Wind hazards can be a property owner’s worst nightmare. High wind events can happen anywhere and sometimes come with little warning. When it comes to wind, property owners in high-risk areas should keep a close eye on storm warnings because wind can cause trees and debris near your home or office building to fall onto structures if they’re strong enough to do so.
Wind is also one of the leading causes of power outages and damages as well due in part by heavy storms blowing down electrical lines which disrupts service from homes, businesses, and schools alike. It’s important that property owners know how these winds can affect their properties
Let’s Talk About a Few Wind Hazards!
Hurricanes are powerful storms that can have a devastating impact on property owners.
Hurricanes are storms with sustained winds over 74 MPH and are categorized 1-5 (with 5 being the rarest and worst), depending on the wind speed. Hurricanes will often cause roof damage to houses and buildings due to high winds and heavy rain from these powerful storms.
Hurricane effects vary depending on the location of landfall and your proximity to the coast. Hurricanes always include wind hazards as well as significant water hazards like flooding or erosion caused by storm surges. In some cases, trees may be toppled over and knocked onto homes. Electric power lines can become dislodged and fall to the ground, creating life-threatening risks from exposed lines.
The HazardHub API HazardHub provides scores and grades to determine the hurricane risk of any property in the USA.
What can I do to protect my property from a Hurricane?
- Brace windows with shutters or boards on the inside of the home. These temporary safety measures can be removed once hurricane winds have subsided.
- Install storm window film that is specifically designed for hurricanes; this will help prevent a window from shattering.
- Install hurricane clips on the roof of your home, which will help secure loose shingles and tiles to prevent them from flying away during high winds.
Straight-line Winds – winds in excess of 50 MPH – are one of the most common wind hazards. While the speed threshold for straight-line winds is lower than other damaging winds, the wind bursts can cause significant damage to your property.
A storm that is capable of producing consistent straight-line winds of 58 mph or more and covers an area of more than 240 miles is known as a derecho. The storm’s dynamic straight-line winds can knock down trees and power lines, possibly injuring people nearby, similar to the damage caused by tornadoes.
The HazardHub API can help property owners identify Straight-line Winds risk by accessing 27 years of historical data.
Hail – one of the biggest reasons for replacing a roof – usually occurs between the months of April and October in North America.
Hail forms when water droplets clump together from atmospheric instability caused by strong storm systems or cold air masses that form ice crystals within a cloud. Hail can cause property damage to both homes and cars with its destruction ranging from dents on windows and roofs to shattered glass (depending on how hard it falls).
The size of hail is determined by where they fall; generally speaking, larger hailstones are found higher up in thunderstorm clouds than smaller ones at lower levels. HazardHub uses 1″ hail in creating our hail risk scores and grades.
What are some precautions property owners can take if they are in a Hail zone?
- Park your car in a garage, if possible. Hail can completely wreck your car. If there’s a storm and you live in an area of elevated hail risk, getting the car under a roof can save you the pain of fixing and potentially replacing your car.
- If you live in an area that is prone to hailstorms, or hail is forecasted in your area, then anything on the exterior of your home and property left outdoors may be at risk for hail damage, such as vehicles, patio furniture, and landscaping.
- Maintaining the integrity of your roof is critical, as a good roof will help prevent additional damage (like water) from the insde of your property. Use impact resistant, Class 4 shingles on your roof, if possible.
Tornadoes are among the most feared wind risks in the country. They can form and strike suddenly and unpredictably, leaving people with little time to prepare.
Tornadoes are graded on the Fujita scale from 0 (65+ MPH) to 5 (over 200 MPH) and can cause massive devastation along their path. Tornadoes can occur in many different shapes and sizes. Tornado “cones” can range from a few feet to over one mile in width.
What precautions should a property owner take in the event of a potential tornado?
- Take cover indoors, as far from windows and glass doors or openings as possible.
- Stay away from the phone – cell phones may disrupt communications networks during a disaster.
- Take every warning seriously – the size and shape of the tornado don’t always tell you the damage they can inflict.
Lightning Ground Strikes Probability
Lightning is one of the most common, yet underestimated, weather events in the US. While lightning can be beautiful, when it hits the gound it can be deadly.
Lightning Ground Strikes cause almost $1 Billion in property claims every year, as well as killing an average of 49 people per year in the US.
What can I do to protect my property from Lightning Ground Strikes?
- Make sure all outdoor electrical outlets are properly grounded.
- Keep your roof lightning-resistant by having it installed with a grounding rod or ground wire so the flow of electricity is directed to the earth instead of into your house.
- Check with your local utility to see if they offer a whole-home surge suppressor.
- Make sure your electronics are connected to a surge suppressor.
How can HazardHub help?
HazardHub API can help with lightning ground strikes by providing grades and scores of an individual property’s risk of being hit by lightning.
Wind pools are areas of increased wind-related risk. These high-risk zones may be subjected to higher insurance rates, and/or specialized insurance costs.
Wind pools are determined by individual states. Properties in a wind pool are often subjected to additional insurance costs, to accurately reflect the risk.
What can I do to protect my property from Wind Pools?
- If possible, get the best, most wind-resistant roof possible.
- Install window shutters to guard against debris that may be flying around in a wind event
How can HazardHub help?
HazardHub’s API can instantly determine if a property is located inside of a designated wind pool.
NOAA Special Winds Regions
A Special Winds Region is an area that has the potential to be hazardous due to wind. A region can be classified as a Special Winds Region if it meets two or more of the following criteria:
- The average daily sustained surface wind speeds are at least 50 knots (54 mph) for 20 days per year; and
- There have been winds with gusts over 115 miles per hour recorded within any 24 hours period, which caused damages exceeding $25 million in property loss during that time.
Each day’s forecasted conditions could result in changes on what regions would qualify as a special winds hazard so you will need to check back often. For instance, Hurricane Irma had some strong winds up high but other parts of the hurricane had lower speeds.
HazardHub’s API provides access to NOAA and other data sources which can be used in a variety of applications, including updating Hazards or checking if an area qualifies as a Special Winds Region. HazardHub has mapped out many different areas throughout the United States that could have wind hazards such as tornados, hurricanes, extreme winds and floods so you’ll know where your property might be at risk.
More on Special Winds Regions:
The National Weather Service defines special winds regions for atmospheric hazards based on sustained surface wind speeds exceeding 50 knots (54 mph) for 20 days per year with some qualification requirements for damage amounts during any 24 hour period. These types of hazardous weather include hurricanes, tornados and extreme winds.
Florida Wind-Borne Debris Zones
Each year in Florida, an average of more than 240 wind-borne debris incidents result in damage to property, injury or death.
HazardHub’s Florida Wind Borne Debris zones estimate the maximum wind speed for any location in the state. The zones determine what wind speed your property needs to withstand.
The HazardHub API can tell you the Zone for any property location, as well as the year the property was built. These two pieces of information can combine to determine the property wind zone.