How to Defend Your Home Against Unpredictable Iowa Spring Winds

“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”
Author Mark Twain

Bob Segar’s classic rocker “Against The Wind” is not a soundtrack any Iowa homeowner wants to have playing as they inspect their home for damage following a spring storm.

If there’s one gospel truth of Iowa spring weather, it’s unpredictable. Trying to guess the actual wind speed we might be facing on a given day can feel like trying to guess this week’s winning Powerball numbers. Few forces of nature put a hurt on Iowa homes like wind damage. Every year, one in 30 insured homes suffers wind damage requiring an insurance claim, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In fact, a full quarter (25%) of U.S. homeowners’ insurance claims are the result of exterior wind damage.  Thankfully, almost all homeowner insurance policies cover wind damage. 

As Eastern Iowa homeowners continue to repair and financially recover from the catastrophic damage from last summer’s derecho that left an $11 billion property hurt on the American Midwest, we need to be more aware and on guard than ever for the very real possibility of severe winds and storms battering the Hawkeye State gain this spring. 

“No single thunderstorm event in modern times – not even a tornado – has wrought as much economic devastation as the derecho that slammed the nation’s corn belt on Aug. 10, based on analyses from the public and private sectors,” The Washington Post’s Bob Henson wrote. 

Remember, folks, we are right in the heart of Iowa’s spring storm season, where high winds can roll in off the horizon with little or no warning. As notes, derechos can cause high impact damage “comparable to an inland hurricane.” And we don’t need to remind anyone we live in a Central Plain wind tunnel. Average Iowa winds in April blow at 10 mph. Population ranks Iowa as the USA’s 19th windiest state. 

Smart spring wind home damage prevention also includes trying to contain the damage after severe weather strikes, including covering damaged property and areas to avoid additional damage and immediately filing an insurance claim.

“An insurance company should cover most of the costs from problems caused directly by the storm or debris,” the Des Moines Register’s Tyler Jett writes. “But property owners should take immediate steps to prevent the damage from spreading.”

Common examples of wind damage that are covered by homeowners insurance include:

  1. Roof Wind Damage
  2. Fence Wind Damage
  3. Tree Removal
  4. Wind Damage to Windows and Siding

But most importantly, give your home a strong first line of defense against spring storm wind damage by taking these essential prevention measures:

  • Identify Existing Roof or Siding Problems: A licensed contractor can inspect your roof for missing shingles and possible leaks and perform repair work if necessary. Also, inspect and reinforce any loose siding, which can quickly rip off during high winds.
  • Use Shredded Bark Mulch as Landscaping Material: If you have rock or gravel landscaping, it’s a smart idea to replace it with bark, which won’t cause damage if blown around in high winds.
  • Maintain Trees and Shrubbery in your Yard: Spring is the perfect time to remove dead or weak branches or remove trees that could fall on your home during a storm. Inspect trees and shrubs to identify potential problems.
  • Ensure Gutters Aren’t Loose or Clogged: Clear your gutters of debris and make sure they are tightly attached to your house. Strong wins can quickly tear loose gutters from your home and cause damage. Also, make sure downspouts are positioned away from your home’s foundation to help prevent basement flooding.
  • Secure Top-Heavy Furniture: Walk around your home and secure large, top-heavy furniture like bookcases to the wall. 

Home Advisor notes the national cost of repairs for home wind damage is a pricy $8,702 and can range between $2,364 and $15,040. The last thing your family needs blowing in wild this spring is unexpected, but preventable severe home wind damage.

For whether a tornado, thunderstorm or straight-line wind, heavy winds are headed your home’s way this spring, that we can predict. Make sure your home is ready to stand up to them. 

“You want to make sure you’re prepared for all types of bad weather,” Forbes Advisor editor Jason Metz writes. 

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