In every location of the world, people need to know how to prepare for a rain storm. Rain storms come in a variety of types from simple wet precipitation to severe thunderstorms. The one commonality between each type – the rain itself – creates a flood danger. In this article, we consider how to prepare for the precipitation and the ancillary threats.
Make Sure Your House Is Waterproofed
Contact a local waterproofing contractor for help in how to prepare for a rain storm. A local waterproofing contractor is essential in keeping your home safe. These building professionals assess your home from basement to roof and devise a plan to waterproof every area. In homes with basements, this may involve adding a sump pump to ensure that if water makes it past the waterproof barriers, the home’s second line of defense removes it.
In the basement, add liners and concrete sealants or epoxy to add a layer of impermeability to this underground room. Have the basement contractor add flashing at the basement windows and where the deck meets the home. This reinforces the water barrier.
On the ground floor, treat the deck and interior wood surfaces with water sealant. Your waterproofing contractor will use different sealants for the exterior and interior since the formulas differ. It isn’t safe to apply deck sealant indoors.
In the upper levels of the home or the attic, the waterproofing expert checks the ceilings and roof, especially the roof decking. This contractor may tell you that your roof needs repairs, requiring a roofing contractor. If roof decking sags or already experienced water damage or other damage, this must be repaired before waterproofing the roof.
To waterproof a roof, the contractor adds insulation and caulking on the interior of the attic. On the roof’s exterior, the contractors add sealant that stops water from permeating the roofing materials. The sealant applied depends on the roof type, so an asphalt shingle roof uses a different sealant than metal roofs.
A Leaky Roof Will Damage House
Perhaps your waterproofing expert found no roof damage. After each severe storm, especially those with high winds, you should walk the perimeter of your home to check it for damage. Also, check the interior of each room for damage.
While this may seem incongruous in an article on how to prepare for a rain storm, what you do after each storm helps prepare the home for the next one. When you spot any signs of water seepage, leaks, or roofing tile damage, call a local roofing contractor for a roof inspection and damage estimate.
In some areas, local roofing repair services charge for an inspection, but in many areas, they offer free inspections. Because your roof incurred storm damage, file an insurance claim with your homeowner’s insurance provider. Damage from rain storms and wind receives coverage under every homeowner’s policy, whether HO-1, HO-2, HO-3, or HO-8.
After having the roofing contractor repair the roof, hire a general contractor to repair the interior, such as the drywall damaged by the leak. Have them check for mildew and mold when they remove the drywall. If either is developed, phone a mold abatement service to rectify the problem.
Get Your Screens Storm Proofed
A home’s windows provide important protection from storms of all kinds. When learning how to prepare for a rain storm, preparing the windows the correct way makes them ready permanently. Visit your local home improvement store to pick up screens made by a storm proof screen manufacturer. These differ from the screens made from do-it-yourself kits, which only keep out insects while allowing in fresh air.
Storm windows with storm proof screens installed on the exterior of the home. When you open the interior window installed in the sill and sash, you will then need to open the storm window, too, to fully access the exterior. You can leave the screen down, but raise the storm window portion to let in a breeze.
To add to the safety of the windows, install shutters on the exterior of the home. Hurricane shutters let the homeowner close the shutters over the window which protects the windows themselves and the home’s interior. Even windows with shatterproof glass can get torn apart in hurricane-strength winds, so shutters over storm windows provide extra protection.
Waterproof your Windows
The local glass company offers the services needed for the next step in how to prepare for a rain storm. If your home has older windows with cracked glass, contact a glazer to repair them. The glazer may make an honest appraisal that instead of replacing the glass, you should purchase new windows. If this occurs, consider double- or triple-pane, Low-E, energy-efficient windows that block drafts and help better insulate a home.
On the home’s interior, combine decorating the home with protecting it. Contact a local window treatment company for a consultation on waterproofing and creating improved home efficiency. Install layers of window treatments, starting with shades or blinds in the window frame. Over these, layer waterproof sheers to admit sunlight, then waterproof blackout curtains that insulate the home.
Perhaps you already own sheers and drapes that you adore. Use a waterproofing additive to make the fabric impervious to water. This method better protects your home if the glass does crack because the drapes and other window treatments will block water entry.
Drain Tile to Prevent Flooding
In the bathrooms and kitchen of the home, install flooring drains. This step in how to prepare for a rain storm ensures that you can drain tile clear of water without needing to use a pump. Whether the sink or bathtub overflows because of a kid playing or rain enters through an open window, the water won’t build up because it simply drains out of the floor via the channel designed for it.
Most restaurants feature this type of water drain, as do group showers, such as those at fitness centers or shower houses at public beaches or lakes. About four to six inches in diameter, these grate-covered drain holes provide an easy and quick way for water to dissipate. Installing drain tile in each of your home’s bathrooms and in the kitchen makes cleaning up liquid spills or floods easier.
Protect Your Car from the Winds
When learning how to prepare for a rain storm, besides preparing your house, also ready your car, RV, boat, etc. Start by contacting your insurer to review your automotive insurance plan. An insurance review costs nothing and can help you spot coverage needs. You cannot add coverage and retroactively apply it, so a review before the rainy season starts best serves each auto owner’s needs.
If you have not upgraded your coverage since you first purchased auto insurance, you probably still own the same minimum coverage that most people buy in high school. Although this minimum coverage meets the legal requirements for your state, it does not typically protect your vehicle. Although a handful of states require personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage, none of them require collision or comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage protects the auto owner from financial loss if their vehicle incurs damage from rain, wind, hail, or other storm damage.
Without comprehensive coverage, the vehicle owner must pay for their auto glass repair garage bill or other damage to the vehicle out of pocket. That means that they deplete their own savings or put it on their credit card to pay for repairs. Carrying full coverage auto insurance covers all possible damage plus your liability.
Although some HO-3 homeowners policies cover a smidgen of personal property, including your boat or RV, it typically includes less than $5,000 of such coverage. It also only covers a tiny bit of liability coverage related to both. To appropriately cover each type of transportation, you will need a boat policy and an RV policy. If you drive your RV, you likely have an RV policy already, if you drive legally, but review it with your insurance agent.
Both boat and RV insurance may only cover liability if that’s what you chose when you purchased the policy. An insurance review can spot missing comprehensive coverage that would provide protection against water damage and wind damage.
Be Prepared if Any Water Leaks In
Once you’ve made it this far in how to prepare for a rain storm, you probably think you have shored up your home pretty well. The truth is that a severe storm, such as a tropical storm or hurricane, can wreak such fierce wind damage that it exposes a home to water damage. Once you make it through all of the preparation items for a rainstorm, move on to making a plan for how you will handle it if water damage does occur.
Start this step of how to prepare for a rain storm by researching and interviewing local water damage restoration company service providers. Explain that you don’t currently have a damaged home, but you want to create a contingency plan for if damage occurs in the future. Explaining this upfront can halt high-pressure sales tactics and let the service provider know that they don’t need to apply their trickle email marketing to you.
Your contingency plan for water damage needs more than just who to call for repairs. When you learn how to prepare for a rain storm, create a plan that addresses different levels of rain. A spring shower requires much less preparation than a category four hurricane bearing down on the coast on which you reside. For tropical storms and hurricanes, plan how and when you will evacuate and where you will go.
Use a travel website to plan ahead where you will stay, unless you have family residing inland who would willingly let you stay with them. Sites like Priceline and Travelocity offer extensive information about hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts, so you can easily research potential options that fall within your budget. Use the seasonal data to obtain each hotel’s rack rate, the charge for a room without any discount or special rate applied.
For those who lack the funds for a hotel room, contact the Salvation Army for information on how many shelters it set up in the previous storm season and where they located them. Ask if they maintain agreements with those organizations or locations, so you can plan tacitly where you will go. Although exact locations may depend on landfall forecasts, you can rough out an evacuation plan using prior information.
Contact the local mayor’s office or, in large towns and cities, the local office of regional planning also referred to as the Department of Urban Planning or City Planning. This department in each municipality handles flood mapping in concert with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It works closely with the municipality’s emergency management department to plan responses to storms and other hazards. Ask for a map of evacuation routes in case of tropical storms or hurricanes, and what provisions the city makes for evacuating individuals without the means to leave on their own, such as those without a vehicle or disabled individuals who cannot drive and would have trouble accessing public transportation, planes, or trains. Most cities now plan ahead for assisted evacuations after the federal emergency caused when Hurricane Katrina struck Mississippi and Louisiana, especially the havoc and damage it caused to the Ninth Ward of New Orleans when the levees overtopped.
Start during the off-season of storms in your area, building your plan and saving for an emergency. Freeing up just $5 to $10 per week to put into savings can result in having the funds for a bus ticket out of town. Planning a group evacuation in which friends all commit to saving the same amount of funds can provide the money needed to rent a car and safely leave as soon as possible. This joint plan can also result in funds for a single hotel room to share.
Waterproofing Your Home to Prepare for Rain
The spring showers that make the flowers grow don’t typically result in serious damage to a home, but every area of the U.S. can undergo water damage. When snow melts, it affects a home just as rain would. Heavy rain can cause damage in any area, but especially those that rarely receive it, like Death Valley. In 2023, a lake formed in Death Valley after just one heavy rain because the area so infrequently receives heavy precipitation.
Prepare your home, auto, and self for rainstorms. Thunderstorms, tropical storms, hurricanes, and heavy rains all create danger for humans and the homes they construct. Properly preparing for the worst lets you enjoy the best outcome.