TEXAS, USA — With severe weather recently hitting parts of Texas, many homeowners are gearing up for storm season this upcoming spring.
Monday's tornado that tore through parts of Jacksboro received an EF-3 rating, according to the National Weather Service Office out of Fort Worth. Survey teams confirmed 10 total tornadoes hit the North Texas area.
Several cities suffered heavy damage from an intense line of storms that moved through the area in the early evening hours. Those same storms continued into East Texas, causing damage, power outages and a threat of flash flooding.
Here are some ways you can prepare for severe weather.
What you need to know about insurance
With a likely influx of insurance claims happening soon after this recent stretch of severe weather, it's important not to procrastinate doing so, according to Texas Department of Insurance spokesperson Ben Gonzalez said.
“There's going to be a lot of people filing claims so you want to get in that queue as soon as possible," Gonzalez said. "That means calling your insurance company as soon as possible to report the claim and tell them that there was damage there."
Homeowners and property owners should take plenty of pictures and videos of any damage. Also, experts say to keep a list of everyone you talk to at your insurance company.
While you wait for final repairs, take steps to prevent more damage by covering broken windows or patching holes in the roof to keep water from getting inside. However, only make temporary repairs and save your receipts, according to the Texas Department of Insurance.
When the adjuster comes, do your best to be home, Gonzalez said. Even if that means putting a note on your door, asking the insurance company to call you so you can return home to show them the damage.
“You know your home the best so you know where the damage was or what's different than it was the day before,” Gonzalez said. “So you can be there to point out where you had damage and also to make sure that nothing is missed.
The Texas Department of Insurance suggests using local contractors if you can. You should also try to get multiple bids for the repairs.
“That'll help you determine which ones are too high or maybe just too good to be true,” Gonzalez said.
For more tips, click here.
The safest place to hide in your house
“If last night you were getting the warning on your phone and you started to scramble to find the best place to go, you've waited too long,” Fort Worth Fire’s Emergency Management Officer Kristen O’Hare said.
Make sure your family knows where your storm shelter is: Look for your most interior room on the first floor of the house with no windows: It could be a bathroom, closet or pantry, according to O’Hare.
Registering your tornado shelter
“When a storm comes through and first responders don't know that you have that shelter, that poses a little bit of an issue because they're going to be looking for you elsewhere, not actually in that shelter,” O’Hare said. “If you are blocked in there due to debris, they won't know that you're in there.”
Register your Fort Worth tornado shelter here.
Fort Worth Fire's new alert system
If you heard the sirens from your Fort Worth home Monday and did not receive a phone call, text, or email, then you are not signed up for Fort Worth fire’s new alert system.
“Two weeks before COVID hit in 2020, we made the transition to what's called ‘Fort Worth Texas’ alerts. And you needed to reregister,” O’Hare said. “And because COVID happened, a lot of the media campaign to get folks to register for Fort Worth Texas Alerts didn't make it out or didn't hit peoples’ radar. So we are really pushing these Fort Worth Texas alerts.”
To register for Fort Worth Texas Alerts (emergency alert system), click here.