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If you live near the East Coast, you don't want to procrastinate about making sure your home is ready for hurricane season. Once a big storm is bearing down, it may be too late to protect your property from high winds and flying debris.
A near-average season is forecast for the Atlantic basin in 2016, following 2 below-average seasons. Meteorologists at Colorado State University are predicting a dozen named storms, of which 5 could become hurricanes, with 2 of those expected to reach Category 3 or above with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.
Don't let your guard down. There's much you can do now so you won't get caught making last-minute -- and probably inadequate -- moves to strengthen your home's defenses against hurricanes.
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"If you buy shutters or other coverings with product approvals and use licensed contractors who pull building permits, you're on your way to protecting your home," says engineer Jose Mitrani, associate professor emeritus in the school of construction at Florida International University in Miami.
"And be sure that inspections are done of the work," says Mitrani, who served on building code task forces after Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm that tore through South Florida in 1992.
Roof cover damage is the biggest reason for hurricane insurance claims that are not related to storm surges, says the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, or IBHS, in Tampa, Florida.
A cascade of trouble can happen when a roof is roughed up by a hurricane: Water gets in through gaps in the roof decking, which soaks the attic insulation, which collapses the ceiling, which damages your furniture and other belongings when wet wallboard and insulation fall on them.