• December 7, 2022

It’s time to prepare for winter – and, potentially, more extreme weather

Storm Arwen struck the UK in the last days of November 2021, bringing gusts of 100 mph and heavy snowfalls that affected an estimated 1 million homes. Hexham, 25 miles west of Newcastle, in the North East of England, and Aberdeen, Moray and Angus in northeastern Scotland were among the worst affected, with the Met Office describing the event as one of the most powerful and damaging winter storms of the latest decade.

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Winter storms batter the UK

Just ten days after Storm Arwen, Storm Barra made landfall in the UK, felling trees, and leaving thousands of homes without power. Storms Malik and Corrie followed in close succession, sweeping across the North East of England and Northern Scotland. With winter once again officially upon us, it’s time to start preparing for harsher and less predictable weather conditions.

Stay informed about the weather

Install a weather app on your phone or check for weather bulletins online or on the radio. BBC Radio 4 broadcasts weather bulletins daily and there are a range of weather apps available. You can also check for weather warnings on the Met Office website.

Check that your property is in good repair

You can do a lot to reduce the risk of damage from severe weather, starting with an external inspection of your property. Use binoculars to check the roof, look for dislodged and broken slates or tiles, and replace any damaged ones. Rendered walls should be kept in good condition with no cracks and coated with a high-quality masonry paint.

If your property is particularly exposed, consider installing a lightning conductor to protect the structure from lightning strikes. It's good practice, too, at various times throughout the year to give any trees on your property a thorough check. The main thing to look for is if any trees are damaged or diseased and in danger of losing branches or falling over.

Ensure gutters, aerials, and satellite dishes are secured

Clear any moss, leaves, and grit from gutters, especially where they meet the downpipes. Blocked gutters are a common cause of household flooding. Check that all lead flashing (the strips that cover joins between the walls and the roof) is weather-tight and in good condition. Ensure that your aerial or satellite dish is fitted securely. Poorly maintained satellite dishes and aerials can become detached in stormy conditions and pose a danger to people and property. Always seek a professional’s help if you suspect that your satellite dish or aerial needs attention. 

Don’t delay in contacting your insurer if you do suffer storm damage

Most insurers provide a 24-hour emergency helpline, so contact your insurer as soon as possible for advice and start the claim process. If necessary, arrange for any temporary repairs to be made to prevent the storm damage from worsening. Remember to keep receipts, as they will form part of your claim.

For further guidance on keeping your homes and businesses safe this winter, call your local Clear branch. 

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