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Protect Your Home Against Six Natural Disasters

Mother Nature can be unpredictable, and she dishes out a variety of weather throughout the year. 

Many of these occurrences spawn natural disasters – including floods, hurricanes, and droughts – that wreak havoc on your sanity, your wallet, and your home. 

With the help of resources like the American Red Cross and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in no particular order, we compiled a list of six of the most common natural disasters across the country: 

natural disaster examples
  • Flooding 
  • Drought 
  • Hurricanes 
  • Tornadoes 
  • Winter Events (Blizzards, Ice Storms) 
  • Earthquakes 

We’ll take a closer look at each one, where and when they are most common, and what you can do to repair and protect your home

1. Flooding

What It Is

A flood happens when there is too much water for the soil to absorb. This is brought on by seasonal heavy rains, rising bodies of water, and hurricanes. 

Where It Happens

Flooding can happen anywhere in the country, but most states that experience this disaster are along the East Coast, Midwest, and Mountain regions. 

When It’s Common

A flood also can occur any time of year. However, it is most common during heavy spring and summer rains, with springtime snowmelt, and during Hurricane Season. 

How It Impacts Your Home

A flood can cause costly damage to possessions in your home and severely damage the structure of your house. Waterlogged soil can shift, causing damage to your foundation, bowing basement walls, and compromised structural supports. 

Leaking floodwater also can be contaminated with toxins like sewage, and mold can quickly grow on any wet items.

Protection & Repair Strategy

Cleaning up after a flood is crucial, otherwise mold and mildew will quickly take hold and impact your family’s health. 

The best way to protect your home from future flooding is with professionally installed basement waterproofing solutions, which you can see here, including interior drains, a sump pump, a wall vapor barrier, and a dehumidifier. 

Crawl spaces can be protected the same way with similar customized waterproofing and encapsulation products. 

If your walls suffered from the effects of flooding water, expanding soil, and hydrostatic pressure, shore them up with repairs such as wall anchors and specialized beams. 

2. Drought

What It Is

A drought is the absence of moisture for a prolonged period. It can last a matter of weeks to several years. 

Where It Happens

Like floods, droughts can happen anywhere. Most droughts, however, occur on the West Coast. Many states in the mountains, Midwest, and southern parts of the country experience the worst of it, as well.  

When It’s Common

A drought usually happens during warm and dry months, typically summertime. 

How It Impacts Your Home

Dried out, shrinking soil creates voids your foundation can settle into. This leads to noticeable symptoms like wall cracks and sticking windows and doors. 

When rain does come, the dry soil can’t handle it, and it will flood and lead to additional issues like water intrusion and bowing walls. 

Protection & Repair Strategy

During dry spells, many areas, like in Texas, recommend watering your foundation to keep the soil moist and used to water. Water conservation may be suggested in other affected areas. 

Foundation piers will keep your home permanently stabilized and potentially help lift settling foundations. Wall repair and reinforcement systems – from wall anchors to carbon fiber supports – can help counteract hydrostatic pressure and keep your foundation walls in one place. 

To prepare for the onslaught of water when it does arrive, make sure your home is equipped with quality water management systems like interior drains, sump pumps, gutters, and downspouts. 

It’s often best to pair foundation repair and water management systems, which you can see being installed here. 

3. Hurricanes

What They Are

Hurricanes, also known as tropical cyclones, form over tropical waters and rotate around low-pressure areas. This causes very heavy rainfall and strong winds. To be considered a hurricane, wind speed must be more than 74 mph. 

For a hurricane to form, there must be a pre-existing weather condition like a tropical wave, warm water, low wind shear, and thunderstorm activity. 

Where They Happen

East Coast and Gulf Coast states are particularly at risk for hurricane activity, especially Florida, which touches both of these coasts.

When They Are Common

Hurricane season is from June 1 to Nov. 30. 

How They Impact Your Home

High winds can damage gutters and downspouts, which impact the rest of your water management systems. They also can uproot trees and make other items airborne that can hit your house and damage it. 

Flooding also results from pounding rain and surging waves. 

Protection & Repair Strategy

Along with immediate actions like boarding up windows and laying out sandbags, you can take precautions ahead of time to make sure your home will weather the storm. 

Most coastal areas lack basements partly because of hurricane threats, but you can waterproof and encapsulate your crawl space. Sturdy exterior drainage systems like gutters and downspouts also are a must. 

4. Tornadoes

What They Are

Tornadoes are narrow, rotating columns of air that touch the ground and typically accompany thunderstorms. Tornadic winds can reach 300 mph, and even though they only average 15 minutes on the ground, the damage they leave in their wake can be devastating. 

Where They Happen

Most tornadoes affect what is known as Tornado Alley, which encompasses portions of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Other areas including the Midwest and Gulf states also experience tornadic activity. 

When They Are Common

Tornadoes can hit throughout the year, but they are most common during the spring and summer. 

How They Impact Your Home

Tornadoes can uproot trees and severely damage or level buildings. 

If the wind didn’t shake your foundation a bit and lead to movement, it could tear the house apart and even relocate it. 

Hail also can dent and damage gutters, downspouts, your roof, and siding.

Protection & Repair Strategy

Homes with basements have an advantage, as these are typically the safest places to seek shelter during the threat of a tornado. 

It’s important to keep your basement structurally sound with wall reinforcement, as well as waterproof with internal drains and sump pumps. 

5. Winter Events (Blizzards, Ice Storms)

What They Are

A blizzard is a severe snowstorm with blowing and drifting snow, winds exceeding 35 mph, reduced visibility, and frigid temperatures. 

Ice storms involve rain and freezing temperatures, and sometimes accompany periods of snow or blizzards. 

Where They Happen

While New England and Mid-Atlantic states can experience blizzards and ice storms, they are more common along the Great Plains and upper Midwest. 

When They Are Common

Blizzards and ice storms are strictly winter events during cold months. 

How They Impact Your Home

When snow and ice accumulate, they weigh down roofs, gutters, and downspouts. This can lead to collapse and other damage, including water leaking into your home. 

During springtime snowmelt, the soil often cannot handle that much water and runoff, similar to the end of a drought. Flooding will then ensue. 

Protection & Repair Strategy

Effective water management is key to keeping your home protected from excess water. This includes cleaning or repairing gutters and downspouts, as well as adding basement or crawl space waterproofing. 

Additionally, when shoveling, keep snow and ice away from your foundation as much as possible. 

Roof rakes and warming methods for your gutters and downspouts can also prevent excess weight on the roof and ice dams. 

6. Earthquakes

What They Are

Earthquakes happen when two portions of the earth abruptly slide past one another, resulting in shaking ground. 

Where They Happen

An earthquake can happen virtually anywhere, but are more common along the West Coast. The Mississippi Valley also experiences these events. 

When They Are Common

Earthquakes can happen any time during the year. 

How They Impact Your Home

When the earth moves, this impacts the soil beneath your home. If it is not stable, it can result in foundation settlement and symptoms like cracks and unevenness. 

If the movement is significant, your entire home could suffer from destabilization or collapse. 

Protection & Repair Strategy

If you notice problems like wall cracks, uneven concrete, and foundation settlement following an earthquake, it’s best to seek professional assistance to ensure your home will be safe. 

Pier systems, like what is being installed here, can be used to stabilize your home and prevent further settlement. Wall repairs can also reinforce cracking, bowing walls. 

Local Pros Can Help Your Home Weather the Storm

The weather can turn on a dime and our homes might not be as watertight or weatherproof as we’d hoped. 

It’s important to consider your home insurance policy and check with your carrier to see if damage is covered

Whether it’s leaking water or foundation cracks, the ensuing damage needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will worsen and threaten your home and family’s safety. 

Your local Groundworks company has the experience and tools to diagnose problems in your home and permanently repair them. Following a free inspection, our experts will recommend basement waterproofing, foundation repair, crawl space encapsulation, or concrete lifting solutions to meet your home’s unique needs. 

Get started with your home’s permanent repair and protection today by calling us or filling out our online form to book your free inspection and estimate. Together, we’ll strengthen your home so it can weather any storm. 

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