Prepping and Securing your Outdoor Furniture for Natural Disasters
On August 25th, Hurricane Harvey strengthened into a Category 4 storm bringing catastrophic winds, storm surges, and flash floods to the Texas coast. Many businesses have been destroyed in the storm's wake, while hundreds of stranded residents had to be rescued from their homes due to rising waters. This has left the state with an estimated $70 billion dollars worth in property damage over the course of a weekend from major flooding from levee breaches.
Approximately one week later, catastrophic damage was dealt to Barbuda, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands as the massive Hurricane Irma barreled through as a Category 5. The Florida Keys also received a heavy hit as Hurricane Irma proceeded to cause a minimum of $50 billion in economic damages as a Category 4 before scaling up Florida’s west coast.
Following Hurricane Irma, on September 20th, Puerto Rico was ravaged by another Category 5 as Hurricane Maria completely destroyed the remaining electrical grid leaving no access to clean water and an additional $90 billion in damages.
Nearly one month before on July 23rd, a flash flood rampaged through Kirby Park in Nichols, New York, leaving the park virtually destroyed. Major structures and the pavilion remain intact, however slides were left completely damaged and furniture such as picnic tables, including one concrete table, drifted away nearly the full length of the park. Volunteers were called in to help with the cleanup and restoration of the park for the people within the small village.
It’s hard to predict when and where these major disasters will strike and even harder to prepare for when they do. There are certain precautions that can be taken to help protect your property; however, there are no definite solutions to shelter investments from these naturally occurring phenomena.
Bring Property Inside
Hurricanes can be extremely devastating, but luckily are very slow and to some extent predictable. Typically, the coast receives most of the threat from high winds, beach erosion, and strong storm surges. Though most hotels, business, and homeowners in these areas understand the precaution that needs to be addressed before the upcoming storm, it cannot be stressed enough of the importance of bringing any lightweight property inside before it gets too intense.
Furniture such as poolside chairs, umbrellas, tables, and chaise lounges need to be brought indoors before the hurricane winds turn them into projectiles. This is not only damaging to the furniture but harmful to nearby properties with glass or boarded windows, as they can potentially be stuck by these 10 lbs. missiles being hurled by winds speed at least 74 mph. Pool furniture can be thrown in the pool in desperate situations as the water will prevent the furniture from becoming airborne. However, this may lead to water damage to the furniture and will be much harder to heave out afterward, while avoiding debris. Other portable furniture such as benches and trash receptacles also need to be taken inside, if possible, due to the risk of being knocked down and swept away.
Hurricane season for the Atlantic side starts on June 1st and can run until November 30th with August, September, and October being the peak months. Watch your local weather station for updates on your location and prepare accordingly. Don’t wait until the last minute, as procrastination can have costly consequences.
Anchor Larger Property
Flash floods are sometimes not as easy to foresee. These sudden rapid waters usually occur from heavy rainfall or quick ice and snow melt in low-lying geographic areas. Even large property can be picked up and swept away for miles from strong currents, often leaving it in a state of disrepair. This natural disaster often comes with no warning or time for preparations, so the best course of action is to plan in advance for those in affected areas. By anchoring larger, heavier furniture, whether it is to the ground, a surface, or a fixed object like a tree, it will give the property a chance to survive the ordeal unharmed. Solid furniture may also have a better likelihood to survive.
Outdoor furniture with in-ground mounts, such as grills, picnic tables, and benches, often have a great advantage when it comes to stability and permanent placement. The extra weight from the concrete and surrounding grounds won’t allow the current to easily uproot and take the property away. In addition, the heavy-duty narrow metal frames that are often associated with inground outdoor furniture doesn’t give the water much mass to push, avoiding a majority of the flood’s strength.
Like inground mounts, surface mounted furniture that are secured to a concrete slab, often can hold their placement during a flood or high winds to avoid damage. High flood tides have little impact on tightened hardware that is fastened low to the ground. Portable furniture can be attached to a grounded object, such as a mounted pole or a well establish tree to prevent harm. Chains are the best solution as it is not easily weakened by water, however, ropes with a thick diameter will also work.
Concrete furniture can also be impervious to certain disasters. Even if it is not attached to the ground, the mass alone will, more than likely, keep the property stationary during strong winds and most flooding. The average concrete picnic table contains over 700 lbs. of solid concrete and rebar, approximately the same weight of a small boulder. Additionally, concrete is a sturdy, water-resistant material that has a better chance of weathering a storm than other alternative materials.
Despite taking all necessary care and choosing the best equipment to withstand flash floods and devastating winds, the furniture is only as stable as the ground its secured to. If the ground becomes too soft or if the currents are too strong, there are no definite ways to save your investments from Mother Nature’s strength. Debris is also an unpredictable hazard when it comes to protecting outdoor furniture. As stated before, if the water has limited mass to push, the frame will avoid most of the flood’s power. However, if uprooted trees and fallen limbs drift along the relentless currents and get snagged on the fixed furniture, this could cause damage or give enough leverage to budge and weaken the secured mounts. Even concrete tables and benches can drift away in extreme circumstances, as they did in Kirby Park’s flooding.
With these situations, it is always better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. By making early provisions, you can prevent some damage to your property and protect yourself from otherwise avoidable hardships.
If you have any questions or need advice when selecting the best commercial outdoor furniture for your location, call the experts at Furniture Leisure - 1-800-213-2401.