• September 20, 2020

BBB: Storm chaser warning - Odessa American: Business

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BBB: Storm chaser warning

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Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2020 5:00 am

At over 260,000 square miles, Texas spans over several different regions with different climates. From hurricanes to tornadoes, with thunderstorms and wildfires in between, Texas consistently ranks in the top 10 states affected by extreme weather, according to the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies (NCICS).

The aftermath of severe weather often includes scammers looking to take advantage of consumers. “Storm chasers” are untrustworthy contractors that travel to areas affected by storms and go door to door offering to repair damages. After being paid up front, the storm chasers leave without finishing, or sometimes beginning, the project.

Along with the usual concerns associated with severe weather, 2020 brings a new challenge in the form of COVID-19. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) warns that the pandemic can affect your ability to prepare for incoming hurricanes. Use these tips from the National Weather Service (NWS) and your Better Business Bureau to prepare for storms and storm chasers:

Check your insurance policy. Contact your insurance agent every year to review what your policy covers and if you need more coverage. If you are preparing for an incoming storm, you should also take a detailed inventory of items in your home to make any necessary claims process more efficient.

Create a disaster kit. In weather like hurricanes, tornadoes or flash flooding, power may be lost, or roads shut down. Create a kit with bottled water, flashlights, batteries and nonperishable foods. Make sure your kit includes supplies for pets and infants, as well as prescription medications. Visit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at ready.gov/kit for a full list of disaster kit supplies.

Prepare your home. Minimize damage by tying or weighing down any items that could get blown away in strong winds. Cover windows and doors with impact-resistant shutters and be sure all entrances are tightly sealed against water. You should also prepare an evacuation plan with your family in the event you need to leave your home.

Watch for storm chasers. After a storm hits and damage has been assessed, be wary of contractors going door to door in your area. Storm chasers often use high-pressure tactics, like offering a great deal that is only available that day. Ask any contractor that comes to your door for references or visit BBB.org to find trustworthy businesses to repair damage to your home or property.

Plan ahead. Because of COVID-19, supplies may be low and evacuation plans may need to be adjusted. The sooner you begin preparing for severe weather in your area, the easier it will be to handle the aftermath.

You can’t control the weather, but you can prepare for it! Visit BBB.org/storm for more tips on choosing a trustworthy contractor and ready.gov/severe-weather to learn more about storm preparedness.

Odessa, TX

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