Years after Hurricane Harvey, thoughts of the brutal storm weigh heavy on the residents of Houston. In some areas hit by the massive storm, residents are still trying to recover from the damage that it caused. At the same time, people along the Gulf Coast are preparing for the next big hurricane, even as they haven't fully recovered from the last one. They hope to avoid the level of destruction witnessed during Harvey.
2021 Is Predicted to Be Another Unprecedented Year of Strong Storms
Importantly, experts are predicting that hurricanes will continue setting records, just as Harvey did. In fact, the 2020 hurricane season was the most active one on record. During that year, the United States had so many storms that were large enough to name that it ran out of letters in the alphabet to use.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the 2021 hurricane season might rival the 2020's record-setting onslaught of storms. Officially, the Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30. Researchers are forecasting 17 named storms and 8 hurricanes. Notably, they predicted that 2020 would have 16 storms and 8 hurricanes. That year ended up having 30 named storms and 13 hurricanes. There were also 15 tropical storms and 2 subtropical storms.
While scientists do their best, it’s impossible to know how bad the hurricane season will be until it arrives. What is certain, however, is that more storms are coming. That’s why it’s important as ever to make sure you’re ready for the next big storm.
Advice from a Hurricane Insurance Lawyer
Arnold & Itkin Attorney Kyle Findley, who helped many victims recover in Harvey’s aftermath, was contacted by Houston’s abc13 News for advice on improving hurricane preparedness. Our firm’s hurricane insurance lawyers have helped clients throughout Texas and Louisiana recover from Hurricane Harvey and other storms that’ve caused significant damage to property.
Findley advised residents about keeping up-to-date documents for storm readiness. Having documentation of your possessions creates a record for insurance claims and FEMA reimbursements. Without proper documents, those who suffer hurricane losses will not obtain proper compensation.
"It is important to have documentation because there are many situations for people who do have insurance who submit their claim and do not receive their full compensation." – Attorney Kyle Findley
Other Steps to Take for Hurricane Preparation
Have a Safety Plan for the Next Hurricane
While government agencies usually provide an evacuation plan when a storm is approaching, it’s wise to have one of your own. Knowing the nearest shelters to your home and places that accept pets will ensure you find the best emergency shelter for your family.
Prepare Supplies for Post-Storm Conditions
Have vital supplies ready to go. Items that are essential for living and impossible to buy during a storm are crucial to stock up on. If you need medicine, it’s essential to have an extra supply of it to get you through a few weeks if pharmacies are shut down.
Other useful items include the following:
- Light sources such as flashlights, candles, and lamps
- Energy sources such as batteries and fuel
- At least three days of drinking water
- A fully-stocked first aid kit
- A complete set of basic tools
- An emergency NOAA radio
Some of the most critical types of supplies to stock up on are tools, plywood, and sheeting. When storms are approaching, stores run out of these items within hours. Having them ready to use helps ensure that you can fortify your home from the storm.
Protect Your Home from Hurricane Winds & Water
Your home will not stand up to the force of category 4 or 5 hurricanes on its own. Homeowners who take every step possible to protect their home before a storm are more likely to have one to return to.
One of the best preventative measures before a storm is to eliminate as many items that could damage your home from the outside as possible. First, if your home has gravel or rock landscaping, it’s time to change that! Alternative landscaping materials like shredded bark are less likely to cause damage to your home. Next, examine your trees and remove any that are close enough to your home to fall on it. However, trees further from structures are still a problem. Check these for large limbs and branches that could detach during a storm.
Next, be ready to protect your home from the storm’s strength. Installing storm shutters will make your home easier to protect quickly. However, it is also possible to protect windows from breaking using sheets of plywood. Along with your windows, seal any other vent or opening on the outside of your home. Completely cover electrical outlets, vents, water outlets, and any other opening in your home's interior.
Prepare for Loss
Though it sounds grim, preparing to lose everything helps ensure that you can get adequate compensation after the storm. Create an inventory of the items that you own. In addition to the list, record a video that shows the details of every part of your home. If at all possible, collect receipts for recent major purchases like furniture or appliances. Doing these things will support your insurance claim later.
Have the Right Hurricane Insurance Coverage
Verify your insurance policies and be certain that the coverage you pay for is adequate to cover potential damage. Though insurance companies are not always honest, they are the only way to recover financial losses after a storm. If you have problems with your insurance company not fulfilling claims, you should hire an attorney immediately. While you can’t make an insurer honor your policy instantly, you can rely on an experienced attorney to fight for what you deserve.
If you are still struggling to rebuild from the damage Hurricane Harvey or any other storm caused, call our hurricane insurance lawyers today at (888) 400-2101. Our firm has spent the last year helping residents and businesses harmed by the destruction Harvey left behind. As a Houston law firm, we feel driven to get results for the sake of our community and neighbors seeking recovery.