Storm Warnings Ahead

By now you’ve seen the news. Winter will be early and brutal, with Northeast Ohio expected to be hit from all directions. Alberta clippers will send Canadian cold across the Great Lakes, dropping heavy lake-effect snows. Later, storms from the Gulf of Mexico will send rain, snow or both to our area. And according to NOAA’s National Weather Service, La Niña has re-emerged in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is forecasted to gradually strengthen into winter. La Niña winters often see wetter than normal conditions in various areas, including the Ohio Valley.

What might this mean for you, your family and home?

Be prepared. Once a storm hits it is too late to gather what you need. Many websites list items to include in a basic emergency supply kit. Dominion Energy’s list includes: a gallon of water per person per day, a three-day supply of non-perishable food, battery powered or hand-crank radio and NOAA Weather Radio, flashlight, batteries, first-aid kit, whistle to signal for help, dust masks, moist towelettes, wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, can opener, local maps, and cell phone with appropriate chargers.

Food safety. Weather and other disasters—including loss of power from wind, snow or ice—can jeopardize the safety of your food. Learn more about food safety from the USDA Consumer’s Guide at www.fsis.usda.gov/fact_sheets.

Review your insurance coverage. Review your current policy carefully to make sure you are covered for severe weather events. Threats include thunderstorms, windstorms, tornadoes, flooding, ice storms, hail and heavy snow. Contact your insurance agent with questions: if you have not updated your coverage, now would be a good time to do so.

File a claim if damage occurs. Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to determine if a claim should be filed and what information is required. Do your research on contractors before choosing one to perform any needed repairs: ask neighbors for recommendations or go online to read company reviews. The Ohio Insurance Institute provides information about filing a homeowners’ claim at http://www.ohioinsurance.org

Gordon Wenner is a graduate of Bowling Green State University where he majored in insurance. He is past president of Summit County Independent Insurance Agents Association, the Fairlawn Area Chamber of Commerce and Fairlawn Country Club.

In business since 1975, Jones & Wenner is a large, diversified independent insurance agency in Fairlawn. Call 330-867-4434 with your insurance questions or visit www.jones-wenner.com.