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Hurricane Season

Updated: May 26, 2023

Hurricanes are large, slow-moving, damaging storms characterized by gusting winds from different directions, rain, flooding, high waves, and storm surges.

The coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, the south- and mid-Atlantic coast, the coastal areas of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii, as well as the U.S. territories of American Samoa and Guam, are vulnerable to hurricanes in the late summer and early fall. Winter storms along the mid- and North-Atlantic coast can be more damaging than hurricanes because of their greater frequency, longer duration, and high-erosion impacts on the coastline. Even in states not normally considered susceptible to extreme windstorms, there are areas that experience dangerously high winds. These areas are typically near mountain ranges and include the Pacific Northwest coast. Other extreme-wind areas include the Plains states, which are especially subject to tornadoes.

In addition to the direct effects of high winds and winter on buildings, hurricanes and other severe storms generate airborne debris that can damage buildings.


Debris, such as small stones, tree branches, roof shingles and tiles, building parts, and other objects, is picked up by the wind and moved with enough force to damage and even penetrate windows, doors, walls, and roofs. When a building’s exterior envelope is breached by debris, the building can become pressurized, subjecting its walls and roof to much higher damaging wind pressures. In general, the stronger the wind, the larger and heavier the debris it can carry, and the greater the risk of severe damage.

Wind Mitigation Inspection

If the home is in a hurricane or high-wind region, the homeowner should hire a Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector to check its structural system for continuity of load path, including resistance to uplift forces. If there is an accessible attic, improper attachment of the roof sheathing to the roof- framing members can be checked by looking for unengaged or partially engaged nails.

Hurricane hold-down clips for joists, rafters, and trusses should be present at the exterior walls. Examine the gable end walls and the roof trusses for lateral bracing. Check to see whether the exterior wall and other load-bearing walls are securely attached to the foundation. .

Permission Granted by InterNACHI

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