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How to Prepare Your Home and Family for a Spring Thunderstorm

Trees and home surrounded by dark stormy sky.

Updated: March 8th, 2024

Temps are rising, and plants are sprouting, which can only mean one thing — spring is here. In the Midwest, the spring season is also known for its rapidly changing weather that can lead to severe storms and tornadoes.

If you don't take the proper steps, storm activity can place your home at risk. Follow our severe weather safety tips for before, during, and after Midwest storms to help reduce the amount of damage to your home.

Before: Storm Preparedness Checklist 

With a little preparation, you can help protect your home from costly storm damage caused by the lightning, heavy rain, hail, and high winds that the spring season is known for. Here are some things to consider doing as part of your spring maintenance checklist so you are prepared well before the first storm hits. 

Understand storm terms

Make sure you know the difference between a warning and a watch. A watch means thunderstorms are possible and it’s time to prepare for the storm, while a warning means severe weather has been reported in the area and you should seek shelter.

Trim trees

During high winds, the trees in your yard pose a threat to your home. That’s because dead or weak branches can fall on your home and damage your roof or break windows. Contact a local tree service to trim any trees that need attention.

Clean gutters and downspouts

Over the winter months, debris likely accumulated in your gutters. This debris needs to be cleaned out to help ensure rainwater can flow through your gutters properly. If your gutters aren’t clear, you run the risk of water damaging your home’s foundation.

Install a lightning surge protector

No one wants to deal with the hassle or expense of replacing electronics. The addition of a home lightning surge protector can help keep your electrical equipment safe from lightning strikes.

Have your roof inspected

A faulty roof can lead to costly water damage to the interior of your home. While you can do a visual inspection from the ground, looking for signs of deterioration like loose, cracked, or broken shingles, it’s best to hire a professional roofer to perform an inspection and make any need repairs.

Create an emergency kit

Severe storms can lead to power outages, so it’s important to have enough supplies for your family for several days. Your emergency kit should include things like water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, and a first aid kit.

During: Thunderstorm Safety Tips

Now that you know what to do before the thunderstorm season arrives, let’s cover how to prepare for a thunderstorm that is possibly approaching your area.

Store outdoor items

Patio furniture, toys, potted plants, and other unsecured outdoor objects can cause serious damage to your home if they are swept up in the winds of a storm. If you have adequate time before the storm, bring these items inside your garage, storage shed, or home.

Put vehicles in the garage

Hail and flying debris pose a threat to your car, so it’s best to pull it into your garage. And if you can, reinforce the garage door with a brace to help reduce the chances of wind blowing it in.

Prepare for power outages

Power outages can sometimes last for days, so get your generator ready if you have one. You’ll also want to charge your cell phone and turn on low battery settings in case of an emergency.

Take cover and stay connected

Shelter in a safe place and stay tuned to your local weather stations. Remember, plugged in electronics can be unsafe to use during severe weather, so consider using a hand crank weather alert radio.

After: What to Do If You Have Storm Damage

Part of protecting your home is knowing what to do after a thunderstorm, including how to handle any damage caused by the thunderstorm. By following the steps outlined below, you may avoid further harm to your home.

Check your home

Once it’s safe to do so, be on the lookout for hazards and damage to your home, including your roof, siding, doors, windows, and landscaping.

Document damage

Take photos before and after any emergency repairs and keep receipts for wood, nails, and other materials used.

Mitigate home damage

Make any emergency repairs necessary, such as getting water out, covering broken windows, and covering cracks in your roof.

Contact your insurance company

As soon as you can, contact your agent and insurance company to let them know what’s going on. You may need to file a claim and schedule an appointment with an adjuster.

Get the Coverage Your Home Needs

In addition to following our storm preparedness checklists, you may want to consider additional insurance coverages, such as inland flood or equipment breakdown, for extra protection. While Mother Nature is often unpredictable, you can be better prepared if you have the homeowners insurance coverages you need. Your Westfield agent can help you get the storm protection you need to keep you and your family safe this spring and all year long.