Florida residents must carefully examine their protection against hurricane and tropical storm damage at this time of year. Ordinary home insurance does not cover some potential property damage from such storms. For that, you need hurricane insurance.
What Causes Hurricanes?
Hurricanes form as tropical disturbances near the equator, where ocean temperatures are elevated so that moist air rises. That creates low pressure near the ocean surface. Cooler air flows to fill in where the warm air rises, and it, too, is warmed and rises. The cycle repeats.
As the warm air rises, it is cooled and starts spinning. But as it is cooled it drops down into the low pressure, is warmed up, and rises again. This system repeats itself over the warm ocean waters.
This cycle builds up energy and becomes more violent. The violently rotating winds pick up moisture from the warm ocean waters and form storm clouds full of rainwater.
Florida is a peninsula situated in warm ocean and gulf currents. It is also along the path of hurricanes that form over warm Atlantic oceans, so when it gets to Florida, a storm has already built up tremendous energy.
Expect Above-Normal Hurricane Activity This Season
Experts are predicting an unusually active hurricane season for 2022. This season is starting sooner and lasting longer. Historically, the Atlantic season lasts from June 1 through Nov. 30.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a 65% chance of above-average hurricane activity, with 14 to 21 named storms including three to six major hurricanes.
Why Are We Seeing Increased Storm Activity?
NOAA bases its pessimistic outlook on these factors:
- Above-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea
- Weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds
- An enhanced West African monsoon
- La Niña creating conditions in which Atlantic hurricanes can thrive
Hurricane Categories and Their Damage
Hurricanes are classified into five categories of severity. There are currently five categories with the following sustained wind speeds. Categories 3,4, and 5 are major storms that do much property damage.
- Category 1 produces winds of 74 – 95 mph.
- Category 2 produces winds of 96 – 110 mph.
- Category 3 produces winds of 111 – 129 mph.
- Category 4 produces winds of 130 – 156 mph.
- Category 5 produces winds of 157 mph or higher.
Category 3 hurricanes cause severe damage to residential property. Trees may be uprooted and roofs damaged.
Category 4 hurricanes cause catastrophic wind damage including torn-off roofs and damage to exterior walls. Winds will also hurl harmful debris that hurts people and property alike. Power poles will be down, and outages can last for weeks or even months.
Category 5 hurricanes, the highest category, will destroy entire homes and other structures an leave areas uninhabitable for weeks or even months. There have been only nine category 5 Atlantic hurricanes since 1924. They don’t sustain Category 5 winds constantly throughout their lives. Only three Atlantic hurricanes have done so more than three times.
Flooding is the most damaging consequence of hurricanes. In addition to severe winds, the storms, filled with water pulled up from warm oceans, dump colossal rains when they reach landfall. The amount of water increases as the storm moves over the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea.
The fast spiraling winds cause storm surges that raise the level of waters at landfall. The famous Galveston, TX hurricane in 1906 created a storm surge that washed over the entire Galveston Island. While hurricanes tend to lose energy after landfall, they can spin off tornadoes that do plenty of damage by themselves.
Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Hurricanes?
The hurricane season poses extra risks to residents of Delray Beach and Boca Raton. Typical homeowner insurance policies offer protection against only certain kinds of damage and only to a limited extent. Flooding is not necessarily covered, nor is excessive wind damage. You need to review your policy with your insurance agent or financial adviser to get a handle on what coverage you have.
Our beautiful South Florida climate and scenery in Delray Beach and Boca Raton have a cost. Many South Florida residents wisely choose to obtain additional hurricane and wind damage insurance. Hurricane insurance is a comprehensive policy that covers you for wind, water damage, and flooding caused by hurricanes.
At All Risk Insurance Group, we are experts at insuring against hurricane damage to dwellings. Get in touch, and let us review your coverage so that we can offer you a policy that gives you peace of mind.