Tornadoes, Straight Line Winds, and Homeowner's Insurance Coverage
In June of 2009 a severe storm produced a series of tornadoes in Flower Mound, TX as it swept across Denton County. Fortunately, the damage confined itself to buildings, fences, trees, and homes and left people safe from harm. However, it is unsettling when violent weather strikes nearby.
If a tornado struck your community are you confident you have enough insurance to cover damage to your home, garage, personal contents and fences?
Straight line Winds Are Often Confused With Tornadoes
A straight line wind refers to wind that comes down out of a thunderstorm. Straight line winds mimic tornadoes in many ways: they can be as large as a tornado, from 20-65 miles wide and 100+ miles long; they produce a lot of rain; and winds can gust up to 150 m.p.h. One way to tell the difference between the two is by studying the direction that debris has scattered following a storm.
Straight line winds push debris in the same direction that the wind is blowing. Tornadoes, on the other hand, scatter debris in every direction because the funnel is rotating violently.
Are you protected from sustained high winds?
Downbursts and Derechos
These are two types of straight line winds. Downbursts occur when rapidly descending rain and rain-cooled air develop underneath a thunderstorm. Wind speeds can range from 100 – 150 m.p.h. on the forward side of the downburst.
Derechos are violent winds that are created by merging thunderstorm cells. They form a wind wall that can extend for many miles and can spawn tornadoes.
Protect Your Most Valuable Asset From Wind Damage
Regardless of whether a severe thunderstorm brings tornadoes or straight line winds, homeowners need to be prepared. Spring and summer are the seasons with the most dangerous tornado threats. Here are a few tips get you prepared:
- Prior to tornado season trim trees. A lot of property damage results from flying debris.
- Keep alert to weather changes in your area. Dark, greenish skies, a cloud wall or storms with large hail are clues that tornado conditions may be present.
- Know the difference between “watch” and “warning”. A tornado watch means that the conditions are right for a tornado to develop. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been spotted in your area.
- Keep a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio nearby. It will keep you updated on potentially destructive weather.
- When severe weather is approaching, secure outdoor furniture and equipment against strong winds.
- Be sure you are properly insured.
For more information, contact John Coyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-387-0600