On July 25, 2021, the Orlando Sentinel warned us that a low-pressure system near the Florida-Georgia coast could become a tropical depression and the tropical depression could become a tropical storm, which could develop into a hurricane. The next day, the National Hurricane Center in Miami reported that it was becoming less likely that a tropical depression would develop, but conditions should still be monitored because heavy rainfall and strong winds could occur in local areas.
Warnings like this and ones that are far more dire are common in Florida during Hurricane Season. So common, in fact, that many of us ignore them. More rain, more wind, so what? That’s summer in Florida, we think.
Yet, if we stop to think more about what really goes on in terms of severe weather and the damage it causes, we might realize that we need to be more aware and more prepared. After all, we have already had four tropical storms and one hurricane this year and we are still more than a month away from the peak of Hurricane Season 2021 (September 10th).
According to the National Weather Service, a tropical depression is a cyclone (i.e., a low pressure system over tropical water with sustained winds circling around a definite center) with winds traveling 38 mph or less. These winds are not classified as damaging winds (greater than 50 mph) by the National Weather Service, but they can still cause damage to roofs, trees and items left outside.
Tropical depressions are monitored closely because they can quickly develop into stronger storms. They can also dissipate but re-form later, gathering strength and speed. Even if they do not become strong, they can cause localized heavy, damaging rainfall and strong winds.
The National Weather Service defines a tropical storm as a cyclone with winds ranging from 39 – 73 mph. The stronger the winds, the more damage a tropical storm can cause.
The National Weather Service uses the Beaufort scale, originally developed by Britain’s Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort in 1805, to estimate wind speeds and their corresponding effects. According to the Beaufort scale, damaging winds are numbers 9 through 12, with tropical storms occurring in the 9 through 11 range:
Heavy rainfall associated with tropical storms can, of course, also cause extensive damage to structures and personal property. Water entering homes and other buildings through damaged roofs, windows or foundations can be devastating.
The National Weather Service reminds us that the number of tropical storms “increases substantially” in August and “peaks” in mid-September. In other words, we can expect more storms and stronger storms in the next two months. Given this reality, it is important to know what to do in case your home, business or other property is damaged during a storm.
Most experts recommend following these steps when your property has been damaged by a tropical storm:
When your insurance company unreasonably delays, undervalues or unfairly denies your storm damage claim, it is in your best interest to seek the help of an experienced Orlando insurance claim attorney. The storm damage attorneys at Malik Law have years of successful experience negotiating with and litigating against insurance companies. We have helped our clients recover millions of dollars from insurance companies and want to help you obtain the payment you deserve.