Preparing for Above-Average Storm Activity Amid a Post-Pandemic Lumber Shortage
After last year’s record-breaking hurricane season caused nearly $65 billion in damages, home and business owners nationwide are likely worried about the start of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. Last year, there were 30 total named storms, well over the average of 13, several of which resulted in major hurricanes that left massive destruction in their wakes.
While this season isn’t expected to be quite as threatening, NOAA is still predicting above average activity with around 13 to 20 named storms. With that kind of forecast it’s important that home and business owners take the time to prepare themselves. Planning ahead could be particularly critical this year as the country faces significant shortages on lumber and other building supplies essential for boarding up businesses and homes to prepare for a hurricane.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, lumber prices and demand have soared. From April 2020 to April 2021, prices rose by more than 250% reaching an all-time high within the industry. As pandemic related shutdowns slowed production, demand has risen due to record-low interest rates fueled a hot housing market, and homeowners beginning renovation projects as they waited out lockdowns. The rising demand and resulting nationwide lumber shortage have persisted for months and continue now at a less-than-ideal time as hurricane season is upon us.
A best practice before a hurricane is to board up windows and to protect buildings from wind-swept debris. With the ongoing lumber shortage, those at risk should not waste any time in securing the supplies they will need to protect their homes and businesses.
Beyond boarding up windows and other openings, home and business owners can take the following steps to safeguard their property.:
Do a Thorough Inspection: Take the time to inspect your property and remove any potentially dangerous debris. Bring outdoor furniture and decor inside. Examine all structures on your property to ensure they can withstand intense wind and rain. Look carefully at your roof to see that it is properly sealed and intact and make any necessary repairs ahead of time.
Prepare Your Home: Make way for water by cleaning out drains and gutters. Trim trees to remove any weak limbs or branches that could damage your property.
Consider Investing in Storm Shutters: Installing storm shutters can be a smart move. They not only prevent windows from shattering or breaking during a hurricane, but they can also reduce the risk of injury from flying objects.
Have an Evacuation Plan Ready: In the event of a major hurricane, it may be necessary to evacuate your area and find shelter elsewhere. Establish a plan in advance so your family members or employees know exactly where to go and what to do in case your property is threatened.
Review Insurance Policies and get Flood Insurance: Make certain all of your insurance policies are up to date and review them carefully so that you have a clear understanding of what is and isn’t covered. And since hurricanes are often accompanied by catastrophic flooding, it’s an important time to consider purchasing flood insurance Flooding can cause significant damage to any home or business. Securing a comprehensive, affordable policy can help you recover in the aftermath of a storm. Keep in mind, private flood insurers offer more comprehensive and often more affordable flood insurance policies than the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Floodprice.com is a great place to learn more about private flood insurance and secure a quote today.
If the tumultuous year that was 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the unexpected can happen. With limited resources available as we enter the 2021 hurricane season, its especially important for property owners to act early in protecting their property. Waiting until days before a predicted storm makes landfall to devise a plan or pick up supplies could prove to be disastrous. Getting ahead of hurricane risks is the smart approach and will be essential to protecting your home and business this year.