El Niño winter expected for the first time since 2016
Mary Anne Byrd
Public Relations Manager
Richburg, SC, Nov. 16, 2023 – With winter fast approaching, now is the time for home and business owners to take action and prepare their properties for severe winter weather. Guidance from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) can help prevent costly damage and disruption when freezing temperatures and wintry precipitation arrive.
“Due to El Niño, this winter will be unlike those experienced in recent years across the U.S., which have been driven by three consecutive La Niña events,” says Sarah Dillingham, senior meteorologist at IBHS. “NOAA predicts above-average precipitation and a more active weather pattern across the Southeast and above average temperatures in the northern tier. The Midwest has equal chances of seeing a busy winter with frequent storminess or a quiet season with little precipitation. Regional details like those will become clearer as we enter the season, but property owners can take steps now to protect against both the most common damage caused by winter weather and risks that may differ from past years.”
- Keep water out: The roof is the first line of defense against severe weather. Start here, ensuring the roof, gutters and downspouts of your home or business are well maintained and clear of debris. This will allow water to freely run off the building and reduce the chance of leaking that leads to costly interior water damage. Next, cover outdoor plumbing, insulate water spigots and winterize sprinklers to reduce the chance of pipes freezing and bursting.
- Keep warmth in: In the event of a power outage, indoor temperatures can drop quickly to dangerous levels. Proper insulation is key to keeping your home or business warm, so ahead of cold temperatures, check insulation in the attic to ensure it is still sufficient. Seal gaps and cracks that can allow heat to escape by caulking around windows and adding weather-stripping around external doors. On particularly cold days, or if you experience a power outage, open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach pipes adjacent to exterior walls and let faucets drip.
- Keep track: Create an inventory by taking photos of the contents of your home or business, including furnishings and personal items, and store them in the cloud so you can access them from anywhere. This will make filing an insurance claim easier if you do experience damage due to a winter-related event.
“As the holiday season approaches, now is the time to address your home’s vulnerabilities so you can focus on what’s most important,” adds Dillingham. “It takes only one winter storm to uproot a family or business and disrupt your day-to-day life. Yet, much of this damage can be avoided with simple actions to prepare vulnerable areas of a property.”
For more ways to prepare your property to prevent damage from winter weather, IBHS’s full residential and commercial Winter Ready guides, along with easy-to-follow downloadable checklists, are available on IBHS.org.
About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
The IBHS mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss. Learn more at IBHS.org.