Hurricane season runs June 1 to Nov. 30, but tropical storms and hurricanes aren’t bound by the calendar. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) notes that named storms have formed in every month, even during winter.
Hurricanes and tropical storms also don’t just impact coastal areas. Elite Roofing & Restoration, a storm specialist, has repaired and replaced hundreds of storm-damaged roofs. These include waterfront homes and businesses as well as inland structures.
Hurricanes are an equal opportunity natural disaster. The same weather system that peels off shingles and sends flying debris into roofs can dump a foot of water on communities that only experience light breezes.
For those reasons, it’s important to be prepared for hurricane season from January through December. Below is a quarter-by-quarter checklist to prepare your roof – and your family or business – for hurricane season:
Hurricane Season: First Quarter (January, February and March)
Hurricanes and tropical storms are extremely rare in January, February and March. That’s exactly why the first quarter is a great time to prepare for hurricane season. Spend time on these two tasks while the tropics are relatively quiet:
- Insurance review: Insurance companies tweak policy terms annually. Many changes are minor, but others could have a significant financial impact. Rates also can change without warning. The spike in real estate prices means many homes and commercial properties are worth more. Thus, it might be time to consider increasing policy limits.
- Roofer review: The roofing industry is large. Most communities across America are home to multiple roofing companies. Unfortunately, not all roofing contractors are created equal. Google searches can reveal an overwhelming number of results. Check ratings through the Better Business Bureau, Google and Facebook. Additionally, check a roofer’s licensure through the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Hurricane Season: Second Quarter (April, May and June)
Summers aren’t just getting warmer. They’re also starting sooner. In fact, the National Weather Service now says southern Florida’s rainy season starts on May 15 each year. For Central, Northern and Western Florida, it’s now May 25. Hurricane season officially starts in the second quarter, making it an ideal period to complete these checklist items:
- Schedule a roof inspection: Certified inspectors are trained to evaluate a roof’s condition. Inspectors check to see if adhesives and nails are still in place, if shingles or tiles are in good condition and if there is any evidence of storm damage or decay. Manufacturers often require inspections to maintain warranties. Additionally, a preseason inspection provides vital documentation that a roof was in good condition and properly maintained prior to a storm.
- Purchase hurricane supplies: Prepare a hurricane kit that includes items like batteries, flashlights, generators and cordless drills. Coastal states often schedule tax-free weeks on hurricane supplies that encourage residents and businesses to prepare early. Consider buying several tarps that can serve as temporary fixes if a leak should occur during or after a storm.
Hurricane Season: Third Quarter (July, August and September)
Warm water in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean provides an ideal environment for hurricanes and tropical storms. Historically, September produces the most named storms in the Atlantic basin. Complete these two activities during the third quarter:
- Trim landscaping: High winds can easily snap limbs from overgrown trees and turn them into flying projectiles. Trim trees, especially limbs that are near a structure. It’s also important to clean gutters so a roof’s drainage system is not impeded by leaves, twigs and other debris.
- Download a weather app: Time is of the essence in hurricane preparations. Local TV stations, as well as national weather resources, offer downloadable apps that alert users whenever storms create a potential cause for concern. This advance warning is critical to buy water, food, fuel and supplies before lines form.
Hurricane Season: Fourth Quarter (October, November and December)
Summerlike storms are still common in October. By November, though, temperatures moderate and intense storms become less frequent. That’s a great time to accomplish two final tasks for the year:
- Schedule a roof inspection: A postseason roof inspection is important to document, and repair, any damage that occurred in the past six months. This is especially important for regions that had a direct hit or close call from a hurricane or tropical storm. Roofs withstand intense heat, damaging UV rays and heavy rains during a typical summer. Inspectors check to make sure a roof is still secure after a long summer.
- Schedule a roof cleaning: Mold and mildew can grow on nearly all types of roofs in every climate. In addition to dark stains, mold can destroy seals and expedite decay of roofing materials. Roof cleaning companies should never use pressure washers. Instead, reputable companies should use a soft-washing technique with biodegradable surface cleaners.