Meteorological experts are sounding alarms about a very active 2022 hurricane forecast, the seventh consecutive year of higher-than-normal activity. They anticipate between 14 and 21 named storms, three to six of which will morph into major hurricanes. The intensity is fueled by several climate factors: the La Niña weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean, elevated ocean temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weak Atlantic trade winds and active west African monsoon activity.
With weather violence bearing down, Paul Davis is speaking to homeowners in the paths of these destructive monsters. Jake Wilson, Director of Catastrophe and Field Service, who is all too familiar with the havoc these storms inflict, passed on guidance to help customers prepare.
PD: What steps should I take to make my property weather-worthy?
JW: First, assess your risk of hurricane impacts. If your property is toward the Atlantic coast, it may be impacted. You could be at risk of high winds, torrential rains and, on the coast itself, even storm surges. Your preparation steps will be much more involved than those inland. Next, look outside at your property and structures. Fasten those gutters now, get your roof inspected, fix drainage issues in your yard, harden your building envelope. Get all the physical work completed pronto, before the weather deteriorates.
Then look inside: relocate valuable possessions to safe areas. If you live on the eastern seaboard, 250 millimetres of rain in just a few hours – at an incredible rate of over 75 millimetres per hour – during Hurricane Ida last year. The electrical grid failed early on. Sump pumps don’t operate when the power is out.
PD: Do I need to think about insurance now?
JW: Yes, better to think about insurance calmly now than search frantically as a storm rages. Find your policy and review your coverage; as climate risks increase, it’s important to revise coverage as risk profiles change. Your agent will be happy to do this with you. Additionally, it’s good to have your policy at the ready if a hurricane strikes. Because hurricanes devastate massive areas, many people seek help at the same time. Those who are ready will be in the best position to receive help first.
PD: How do I get help during and after a hurricane?
WM: We answer our phone 24/7/365 and promise to respond to your call within four hours. Paul Davis is a large, experienced company with offices and teams in place to respond quickly and completely. We have the know-how, equipment, digital capabilities, communications networks and supply chains – and most important, the people – to help many customers during large scale disasters. We know the season will be busy and we are fully prepared. By extension, our customers are prepared, too.