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High Wind Consequences and Cleanup

Most people living in the Chicago area are not strangers to high wind consequences and the cleanup that usually follows. Although Illinois is not among the windiest of states in the U.S., it can have some pretty big thunderstorms, and it certainly gets windy more than a couple of times a year. High winds can cause serious damage to buildings, surrounding infrastructure such as lights, and power lines. They can also topple even the tallest of trees if the conditions are right.

If you have experienced a bad storm and have damage to your building, it can be challenging to get everything cleaned up and back to the normal routine quickly. After all, no one is ever expecting to have to close up for any length of time to address the kinds of issues that can arise from high winds. The team at Brackenbox shares the following information to help you know what to look for after a storm and how to get back up and running as quickly and safely as possible.

Damaging winds

“Damaging winds” are classified by the National Severe Storms Laboratory as those that are over 50 to 60 miles per hour. Although winds of this speed are not the norm in Chicago, they certainly can take place during one of the thunderstorms that mark both spring and fall in the city and surrounding area. These storms can be severe and the cleanup afterward can take some time, depending on how they hit, how long they go on, and how high those winds are gusting.

Microbursts can be especially destructive to buildings. The column of air that comes down during this type of weather event is powerful, causing damage in its path. Tornadoes are yet another form of high wind that can cause serious damage to buildings and property.

All of these “winds” can rip shingles off of roofs and cause other severe problems for buildings both large and small. High winds can also pick up items and make them projectiles, breaking windows and denting doors. Once a storm or other weather event has come to a halt, it’s time to figure out next steps. Here are some tips for cleaning up and moving forward.

Take an inventory

The first step to take after high winds have come through is to check your building and see what damage has been done. Use caution when you make an initial inspection to ensure there aren’t any unsteady items or structural damage that can cause an accident. Also be wary of anything electrical, such as surrounding light posts, power lines, and other equipment. If any of those items look damaged or dangerous, consult the local fire department for professional assistance.

You may want to consider hiring an expert to perform a roof inspection to see if there is any damage to the structure and integrity of your roofing materials. Also take a look at all of the windows in your building, and do a quick walk around the structure itself to see if anything looks broken or damaged, or if items appear to be missing. Assessing the damage will help you figure out any next steps you need to take. In some cases this may be obvious, while in others the damage may be more hidden.

Any debris you find may help clarify issues, as well. For example, if you find shingles on the property, you can safely assume there may be some roof damage. Glass shards can indicate broken windows. Remember, though, that the things you find may not necessarily be close to the actual damage. High winds can carry items across pretty good distances.

Create a plan for cleanup

Once you know the extent of the damage, you’ll want to decide how to attack the cleanup of any debris on site to help make way for any repairs, and to move back toward being fully functional as a business. If there is not a lot of material on site, you may be able to put it out for regular collection in the trash. However, if you have large items or a lot of debris to manage, renting a roll-off dumpster is a smart move. If you size the container correctly, you can get rid of all the waste in one pickup. In addition, loading debris into a dumpster reduces hazards to employees and anyone else who is on site at your property.

Be sure to use caution when you are moving debris from one place to another, as you don’t know how things are stacked, what may be underneath, or if there are any dangerous items on the ground. When high winds hit, everything gets strewn around, so things may not always be where you expect them to be. If you aren’t sure what size container you need, the team at Brackenbox is happy to help estimate it for you. Just give our office in Chicago a call.