Notwithstanding some forecasts of below average rainfall this summer for Calgary, summer storms are a fact of life as shown by early records available for this continent. As early as 1775, the Newfoundland hurricane was recorded to have taken 4,000 lives.
In the new millenium, hurricanes Juan (2003), Noel (2007), and Igor (2010) all cause catastrophic damage, claiming dozens of lives and hundreds of millions in destroyed goods and property.
It’s good that weather forecasting has improved a lot over the decades, but we can only prepare for the onslaught of severe summer storms when the weatherman gives his warnings. There are several steps one can take to mitigate the effects of a severe storm:
- Insulate the lower level walls using plastic sheet or rigid foam. While it will not waterproof your walls, it will stop silt and debris from collecting on your walls.
- Sandbag the areas where floodwaters can flow as well as in front of your doors. About two feet high is the ideal height. If you don’t have sandbags on hand, heavy-duty garbage bags filled to about a third will make do.
- If flooding is expected, move appliances and electronics to a higher level. If also makes sense to cut power to the power outlets on the lower level.
- Secure your garage door by bracing it. Kits can be bought to reinforce the door if you’re not the DIY type. Look around for objects like play equipment and pet houses that can be blown away by strong winds. Either move them indoors or tie them down.
- Your roofing may need protection too. A large tarp tied down securely will help it from being blown away.
- Check that you downspouts and gutters are free from debris so that they do their job.
Caulking your windows, doors, and house edges is a good step towards waterproofing your home. But don’t do this when a storm is imminent. The best time to do this would be a few weeks before the onset of the storm season.
Bear in mind though that all these preparations will be naught if you are not up to date with your insurance coverage. If your home gets severely damaged, one can be sure that the costs will be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Proper insurance coverage will help see you through through such a catastrophe.