Summer Storm Threats to Commercial Properties

Worldwide at any given moment, about 2,000 thunderstorms are growling, blowing, flashing and pouring across diverse global landscapes. Closer to home, Ontario has the highest thunderstorm frequency in Canada with a modest 30 to 35 yearly. The United States, however, wins this continental weather contest by a landslide: more than 100,000 strike the country annually. 

Did you know? Lighting strikes more than eight million times a day around the globe, which is almost a hundred bolts per second.

With violent summer storms come big risks to commercial properties. “Thunderstorms can be ferocious and destructive, packing high winds and lightning, and their severity is increasing as our climate changes,” says Mickey McHenry, President of Paul Davis of South Atlanta, Central Georgia, Northeast Georgia, and Lanier Isles. “But we find that most commercial property damage comes from flooding. Rainfall can top five inches per hour in extreme storms, so it’s easy to see why.”

Did you know? At 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, a lightning bolt is five times hotter than the sun’s surface.

As with many risks confronting commercial properties and businesses, prevention is the best management strategy. Paul Davis recommends concentrating on four areas. 

First, pay attention to smart construction and design. Floodproofing begins with properly siting the building footprint, continues through flood-resistant building material choices and includes siting critical building systems above flood levels. Any new construction should take flood risks into account.

Second, maintain roofs, gutters and landscaping. Roofing materials and gutters should be tight to the building, clear of debris and emptying away from foundations. Landscaping can be contoured and sloped to help channel floodwaters away from the property.

Did you know? Storms sometimes rain frogs, fish and objects because strong winds propel objects into the air. In 2010, an Australian town reported a school of fish falling from the sky.

Third, talk to your insurance agent about your flood insurance coverage. Many typical property insurance policies no longer cover flood damage; those risks must be covered under separate policies. While you’re talking to your insurers, ask about business continuity insurance, too.

Did you know? It’s dangerous to use water during a thunderstorm. Lightning coursing through plumbing has killed or shocked people unwisely showering, washing dishes and doing laundry as a storm raged.

The fourth area of focus? “Find a disaster recovery partner who can arrive within hours of a call for help to board up if necessary, restore delicate electronics and more,” McHenry urges. “Paul Davis is ready to talk about flooding risks to your commercial property now, before your local skies darken.”