Rural areas warned to prepare for Storm Doris

Storm Doris is on the way.
Storm Doris is on the way.
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With the Met Office issuing an Amber National Severe Weather Warning for Storm Doris on Thursday 23 February, leading rural insurer NFU Mutual has issued a storm checklist to help country people prepare.

The Met Office has said that Storm Doris could see strong winds across the UK, with isolated gusts of up to 80mph in northern England and Wales. Central England and Wales are expecting heavy rain in addition to winds of 50-60mph, while the Met Office has predicted snow in Scotland and the far north of England.

Strong winds in rural areas can cause significant damage as farms and homes are situated on higher ground and less protected by other buildings. Rural areas can be prone to power cuts with lines brought down by high winds and fallen trees.

Tim Price, Rural affairs specialist, NFU Mutual

Six years ago, very heavy snow across Scotland and the north of England led to hundreds of farm building roofs collapsing and many claims for burst pipe damage in homes and commercial buildings.

“Strong winds in rural areas can cause significant damage as farms and homes are situated on higher ground and less protected by other buildings. Rural areas can be prone to power cuts with lines brought down by high winds and fallen trees,” said Tim Price, rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual.

“It’s important that people are prepared if severe weather strikes and our priority is to provide immediate, practical assistance to our customers.”

The extreme weather of storms Desmond, Eva and Frank, totalled £50 million in claims to NFU Mutual alone.

Tim Price added: “We’ve revised our emergency claims plans so that we continue to get to policyholders quickly through our 300-strong network of agents in towns and villages across the UK. This means making significant interim payments as quickly as possible, helping arrange emergency accommodation and getting properties surveyed and repairs started without delay.”

While it’s impossible to predict the extent of severe weather, preparation can help prevent damage and limit the recovery time from extreme events.

Preparing for a storm:

At home

* Stay alert for Met Office Severe Weather warnings

* Don’t risk injury by attempting to clear snow from roofs or attempting emergency repairs to while the storm is raging

* Prepare for power cuts and make sure you have torches, batteries and that generators are ready

* Park your car in the garage if possible

* Secure outdoor garden furniture

* In flood-prone areas, plan how you can move valuables upstairs or raise them from ground level

* Make sure you have you insurer’s emergency helpline available

In the car

* Plan journeys carefully, check the weather forecast and only drive if necessary

* Check your tyres, as well as the levels of your engine oil, coolant and screenwasher fluid. Making sure your lights and battery are in good working order is also important

* Keep a torch, blanket, warm clothing, sensible footwear, a bottle of water and a chocolate bar or two in the car

* Make sure your mobile telephone is fully charged, and tune into the radio to keep up to date about road conditions

* Check you have emergency breakdown cover and the contact details – this may be part of your insurance policy

For further information on weather precautions visit the NFU Mutual website: www.nfumutual.co.uk