Thunderstorms can cause severe damage due to high winds, flash flooding, and from lightning strikes. Strong thunderstorms may also spawn tornadoes, which can cause massive destruction to residential and business property. During any thunderstorm, it is important to keep an eye on the weather conditions. If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued in your area, you should take steps to protect your home, yourself and your family.
Mention wind and thunderstorm together in one sentence and most people think tornado. Surprisingly, each year far more damage is caused by thunderstorm’s straight line winds than by tornadoes. Straight line winds can reach 100 miles per hour with no rotation. On occasion some straight line winds have been known to sow destruction across more than 240 miles. The greatest personal danger associated with straight line winds is being struck by flying debris.
When you hear about lightning strikes you automatically think about people being hit. That happens on occasion, but more lightning strikes trees and buildings than people. When lightning strikes a home, its electricity can pass through the wiring of the home and affect any electrical appliances that are plugged into an outlet. Items like phones, computers, small kitchen appliances, TV’s, and sound systems can be ruined when this happens. A lightning bolt may also start home fires. If lightning connects with metal or copper water lines, it can burn right through them, allowing water to flood a home. It can start wildfires that can engulf entire communities. California brush fires are a good example of this. If lightning is seen in the area, seek shelter inside a building or a car. Don’t stay near trees or a lake or pond.
As the torrential downpours from thunderstorms saturate the landscape, flash flooding can occur. These floodwaters sometimes flow across areas that normally see little to no standing water ever. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that flash floods kill 146 people annually and do untold millions of dollars of damage to homes and businesses in the U.S. If you see flash flood waters moving near you, do not attempt to wade through them to safety. If as little as two feet of water can float a car away, what chance do you think you would have? Believe it or not, flash floods are the number one weather-related cause of death in the United States.
Because thunderstorms are driven with high speed, rapidly cycling winds, hail is one of their common byproducts. Hail can destroy crops and do vast amounts of damage to cars, homes, and other personal property. Hail can ruin roofs and siding and break window glass. The costs of repairing hail damage can reach $1 billion annually.
Talk about destruction; severe thunderstorms can spin off tornadoes, one of the deadliest weather events we know. Tornado wind speeds can reach upwards of 200 miles per hour and a tornado will literally cut a path through a community. Since they form with very little warning, many deaths are associated with tornadoes each year. If tornado sirens go off, don’t search the skies for the reason. There will be plenty to see AFTER the tornado has passed. Assume there is a tornado and seek shelter immediately. A basement is best place to take cover. If the building you are in has no basement, get to an interior room or a bathroom, preferably a room with no windows. Bathroom walls contain water lines that help to reinforce the walls, and many have drop ceilings. Climb into the tub and pull a mattress in on top of you to protect yourself from flying debris.
If you can hear thunder, you are in danger from lightning. The most dangerous place to be during a thunderstorm is outside:
As you can quite imagine, thunderstorms create damage in all sorts of different ways. Yes, watching lightning displays and hearing thunder roll across the sky is exciting. But these storms are fraught with danger and their destructive capabilities are truly awesome.
When it comes to your home, thunderstorms may cause more damage than you can discover on your own. If siding has been torn away, if roofs have been damaged by hail or high winds, or if windows have been broken, you may also have water damage to your home. It is important that any water damage be addressed quickly. The source of slow water leaks caused by thunderstorms can be hard to discover. If water damage is left unaddressed for only 24-48 hours, mold development can become a factor.
You may need the help of certified water damage professionals to address these water intrusions into your home. It’s not always the water you can see that is the problem, it’s the hidden water; water under floor coverings, inside wall cavities, and in attics. Experienced water damage professionals have the ability to track down hidden water through the use of moisture sensing meters. Once the water is found, its source of entry into your home can be pinpointed, the wet materials can be dried, and repairs can be addressed.
When you find water damage in your home, you need to find professionals you can trust to get the water removed and your home dried out. You can find 24/7 answers to any questions you may have and expert help by calling 877-960-0491. You will be connected to a local, experienced professional that can answer questions over the phone and make arrangements to come to your home, assess the damage, and begin to address your water problems right away. Their opinions, inspections and estimates are free of charge.
Written by Mark Huey.
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