How to prepare your roof for a tornado or windstorm

blog post How to prepare your roof for a tornado or windstorm

How to prepare your roof for a tornado or windstorm

Last year, tornadoes caused $700 million in damage in the United States according to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Here in Central Florida, we know about the risks of hurricanes, but tornadoes and other wind events also can wreak havoc on our homes. In fact, Florida is infamous for having higher frequency of tornadoes per 10,000 square miles than any other state, including Oklahoma! The coast between Tampa Bay and Fort Myers is at a particularly high risk, as well as the western panhandle and parts of the Atlantic Coast. In this article, your Florida roofing professionals at RIG Roofing explore how to prepare your roof for a tornado or windstorm.

How do tornadoes form?

A tornado forms from a severe thunderstorm, but specifically when that storm is layered with cool, dry air on top of hot, moist air. Tornadoes are rated from one to five on the Enhanced Fujita scale (or EF scale), which rates as follows:

F1: 40-72 mph winds

F2: mph

F3: mph

F4: mph

F5: mph

Your roof and wind damage

Your roof is made to be durable, but can be susceptible to wind because wind doesn’t hit a roof uniformly. The edges of the roof or any areas that already are loose are the most vulnerable. Here’s the type of roof damage to expect from different wind speeds.

45-57 mph winds: Any wind above 45 mph will lead the National Weather Service to issue a wind warning, but winds in this range are not considered severe. Loose tree branches and limbs may get caught in the wind and damage shingles that already were compromised.

58-74 mph winds: These winds can uproot shallow trees, tear away already-loosened shingles. Winds of this speed also can cause chimney issues or rip off shingles in good condition.

74-96 mph winds: Even large, well established branches on older trees can fall off. These winds can do sigjificant roof damage, flip over vehicles and destroy mobile homes.

96-110 mph winds: Equivalent to an F1 tornado, these winds are powerful enough to do severe roof damage. Large, mature trees will fall over. Vehicles can be pushed off the road. Even a sturdy, well-built home can endure structural damage. Any flying debris in these type of winds can be lethal.

111-129 mph: These winds are comparable to a small F2 tornado or a Category 3 hurricane. Wind damage could cause total replacement of the roof.

130-157 mph: These powerful winds can do significant structural damage to your home.

158-206 mph: Generated by an F3 tornado, these winds are comparable to a Category 5 hurricane—the largest category for that tropical storm. These winds are powerful enough to tear roofs and walls from buildings, uproot most trees, overturn trains and throw heavy vehicles.

207-260 mph: F4 tornadoes produce winds of this force. These winds can level well-constructed homes and throw cars like missiles through the air. Any structure with a weak foundation can be destroyed and even blown a significant distance.

260-318 mph: An F5 tornado generates these extremely powerful winds. These winds can lift a strong frame house entirely off its foundation, carry it a significant distance, and then destroy the structure on impact. Objects as large as an automobile can be picked up and hurled for several hundred feet. These winds are strong enough to rip the bark off a tree.

Preparing your roof for wind damage

None of us can control the weather, but some prevention measures can lower your risk of wind damaging your roof in Central Florida.

Make sure your roof decking is sturdy and in good condition, with high-quality fasteners attached to keep the decking secure.

Choose high-quality shingles for your roof. Certain brands of shingle even have a high-wind warranty up to 130 mph. Contact your professional roofing contractor to learn more.

Purchase a weather radio, which will give you an alert if a tornado warning is issued in your area.

Prepare an area for shelter in the event of a tornado. This area should be in an interior, windowless location of your home.

After the storm passes …

After a tornado or other storm with significant winds, have your roof inspected by a professional. From the ground, you can see if you identify any missing shingles or damage to the vents, gutter and chimneys. If your roof has sustained major damage, contact FEMA by calling 888-ROOF-BLU1 (888) 766-3258 and FEMA’s Operation Blue Roof can provide a tarp to shelter your home until repairs can be made.

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R.I.G. Roofing is proud to offer reliable and honest roof repair and replacement services to residential and commercial customers throughout the United States. Our home office is in Winter Haven, Florida; with satellite offices in Lakeland, Tampa, & Port Charlotte. View our entire service area and call our office1 (863) 294-4477 or send us a message to schedule an appointment today. We can't wait to hear from you!