing to minimize the damage that may be cause by hailstones on them. Call the professionals to get expert advice regarding this matter. The type of roofing you need depends on the frequency and severity of hailstorms in your area as well as on the type of home you have. While it may be very expensive to have this done, you will benefit from it in the long run as you will avoid the high costs that come with having to repair your roofs after a storm.
6. Even before a hailstorm strikes, you should be able to transfer your cars or boats in a covered area. This is also the reason why you need to stay updated with the weather reports so you will know if a hailstorm is approaching. To be safe, park your car in your garage once
There is already heavy rainfall, lightning and thunder as these increase the chances of a hailstorm occurring. If you are on the road as hail starts to fall, you have to pull over to the side because it is very dangerous to drive under those conditions. If possible, try to take cover under an overpass to temporarily shield your vehicle from the falling hailstones. This will also avoid any possible damage on your car roof.
7. To lessen the outdoor damage, you should also put your backyard and lawn furniture and other outdoor items into a covered area such as your garage. These items may suffer breaks and scratches from the hailstones and it will be costly to replace them. Wooden furniture may also rot from exposure to hail and rain so it is better to keep them in a protected area.
8. Do not forget about your pets or farm animals during a hailstorm. They can easily get injured or wounded during a hailstorm. Keep them indoors even before hail starts to fall to avoid any injury.
9. If you live in an area that is prone to hailstorms, you should arm yourself with adequate insurance coverage for such a calamity. Remember that structural damage in your home is very expensive to repair. You therefore have to be insured from such a risk if you are expecting hailstorms in your community. If you are already suffering from such damage, you can avail of the services of a home restoration company that also offers free insurance assessment services. This will lessen the list of concerns you have to deal with during the aftermath of a hailstorm.
10. It is very crucial that you know not only how to prepare for an upcoming hailstorm and how to deal with it when it is already occurring but also how to act during the aftermath of such storm. When the storm has ceased and it is already safe to go outside, you should check and assess the damage that it has caused to your roof, house structures and vehicles.
When inspecting your vehicle, it is important that you do so under proper lighting. The dents and scratches caused by hail are often not easily seen. They have to be observed from a proper angle. You have to bring your car to the nearest repair shop so that they can immediately make an estimate of the cost of repairing your vehicle. You can send the costs to your insurance company so that your policy will be processed. Once you have fulfilled the necessary paperwork, you will be able to have your car repaired right away.
If, however, you are in a hurry and you want to fix the problem yourself, you may consider getting those do-it-yourself hail damage repair kits that are now commercially available. While the costs for purchasing these are not usually reimbursed by the company, it will save you a great deal of time if you do the repair yourself. Of course, if the damage is too great, it will be wiser if you bring your car to the experts. Do not even attempt to do the fixing if you are unsure of what to do.
11. Another area that you have to inspect is your roof. Carefully secure a ladder on the wall of your house so you can take a close look at the extent of roof damage on your roof. Check if there are holes or if the paint on some parts has chipped off. You also have to check the gutters for any possible signs of grit and damage. The corners and shingles of your roof may also experience breakages which will need immediate attention.
Hailstorms are a big hazard to the community because they will cause the roads and sidewalks to become slippery and may damage the roofs of your homes and vehicles. It is thus very important to follow these basic steps to prepare your homes and your family when this type of calamity strikes.