Hurricane Sally left 500,000 without power!

Hurricane Sally came through! The most severe wind damage seemed to be limited to areas near the coast or open bay waters.  What I saw was mostly minor damage to roofs and siding, seldom structural, let alone catastrophic.  At one point though, more than 500,000 residents were without power in Florida and neighboring Alabama, where the Cat 2 storm made official landfall, with maximum winds of 105 mph and up to 30 inches of rainfall.  Storm surge was upwards of 7 feet in coastal Escambia County (Pensacola) and adjacent Baldwin County, Alabama.

AIR Worldwide, the Verisk catastrophe risk modeling firm, estimates Sally’s insured losses will range from $1 billion to $3 billion, with wind representing the majority of losses.  This is exclusive of National Flood Insurance Program losses, which are expected to be especially steep in Alabama, given more than two thirds of flood coverage there is federal.  AIR’s estimates include residential, commercial, industrial, and automobile property losses including contents.  Last Monday includes pictures of flood inundation of upwards of three feet in downtown Pensacola and exclusive drone video and images from a few hours after Sally made landfall on September 16.  You’ll also see the unfortunate damage caused by a loose barge to the newly built southbound span of the Pensacola Bay Bridge, linking Pensacola to Gulf Breeze, on the barrier beach.


Two big trees that seemed to know to fall away from nearby townhouses in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally in Pensacola, FL, September 21, 2020.


FEMA last week approved a major disaster declaration for the storm.  It includes public assistance for all categories in Escambia County and public assistance Category B (emergency protective measures) for Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Washington counties.  The Florida Division of Emergency Management is continuing to conduct damage assessments in the 12 counties that did not receive all categories of Public Assistance.  The Division is also conducting damage assessments at individual residences and businesses and will continue to work with FEMA to apply for Individual Assistance.

The Governor has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to support small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sally.  The program provides short-term loans up to $50,000, or in special cases $100,000, if warranted by the needs of the business.


Courtesy, AccuWeather

So we begin another process of filing and processing insurance claims.  The state has activated the Emergency Adjuster Licensing System to boost the number of insurance adjusters available to help residents with claims.  There are more than 150,000 adjusters currently licensed in Florida.  This activation allows insurance companies to bring in catastrophe adjusters from other states to help handle the increased demand.  Sally was the eighth named Atlantic storm to make landfall in the U.S. this hurricane season.

Contact Jones Family Insurance for all your Insurance needs. Serving Punta Gorda and Fort Myers Florida.

Hurricane Myths in Southwest Florida

We’ve all heard of some quick and easy remedies for protecting our homes during hurricane season, but how many of them actually work?

Here are some common hurricane myths and how they can actually do more harm than good:

1. Putting masking tape or window film over windows will prevent window damage and protect my home during a hurricane.

False. Putting tape over your windows may prevent the glass from shattering into small pieces inside your home but the glass can shatter regardless. Only impact-resistant coverings can fully protect your home during a windstorm.

2. Cracking open windows will allow wind pressure inside to equal the pressure outside.

False. Not only will leaving your windows open get the inside of your home wet, but it is also dangerous. Experts agree it’s important to prevent wind from entering your home and creating something called internal pressurization. For the most protection, keep all windows or doors sealed during a storm.

3. You only need to protect windows and doors facing the ocean.

False. All windows and doors need to be covered by impact-resistant shutters or 5/8-inch plywood. Wind can come from all directions and can change direction unexpectedly, and leaving any opening uncovered can put your family and home in harm’s way.

4. If the power goes out, you should light candles.

False. Never use candles, gas or oil lanterns indoors during a hurricane. You can risk causing a fire or ignition. If a fire starts during a hurricane, firefighters will be less likely to respond in a timely manner, and you can risk serious damage to your home. Without proper ventilation, lighting candles can put your family at a higher risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use battery-powered flashlights if the power goes out.

5. Once a hurricane passes, life returns to normal.

Depending on the severity of the storm and the damage, it could take days, weeks or even months before the power comes back. The strongest winds may have died down, but tornadoes, rain, and flooding can occur after a hurricane. It’s important to have enough supplies to last at least a month after a storm.

6. Water stored in bathtubs/sinks can be used as drinking water.

False. Water stored in bathtubs and sinks should never be ingested. Lead from the bathtub can get into the water over time, making them unsafe for drinking. They should only be used for cleaning purposes.

7. You can go outside during the eye of the hurricane.

False. Due to the light winds, people think it’s safe to go outside during the eye of a storm. There is no way to tell how long these winds will last. Strong winds can return quickly from different directions. Outside wreckage, like down power lines, can pose an additional danger. The safest thing to do is to stay indoors, no matter how calm it looks outside.