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Hurricane Preparedness


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AFTER HURRICANE IRMA

WE ARE OPEN AND HERE TO ASSIST YOU!

If you have experienced property damage due to Hurricane Irma, call us immediately at 407.478.4878 or email Devan at devan@itsaboutjustice.law.

HOMEOWNERS & PROPERTY OWNERS

  • It is extremely important for you to have records of your property's condition in the event that you need to file a claim with your insurance company.
  • We hope that before the storm you were able to take photos of your property.
    • If you were not able to take photos before the storm, collect the most recent photos you have taken of your property.
  • AFTER THE STORM, when it is safe to do so, photograph your property's:
    • Interior
    • Exterior
    • Roof
  • Consult with an attorney experienced in handling insurance claims before giving any recorded statements or meeting with an adjuster assigned to the claim.
  • Homeowners should obtain an inspection by a qualified contractor and/or roofer to assess whether the hurricane force winds have damaged or diminished the roofing system and building envelope.

  • Just because water has not began to enter the structure does not mean that there is not damage to their property.

  • We have seen too many homeowner claims where an engineer is hired months after the storm and the engineer states the damage preexisted the hurricane.

For more information about the work we do with insurance claims, CLICK HERE.

RESOURCES

SCHOOL CLOSURES & SHELTERS

  • For Florida Department of Education updates, CLICK HERE.
  • To find currently open shelters, CLICK HERE.

General Hurricane & Tropical Storm Information

Philip J. Klotzbach said, climatologically, there is a 97 percent probability that the U.S. will be hit by a named storm, either a tropical storm or hurricane.


There is a 51 percent probability that a hurricane will make landfall in Florida — the highest probability nationwide. Texas was second with a 33 percent probability, followed by Louisiana at 30 percent.

The probability of a major hurricane — Category 3 or higher — hitting the Sunshine State is 21 percent.

State
Texas
Louisiana
Mississippi
Alabama
Florida
Georgia
South Carolina
North Carolina
Virginia
Maryland
Delaware
New Jersey
New York
Connecticut
Rhode Island
Massachusetts
New Hampshire
Maine
Whole US

Hurricane
32% (33%)
29% (30%)
10% (11%)
15% (16%)
49% (51%)
11% (11%)
16% (17%)
27% (28%)
6% (6%)
1% (1%)
1% (1%)
1% (1%)
7% (8%)
7% (7%)
5% (6%)
7% (7%)
1% (1%)
4% (4%)
83% (84%)

Major Hurricane
11% (12%)
11% (12%)
4% (4%)
2% (3%)
20% (21%)
1% (1%)
4% (4%)
7% (8%)
1% (1%)
<1% (<1%)
<1% (<1%)
<1% (<1%)
3% (3%)
2% (2%)
2% (3%)
2% (2%)
<1% (<1%)
<1% (<1%)
50% (52%)

 

97%
Chance to get hit by named storm

51%
Chance to get landfall from a hurricane

21%
Chance to get by a Catagory 3 or higher

 

Statistical Forecast
10.1
47.9
5.6
20.8
2.2
4.8
85
95%

Forecast Parameter and 1981-2010 Median (in parentheses)
Named Storms (12.0)
Named Storm Days (60.1)
Hurricanes (6.5)
Hurricane Days (21.3)
Major Hurricanes (2.0)
Major Hurricane Days (3.9)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy Index (92)
Net Tropical Cyclone Activity (103%)

2017 Hurricane Name List
  • Arlene
  • Bret
  • Cindy
  • Don
  • Emily
  • Franklin
  • Gert
  • Harvey
  • Irma
  • Jose
  • Katia
  • Lee
  • Maria
  • Nate
  • Ophelia
  • Philippe
  • Rina
  • Sean
  • Tammy
  • Vince
  • Whitney

 

Hurricane Safety

Hurricanes are among nature's most powerful and destructive phenomena. On average, 12 tropical storms, 6 of which become hurricanes form over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season which runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. In the Central Pacific Ocean, an average of 3 tropical storms, 2 of which become hurricanes form or move over the area during the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. Over a typical 2-year period, the U.S. coastline is struck by an average of 3 hurricanes, 1 of which is classified as a major hurricane (winds of 111 mph or greater). By knowing what actions to take before, during, and after a hurricane, you can increase your chance of survival.This website provides information on how to learn about your specific hurricane vulnerabilities. By knowing what actions to take before the hurricane season begins, when a hurricane approaches, what action to take when the storm is in your area, and what to do after a hurricane leaves your area you can increase your chance of survival. If you, or someone you know, have been a victim of a hurricane, please share your story so we can prevent others from becoming a victim. When you

Hurricane Hazards

While hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depression also can be devastating. The primary hazards from tropical cyclones are storm surge flooding, inland flooding from heavy rains, destructive winds, tornadoes, and high surf and rip currents.

Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States. Storm surge and large battering waves can result in large loss of life and cause massive destruction along the coast. Storm surge can travel several miles inland, especially along bays, rivers, and estuaries.
Flooding from heavy rains is the second leading cause of fatalities during landfalling tropical cyclones. Widespread torrential rains from tropical storms and hurricanes often cause flooding hundreds of miles inland. This flooding can persist for several days after a storm.
Winds from a hurricane can destroy buildings and mobile homes. Debris, such as signs, roofing material, and items left outside can become flying missiles during hurricanes.
Tornadoes are often produced by landfalling tropical storms and hurricanes. These tornadoes typically occur in rain bands well away from the center of the hurricane.
Dangerous waves produced by a hurricane's strong winds can pose a significant hazard to coastal residents and mariners. These waves can cause deadly rip currents, significant beach erosion, and damage to structures along the coastline, even when the storm is more than a 1,000 miles offshore.

 

Watch and Warnings

Whenever a tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane has formed, the NOAA National Hurricane Center (NHC) issues tropical cyclone advisory products every 6 hours at 5 am, 11 am, 5 pm, and 11 pm EDT. When coastal tropical storm or hurricane watches or warnings are in effect, the NHC issues Tropical Cyclone Public advisories every 3 hours. You can find these products on www.hurricanes.gov, on TV, radio, cell phones and other computers; and NOAA Weather Radio. Information on major NHC products is detailed below. For more details on all NHC products, see the National Hurricane Center Product User's Guide.

What to Do Before the Tropical Storm or Hurricane

The best time to prepare for a hurricane is before hurricane season begins on June 1. It is vital to understand your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind. Here is your checklist of things to do BEFORE hurricane seasons begins.

Know your zone: Do you live near the Gulf or Atlantic Coasts? Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area by contacting your local government/emergency management office or by checking the evacuation site website.

Write or review your Family Emergency Plan: Before an emergency happens, sit down with your family or close friends and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supplies kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. Start at the Ready.Gov emergency plan webpage.

Put Together an Emergency Supplies Kit: Put together a basic disaster supplies kit and consider storage locations for different situations. Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators and storm shutters.

Review Your Home Owners Insurance: Review your insurance policy to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home.

Actions to Take When a Tropical Storm or Hurricane Threatens


When a hurricane threatens your community, be prepared to evacuate if you live in a storm surge risk area. Allow enough time to pack and inform friends and family if you need to leave your home.

Secure your home: Cover all of your home's windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8 inch exterior grade or marine plywood, built to fit and ready to install. Buy supplies before the hurricane season rather than waiting for the prestorm rush.

Stayed tuned in: Check the websites of your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or other radio or TV stations for the latest storm news.
Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered!

If NOT ordered to evacuate:
Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level during the storm. Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can.
Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force winds coming from the opposite direction.

How do I know what I have covered?

Generally, covered properties are divided into four separate categories. The definitions of the property, and the extent of coverage vary by state, company and product. So it is important for the consumer to understand the definitions of the covered property. The four separate categories for your home, as defined by insurance companies, are:

1. Dwelling – The structure of the house is considered a covered property.

2. Other Structures – These are structures that are separate from the house, or connected to the house by a fence, wire or other form of connection, but not otherwise attached to the dwelling, such as a tool shed or detached garage.

3. Personal Property – The contents of your home are your personal property. This includes furniture, appliances and clothing. Not all personal property is covered. Items more appropriately covered under different forms of insurance may have limited or no coverage for loss. These items include, but are not limited to, money, jewelry and firearms.

4. Loss of Use – When a loss occurs due to a covered peril and the dwelling becomes uninhabitable, the cost of additional living expenses is covered. Reimbursement of additional living expenses covers the cost to the insured for maintaining a normal standard of living.

How much is my deductible?

Hurricane deductibles and their triggers are set by law and are the same for the private, or regular market, as well as Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (CPIC), the state-run program which provides property insurance to consumers. The hurricane deductible applies only once during a hurricane season. All insurers must offer a hurricane deductible of $500, 2 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent of the policy dwelling or structure limits. The percentages are based on the total value of the home (e.g., a 10 percent hurricane deductible on a $200,000 home would be $20,000). In some cases a deductible of more than 10 percent is permissible. For example, for homes that are insured for less than $500,000, the deductible can be higher than 10 percent if the homeowner states the dollar value of the deductible in a letter to the insurer. The deductible must be stated in the policy as a dollar amount regardless of the percentage.

Does My Policy Cover Hurricanes?

Most property insurance policies provide coverage for losses resulting from hurricanes, except for flood loss associated with the hurricane. However, some policies only provide limited coverage for hurricanes, or require that a higher deductible be purchased specifically for the hurricane peril. Most states with risk of loss from hurricanes have government mandated insurance plans that provide hurricane coverage to property owners who are unable to obtain insurance through the voluntary market.

Insurance Coverage Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Insurance policy changes could leave homeowners under water
Maitland, FL
May 26, 2016

Insurance is largely accepted as one of the “necessary evils” of home ownership, along with having to fix your own toilet if it breaks and that one neighbor that always needs to borrow something. While it can be frustrating to pay for a service you may never need, the benefit to insurance is security. It is knowing that should tragedy strike, the insurance company will step forward and help you pull your life back together. Or perhaps not. Florida homeowners may be in for an unpleasant surprise. An unsettling trend is developing as insurance companies move to reduce water damage coverage, if not remove it all together.

Water damage is a very real concern in Florida, a state that is not only surrounded by water but contains more than 30,000 lakes and hundreds of miles of rivers. In addition to this already damp and humid climate, Florida is regularly beset by tropical storms and hurricanes every year. Water damage on some level is almost inevitable.

Insurance companies are already offering discounts on policies if homeowners are willing to exclude water coverage. Knowing the environment is ripe for it, these insurance companies are trying to avoid an almost guaranteed payout. Additionally, many companies are trying to set the cap for water damage coverage at $3000. Something as simple as a burst pipe could cost $3000 or more to fix. When you factor in an incident such as a tropical storm or a hurricane, the claims rise from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Additionally, being covered for flood or hurricane damage does not include coverage for water damage. For example, say your area is wracked by a tropical storm. Days of rain have saturated your roof and your walls, and then eventually the house flooded. Would you be covered, or would your insurance company claim that the water damage was done before the actual flooding? Perhaps the tropical storm evolved into a hurricane, and your saturated walls gave way to the wind. Would you be covered in this instance, or would the insurance company insist that since the water damage came first they were not liable?

The conditions and clauses only grow more absurd as policies are broken down. Many policies offer coverage for mold damage, but not water. If the water damage is the source of the mold, are you then no longer covered? Other policies offer coverage for volcanoes, but not water. Since Florida is well outside of the Ring of Fire, what is even the point of that coverage? At what point does common sense reassert itself? If you have a house fire, will they refuse to cover damage from the water used to put the fire out?

We pay for insurance to be covered in times of distress. As homeowners, we need our policies to cover the damages and pitfalls we are most likely to face. It is important to make sure your insurance policies cover your needs, and are relevant to your home and the area in which you live. And as a Floridian, coverage for water damage is incredibly relevant.

Cohen Law Group are a multi­focus law office with experts in litigation, specifically insurance claims. Their office is at 350 N. Lake Destiny in Maitland, FL and they can be found on the web at http://www.itsaboutjustice.law/.

Contact:
Harvey Cohen
Cohen Law Group
Harvey@itsaboutjustice.law
350 N. Lake Destiny
Maitland, FL
32751
(407)478-­4878
+1­(877)­440-­4878

Sources:
http://tropical.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts/2016/june2016/jun2016.pdf
http://homeownersinsuranceguide.flash.org/knowyourchoices.htm
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml
http://homeownersinsuranceguide.flash.org/knowyourchoices.htm
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hurricane/index.shtml
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hurricane/ww.html
http://www.iii.org/issue-update/hurricane-and-windstorm-deductibles

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All four of these parameter deviations in the tropical Atlantic are known to be favorable for enhanced hurricane activity.
All of these parameter deviations over the tropical Atlantic and tropical Pacific tend to be associated with active hurricane seasons.
The predictor correlates very strongly with ENSO as well as vertical shear in the Caribbean. The correlation scale has been flipped to allow for easy comparison of correlations for all four predictors.
The correlation scale has been flipped to allow for easy comparison of correlations for all four predictors.

NHC Hurricane Infographics