Contact: Hugh Strawn
Date: October 4, 2016
PLRB Catastrophe Services
Now is the time to begin preparation for the assault of Hurricane Matthew along the Southern U.S. coast line. The latest forecasts project the storm tracking along the Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina coasts. Landfall is not predicted at this time, but the eastern counties of these states are within the risk possibility cone issued by the National Hurricane Center. The potential for extensive property damage is very real. The following are some suggestions to help policyholders prepare their property for this very dangerous storm.
The storm might make landfall with wind velocities of up to 145 MPH, a category 4 hurricane. These winds will blow down most of the trees, uproot shrubbery, destroy mobile homes, and cause extensive damage to doors and windows of site-built structures..
Policyholders with residences in the area where these winds and tidal flooding are forecast should rush preparations to close up their buildings and evacuate to safe areas, as designated by the emergency management departments.
Closing up the buildings should include :
- Installing the hurricane shutters or boarding over all windows and doors.
- Removing all loose property from around the structure and placing inside to reduce the amount of airborne debris. This would include lawn furniture, grills, trashcans, lawn ornaments, and so on.
- Bracing privacy fencing posts with 2x4 nailed to top of post and to a 3' 2x4 anchor at the bottom of the post
- Cleaning debris from gutters. Clogged gutters back up heavy rain runoff and damage walls and windows.
- Extend the downspouts to 8' from exterior walls
- Protecting the contents inside the building by clustering furniture in the middle of the room, wrapping in plastic to protect it from water, and securing the plastic with strong tape such as shipping/mailing or duct tape.
- Unplugging appliances and computers.
- Turning off the utilities, such as the municipal water valve, electricity, and natural gas.
- Securing propane tanks by closing all valves and tethering to prevent the tank from floating away in high water.
Preparations for leaving the property to go into shelter should include :
- Removing all valuable documents such as: family prescriptions; family medical records; pets' veterinary records; financial records, such as insurance policies, banking information, credit records, and investment records; and home inventory lists and photos.
- An emergency supply of cash of at least $500. Utility disruptions often cause automatic cash machines to not function, check clearing systems to fail, and credit card transactions to not process.
- Several changes of clothing and basic toiletries for each family member
- Flash light, portable radio, and batteries
- Charged cell phone
- Bottled water and high-protein "snack" bars
- Full vehicle fuel tanks
- Extra fuel for the vehicle
- Road maps for reference in areas that may be unfamiliar to you
Policyholders are urged to follow the advice and counsel of emergency management departments' regarding whether to evacuate or remain. Often there is little time to react in a hurricane and delay can be disastrous.
Hurricane risks also include tornadoes and flooding
A hurricane is a dynamic storm system. It not only produces high wind and storm surge, but it will frequently create tornadoes, hail storms, and floods. Hurricane related tornadoes tend to develop quickly, strike fast and hard, and left quickly after doing their damage. Often times there is little warning, but usually the National Weather Service will have issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch or a Tornado Watch because conditions are right for storm development. Please monitor the weather forecasts during and "after" the hurricane.
Heavy rain is usually associated with hurricanes. Up to xx" of rain could fall quickly along the track of Hurricane Matthew. The rapid runoff can cause flash flooding, especially in the states of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. If emergency management orders an evacuation to higher ground, it is recommended you respond immediately. Flash flooding occurs fast, as the name implies. It is easy to become stranded. If driving, never drive into water when you do not know its depth or the current. It takes very little water to float a vehicle. If you can't see the road, stop.
The Property & Liability Resource Bureau is a not-for-profit association of property and casualty insurance companies. It is located in Downers Grove, Illinois.