According to a recent article in the Orlando Sentinel, the El Niño pattern this winter could result in severe storms in Central and Southwest Florida. Indeed, as the article emphasizes, “Floridians should brace themselves for a wet and wild winter, all thanks to El Niño.” In case you do not know about El Niño and the ways in which these weather patterns can impact Florida, the primary fact to know is this: a strong El Niño can bring serious thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hailstorms to our typically sunny state. And according to the article, “this year’s is one of the strongest El Niños on record.” How can you protect your home from hailstorm damage?
Hail Storms, Tornadoes Likely as a Result of El Niño
Given that the El Niño is likely to produce “a conveyor belt for storms” in Florida, how can Florida homeowners get prepared for the risks of hail damage? To be sure, this is a serious concern, as the same thunderstorms that produce “tornadoes, violent winds, and excessive rain” also produce hail, according to the National Storm Damage Center. In other words, when tornadoes and other severe storms are likely, hail can be common, too.
As the article in the Orlando Sentinel emphasizes, “many of the deadly tornadoes in Florida [from El Niño weather patterns] have happened in the winter.” To be sure, meteorologists underscore that some of the most dangerous hailstorms and tornadoes in the Sunshine State occur from early December until late March.
Preventing Property Damage and Injuries from Hail Storms
If you do not believe that hail can cause serious property damage, we urge you to think again. As the National Storm Damage Center suggests that we imagine a golf ball- or a baseball-sized ball of ice “falling at up to 120 miles per hour from thousands of feet up in the air.” When large hail falls, it falls “with enough force to damage roofs, cars, break windows, and more.” And if a person were struck directly with a large piece of hail, it could easily cause serious or fatal injuries.
What can you do to prepare? The key is keeping yourself and your personal property out of the way of falling hail. While you cannot do a lot to prevent damage to the roof of your home, you can take steps to prevent injury to yourself and damage to your car. The National Storm Damage Center emphasizes some of the following tips:
● When storm advisory warnings take effect, take shelter indoors;
● Do not go outside in a hail storm; and
● Store your car in your garage during a hail storm.
If you are outside driving when a hail storm begins, a fact sheet from Progressive recommends the following to prevent personal injuries and automobile damage:
● Remain inside your vehicle at all times;
● Stop driving and pull over to prevent hail from breaking your windshield-the force of driving combined with the force of hail can make it easier for the hail to crack your windshield;
● Pull over under an overpass if possible;
● Avoid pulling into ditches, as hail storms can also result in high-rising waters;
● Angle your car so that the hail hits the front of it-your windshield is built to withstand impacts and “pelting objects,” while your side windows and rear glass are not;
● Keep your back to the windows inside your car; and
● If possible, lay underneath a blanket to prevent injury from hail debris.
Hail damage is a serious concern when severe storms strike Florida. If you have questions about filing a hail damage claim or seeking compensation for damage, you should discuss your case with a Central Florida storm damage lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Valrico Law Group today.