Each year, the spring and summer months bring severe weather concerns regarding tornadoes, tropical storms, and hurricanes. However, this year has already proven to be quite different due to the unexpected impact on Texas and other southern states from Winter Storm Uri and other winter weather events. The unprecedented winter storms combined with an increasingly active tornado season have many concerned for the upcoming severe weather season.
Severe Weather Season Concerns
Many residents across the Texas Panhandle continued to feel the effects of the freeze left by Winter Storm Uri well into March. While this is normally a time when Texans are enjoying the first bouts of warm weather, the continued cold in some parts of the Lone Star State have led to concerns about whether these weather events could have an impact on this year’s severe weather season.
Colder weather conditions aren’t the only weather events that have already had a major impact on the Panhandle area this year. In fact, the Panhandle experienced seven tornadoes just a few weeks ago and 5.7 total inches of snow on top of more than a quarter-inch of rainfall, according to the National Weather Service office.
The blizzard the Panhandle endured earlier this month was an event that the National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologists called somewhat rare. This is because the area had two very powerful winter storm systems arrive one after another. With the severe weather season just beginning, current weather patterns could signal the potential for more dangerous storms this year.
Historically, in the tornado producing spring months, El Niño springs have been quite common. El Niño refers to a climate pattern typically peaking around December that pushes warm water toward the West Coast. The warmer waters caused by El Niño move the Pacific jet stream south of its neutral position resulting in warmer and dryer climates in the northern U.S. and wetter climates in the southern portion of the country.
Despite the commonality of El Niño springs, however, these warm and cold weather patterns are now transitioning to La Niña. La Niña is another climate pattern that is active primarily in the late fall, winter, and early spring months. It is often marked by cooler-than-average ocean water in the central Pacific Ocean. This concentrates hot and humid air over the southern portion of the country, setting up a strong temperature gradient that favors storm formation.
According to meteorologists, the transition from El Niño to La Niña springs has shown signs of increased severe weather systems as well as an earlier start to the severe weather season. Meteorologists have speculated that while there is more moisture on the ground, it will allow the dryline (the boundary that separates the moist air mass from the dry air mass) a chance to set up further west, leading to more storm activity in Texas.
Commercial Insurance Coverage For Severe Weather Season
A severe weather season triggers many concerns for business owners and they should ensure they have adequate insurance coverage should property damage occur. Some of the most important insurance coverage options to have in place during this time are discussed below.
Wind and Hail Coverage
Severe and destructive wind and hailstorms can seemingly crop up at any time, making it especially important for commercial property owners to have wind and hail coverage. Typically, wind and hail insurance claims are covered in standard commercial insurance policies, which can help reimburse business owners for damaged property, including equipment and supplies. Furthermore, a business owner’s policy can assist small business owners in bundling commercial property policies with general liability insurance. This bundling of policies can provide additional help with property damage claims by potentially allowing for additional coverage at a lower cost for physical damage to the business should a wind and hailstorm occur.
Most commercial property insurance policies do not include coverage for flood losses. Commercial property owners should purchase separate flood coverage, especially if a business is located in a flood-prone area. Typically these policies can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program, as well as through private insurance providers, to obtain coverage for hurricane flood damage, rain, storm surges, and snow melts.
Commercial Income Coverage
In the event a storm leaves a business inoperable for a period of time, expenses will keep accruing even when earning income stops. Loss of income can be more detrimental to a business than property damage. Loss of income is one of the main factors when businesses close for good after a severe storm. Having adequate business income insurance may help commercial property owners avoid closure by providing coverage for lost revenue, payroll, and other expenses that help keep the business afloat.
Texas Commercial Property Coverage Attorneys
With a potentially more active severe weather season upon us, it’s incredibly important for commercial property owners to take the time to fully assess their current insurance policies. While some business owners may have the necessary coverage in place when a severe weather event occurs, insurance companies will still try to take advantage of vulnerable commercial property owners. At Raizner Law, we understand the various tactics insurers use to delay, underpay, or flat-out deny valid insurance claims. If your commercial property was damaged by severe weather and your claim was wrongfully denied, delayed, or grossly underpaid, we can help. Contact our office today to see how we can best assist with your claim.