: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/reviewed/2021/07/07/how-protect-your-home-car-and-more-hail-damage/7871763002/ “How to protect your home, car and more from hail damage – USA TODAY”
: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/thunderstorm.html “Thunderstorm Safety | American Red Cross”
: https://www.weather.gov/safety/thunderstorm-during “What to Do During Severe Weather – National Weather Service”
: https://www.weather.gov/safety/thunderstorm-prepare “Prepare! Don’t Let Severe Weather Take You by Surprise”
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How to Protect Your Home and Family from Severe Thunderstorms and Hail in Metro Atlanta
Severe weather can strike at any time, especially in Metro Atlanta, where thunderstorms, high winds, and hail are common threats. According to the National Weather Service, hailstorms cause about $1 billion in damage each year in the U.S., and can injure people and animals as well.
That’s why it’s important to be prepared and know what to do before, during, and after a severe thunderstorm or hailstorm. In this blog post, we’ll share some expert tips and resources on how to protect your home and family from these natural hazards.
Before a Severe Thunderstorm or Hailstorm
The best way to protect yourself and your property from severe weather is to plan ahead and stay informed. Here are some steps you can take before a storm hits:
- Sign up for emergency alerts. You can get free alerts from your local government or weather service on your phone or email. These alerts will warn you of any severe weather watches or warnings in your area, so you can take action accordingly.
- Monitor local weather and news. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and radar, and listen to local radio or TV stations for updates. If you hear a severe thunderstorm watch, that means conditions are favorable for a storm to develop. If you hear a severe thunderstorm warning, that means a storm is imminent or occurring.
- Identify a sturdy building. You need to get inside a sturdy building before a storm hits. A sturdy building is a structure with walls and a foundation, such as a house, apartment, or office. Avoid mobile homes, trailers, tents, or vehicles, as they are not safe in high winds or hail.
- Practice drills with your family. Make sure everyone in your household knows where to go and what to do in case of a severe thunderstorm or hailstorm. Plan to shelter in the basement or a small, interior, windowless room on the lowest level of the building. Stay away from windows, doors, skylights, and anything that can shatter or fly.
- Protect your home. Make a list of items outside your home that you will need to tie down or put away before a storm, such as patio furniture, grills, propane tanks, trash cans, or bicycles. Secure these items or bring them inside when you hear a severe thunderstorm watch. Trim or remove any trees or branches that are close enough to fall on your home. Keep your gutters and downspouts clean to prevent water damage.
- Review your insurance policy. Check to see if you are covered for hail damage or flood damage, which are common consequences of severe thunderstorms. If not, consider adding these coverages to your policy. Take photos or videos of your home and belongings before a storm as evidence for any claims.
During a Severe Thunderstorm or Hailstorm
Once a storm is approaching or happening, you need to act quickly and follow these safety tips:
- Seek shelter immediately. If you are indoors, stay there until the storm passes. If you are outdoors, get inside the nearest sturdy building as soon as possible. Do not try to outrun a storm by car or foot.
- Close and cover your windows. Close all windows and doors, and draw the curtains or blinds. This will help prevent flying glass or debris from injuring you or damaging your home.
- Avoid using electrical appliances. Unplug any unnecessary appliances or electronics, such as TVs, computers, or microwaves. Avoid using corded phones, as lightning can travel through phone lines. Use cell phones or battery-powered radios instead.
- Stay away from metal objects. Metal conducts electricity, so avoid touching anything metal during a storm, such as pipes, faucets, wires, or metal furniture.
- Do not touch downed power lines. If you see any power lines that have fallen due to high winds or lightning, stay away from them and report them to your utility company. Do not touch anything that is in contact with power lines, such as trees, fences, or puddles.
- Do not drive through flooded roads. Flash floods can occur during severe thunderstorms, especially in low-lying areas. Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads, as water can be deeper than it appears and sweep your car away. Turn around and find an alternate route.
After a Severe Thunderstorm or Hailstorm
Once the storm is over, you need to be careful and check for any damage or injuries:
- Wait for the all-clear signal. Do not go outside until you hear from local authorities that it is safe to do so. There may be hidden dangers such as downed power lines, fallen trees, broken glass, or leaking gas.
- Check on your family and neighbors. Make sure everyone in your household is okay and has no injuries. If anyone needs medical attention, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. Check on your neighbors as well, especially if they are elderly or disabled.
- Examine your home for damage. Look for any signs of damage to your roof, windows, walls, doors, plumbing, electrical system, or appliances. If you see any damage that poses a safety hazard, such as gas leaks or exposed wires, turn off the main valve or breaker and call a professional for repairs.
- Contact your insurance company. If you have any damage to your home or car due to hail or wind, contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with photos or videos of the damage as proof for your claim. Follow their instructions on how to file a claim and what steps to take next.
- Clean up safely. Wear gloves and protective clothing when cleaning up debris or water from your home. Dispose of any spoiled food or contaminated items. Disinfect any surfaces that may have been exposed to floodwater. Be careful when using generators or other equipment that may produce carbon monoxide.
Learn More About Severe Weather Safety
We hope this blog post has helped you learn how to protect your home and family from severe thunderstorms and hail in Metro Atlanta. For more information on severe weather safety tips and resources,
visit the American Red Cross website[^1^].
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