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Prepare now to protect family, investments against storm disasters

With haunting images of the Oklahoma tornado and Superstorm Sandy fresh in our minds, we enter National Hurricane Preparedness Week and NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an active or extremely active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season this year.  Hurricane preparedness is not just for the coast.  No matter where you live in Georgia, hurricane hazards can affect you.  Hurricanes and tropical storms can produce tornadoes because thunderstorms are embedded in rain bands that are far from the center of the hurricane, although tornadoes can also occur near the eyewall.

According to the National Hurricane Center, awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.

The Hurricane Preparedness Week website offers valuable information and an opportunity to learn about a certain aspect of hurricane safety each day of the week.

  • Monday, May 27: Storm Surge— Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm’s winds. Storm surge can reach heights well over 20 feet and can span hundreds of miles of coastline.
  • Tuesday, May 28: High Winds—Hurricanes can produce high winds that add to a storm’s destructive power. Hurricane-force winds can easily destroy poorly constructed buildings and mobile homes. Winds can stay above hurricane strength well inland.
  • Wednesday, May 29: Inland Flooding—Inland flooding can be a major threat to communities hundreds of miles from Georgia’s coast. More people have died from inland flooding than storm surge, as some of the greatest rainfall amounts occur from weaker storms that drift slowly or stall over an area.
  • Thursday, May 30: Hurricane Forecasting—Staying informed about hurricane forecasts is critical to being prepared for these threats. In forecasting, a hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in an area, and a hurricane warning means a hurricane is expected to hit.
  • Friday, May 31: Be Prepared—To be fully prepared for hurricane season, every household in Georgia should have a Ready kit of emergency supplies for both the home and the car in case of evacuation. A customized Ready Kit checklist can be created at www.ready.ga.gov, where a list of basic supplies is also available.
  • Saturday, June 1: Take Action—Take action to prepare for hurricanes and their hazards by developing a family disaster plan and evacuation route. By practicing evacuation plans, a household can be ready to leave if instructed by authorities.

This is also a good time to check in with your insurance agent to understand what is and is not covered under your policy.  For example, standard homeowners and business insurance policies cover wind damage to the structure of insured buildings and their contents but do not cover flood damage.  Your agent can help you obtain flood coverage with a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Homeowners insurance policies also provide for additional living expenses, paying the costs of living away from home if you cannot inhabit your house due to damage from an insured disaster.  It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses incurred while your home is being rebuilt.

The insurance professionals at Allen & Furr care about protecting your family and your investments.  Contact them to discuss your coverage needs.  Preparation now can greatly reduce the effects of a storm disaster.