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  • Writer's pictureDon Magruder

Pre-Season Hurricane Season Checklist

As early summer begins so does thoughts of hurricane season. Hot, sticky weather increases the probability of hurricanes and this year’s initial forecast is active and calls for a 75 per cent chance that Florida is hit by a hurricane. It’s very likely now that the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic will not be fully resolved and to complicate hurricane season there will still be masking and social distance requirements in all sheltering. A hurricane during a pandemic sounds frightening.

Before the heart of hurricane season, there is a checklist of items you should take care around your home. Once an area goes under a hurricane watch or warning, getting tasks completed around the house becomes very difficult as providers are very busy and you are scrambling just to gather base supplies. Now, while the weather in nice, prepare for your home for a hurricane.

First thing and probably the most important item is cutting trees, bushes and limbs away from your home and especially around the roof area. Most of the damage from hurricanes in Central Florida comes from dead limbs falling on homes or those limbs leaning on roofs. A limb close or setting on roof during a hurricane can be like industrial sandpaper that scrapes shingles and felt off your roof. Plus, flying limbs can easily pierce roofing and decking allowing water infiltration.

Next, inspect your gutters to ensure they are clean and functioning. If gutters are clogged, the water back up on your roof can cause real damage. Plus, a gutter connected to a failed French drain system can back up water in a home. Be sure to also look at the end of downspouts to ensure proper materials are in place to limit erosion.

Before hurricane season, inspect all caulking around windows and doors. One of the biggest problems during a hurricane in this area is the intrusion of water. Homeowners has a misconceived notion that caulk around windows and doors are one-time, set-it-and-forget it situation. Caulking will crack and peel, and homeowners yearly should re-caulk and check for leaks.

It is always a good plan to check your roof shingles especially around valleys and roof boots to ensure there are no leaks. In a hurricane wind, shingles that are poorly nailed, adhered, and aged will fail. Don’t go into hurricane season with a leaky roof, because you risk significant damage to your home. Plus, quick fix globs of tar or spay stuff typically do not work- find a professional roofer.

Before hurricane season check your doors and locks including garage doors. Before the winds start pushing on your doors make sure the locks are fully latching and the doors are plumb, square, and level to prevent water intrusion. It is imperative the springs on garage doors are adjusted properly to ensure doors can be lifted manually if power is lost, plus consider installing a batter-backup garage door opener for power outages.

If you have a generator and supply line hookup on your home, check it out before the winds start howling. Just before hurricane landfalls, it is virtually impossible to have a small engine mechanic tune up a generator or electrician check your main switch breaker. Have your generator to crank, plug and use in case of power outages.

Finally, check the supplies in your emergency home kit lit flashlights, batteries, water and first aid products. Be ready for an emergency in the event you are part of the 75 percent chance of landfalling hurricane in Florida. If you prepare properly you will be ready despite the hurricane forecast and this will allow you time to focus on your most important priority- protecting the well-being of your family.

Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.

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