Severe Weather & Your Community
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North Texas is no stranger to extreme weather. From March to November, severe storms, hail and tornadoes are a common occurrence. This year, AccuWeather predicts between 5%-15% more tornadoes than the yearly average.
But whether it’s heavy rain or a tornado, Texans are prepared to weather any storm, and these resources will help you do just that. No matter the type of property you own, here are our recommendations to ensure you’re prepared before, during and after the storm.
FAQs: SEVERE WEATHER & AVAILABLE RESOURCES
What classifies as a severe thunderstorm watch?
When conditions are favorable for developing severe thunderstorms close to the watch area, a severe thunderstorm produces one-inch hail or larger and/or produces wind that equals or exceeds 58 miles an hour. Be prepared to move a designated safe space if threatening weather approaches during the watch.
What classifies as a severe thunderstorm warning?
Severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes with little or no warning. Side effects of such storms can also create flash floods and power outages, so people in the affected areas should seek safe shelter immediately.
What classifies as a tornado watch?
When conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and near the watch area. They're typically issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours and well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review tornado safety rules and be prepared to move to a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.
What classifies as a tornado warning?
This is issued when a tornado is indicated by the WSR-88D radar or sighted by spotters; therefore, people in the affected areas should seek safe shelter immediately. They can be issued without an active tornado watch in effect and usually last for 30 minutes.
NEED TO KNOW
In 2019, Texas led the country in the number of tornado touchdowns. On average, Texas records between 140-150 tornadoes each year. However, according to local NWS offices, this year’s outbreak on March 21, 2022, already produced at least 31 tornadoes in Texas. The day ranks fourth for most tornadoes reported in a single calendar day.
What classifies as a flash flood?
According to the American Meteorology Society (AMS), flash flooding is a “flood that rises and falls quite rapidly with little or no advance warning, usually as the result of intense rainfall over a relatively small area.” A flash flood occurs within 6 hours, and usually within 3 hours, of heavy rainfall and thunderstorms or infrastructure devastation, including levee breaks or mudslides.
DID YOU KNOW?
All Texans receive free Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) alerts to their phones? No download is necessary, and each alert gives off a distinct warning sound when dangerous weather is in the area.
What can I do to protect myself from severe weather?
Review exactly what your "acts of nature" insurance covers and pay special attention to anything your policy excludes. Some obvious coverages could be excluded in high-risk areas for severe weather activity. In that case, update your policy to ensure it covers most, if not all, storm-related damages, including fires, wind, lightning and flooding.
There are often other storm-related acts that aren't included in basic coverage, like flooding or fallen trees. If necessary, review your policies with a trusted broker to ensure all of your bases are covered and adequately address your association's needs. Doing this before the storm reduces the impact of sticker shock that comes with the post-storm cleanup.
According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), hailstorms cause $1 billion in property damage each year.
Is resistant roofing worth the investment?
Yes, especially since Texas ranks #1 out of all states when experiencing significant hailstorms. So, it may not come as a surprise that resistant roofing is essential for many communities. With this in mind, there are several options residents can choose from to protect their homes from significant damage.
So, I've invested in the proper safety measures to protect my home from hail. What should I do to stay safe during a hailstorm?
Stay indoors and away from windows.
Find a safe space with no windows or mirrors to take shelter.
Cover your head and immediately head inside.
If there's no nearby building, find a low-lying area and protect your head.
On the Road
Stay inside your car.
Pull over at a safe location (not under a bridge or highway).
Turn your back to the windows/sunroof and cover your head and back with blankets or clothes to prevent injury.
What sources can I reference to prepare for extreme weather?
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and your local news and weather.
How can I help communities affected by severe weather?
Whether you give locally or nationally, there's plenty of organizations ready to assist those affected, like the American Red Cross, United Way. You can also donate to the charity of your choice using the Charity Navigator.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Whether you live on in an HOA, condo or high-rise or commercial property, there's necessary steps to take to ensure residents/employees feel prepared for the storm and safe throughout it. Here's how:
Having clearly defined roles will minimize confusion during a weather emergency. If you have on-site staff, make sure they know how to respond during an emergency. As for maintenance staff, they should work together to verify the stability of your property (equipment and safety systems), check for potential hazards and make fixes to prevent further damage. If your community doesn't have on-site staff, your management team will visit your property and secure reliable vendors to check your equipment.
Communicate with residents before, during and after the storm.
Create an emergency action plan (EAP) outlining multiple scenarios, including guides for residents and updating homeowner contact information. The best way to do this is via your community's website, email or text message.
This will not only prepare residents, but it also gives you adequate time to test ideal forms of communication that provide real-time weather updates. Alerts should become more frequent and include additional information as storms are predicted and inch closer to your community.
DID YOU KNOW
Bystander CPR improves survival.
Nearly 45% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims survived when bystander CPR was administered.
– American Heart Association, 2014
Learn more about emergency training.
Are you familiar with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)? It's a federal initiative that prepares people for different types of emergency disasters, in this case, severe weather. We recommend encouraging your community to get CPR and first aid training. Your property management company is also a great resource! Check in with them to see if they offer similar programs.
To ensure that your association is well-prepared, download our emergency checklist to make all your storm-related needs that much easier to weather.
As a full-service property management company specializing in association management, FirstService Residential Texas is equipped to take the necessary steps to ensure owners feel prepared for a storm. To review the information contained within your association’s emergency preparedness plan, contact us at an office location near you.