Articles Posted in Hurricane Damage

If Tropical Storm Nicole knocks out your power, you want to make sure that you and your emergency generator are ready.

A portable generator can be your best mechanical friend if you have lost power during a hurricane or storm, but it can also cause serious harm if you do not know what you are doing.

It is critical that you know how to use a generator properly. Here are some tips to help you use a generator safely:


  • Start your machine and run it for a short period of time periodically throughout the year, so you know that the machine is working properly and ready to go when you need it.
  • Check the oil frequently.
  • Have fresh fuel on hand to power your generator. If your generator runs on gas, then you will need to plan for about 21 gallons a day for it to operate 24 hours.
  • Check your generator’s capacity before you power any devices. If your combined wattage for devices that you are powering exceed the capacity of your generator, then this is a recipe for disaster.
  • Make sure your extension cords are heavy-duty and properly grounded.
  • If you want to connect an emergency generator to your home’s main electrical system, then make sure you hire a qualified technician to install a transfer switch.


  • Keep a running generator in your garage or inside your home. Generators need to be at least 15 feet away from enclosed structures as they emit odorless carbon monoxide exhaust fumes that can be deadly.
  • Keep fuel stored in your home or garage near appliances, like a water heater, furnace, or any other potentially combustible appliances.
  • Power a generator directly to your home’s electrical box as this is a fire hazard.
  • Run a generator in rain. Electrical panels that get wet could not only damage the machine, but deliver an electric shock.
  • Refuel a generator when it is running. If fuel spills on a hot motor, then this can spark and explosion or fire.

If you have any power outages or downed power lines in New Port Richey, then you can report them to Duke Energy at 800-228-8485, or call 911 immediately. You can also text OUT to 57801 or report the outage online here. Remember, never touch a power line or anything in contact with it. Pasco County now has an online tool where you can report structural damage to homes and businesses, storm debris and fallen trees, and human needs like food, water, clothing, and shelter. Simply click on “Report Damage & Debris.” This is the quickest way to get help after a hurricane or tropical storm. Residents of Pasco County can also report storm damage on the county’s website., by downloading the MyPasco App in the App Store or on Google Play or by calling 727-847-2411. Continue reading

The damage from Hurricane Ida is still being felt by those in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast as they are still without power, water, and unable to get necessary supplies for what could be days or even weeks. Many are still not able to return back to their homes. With the peak of hurricane season being September 10 and continue through November, there are still more storms that could affect Floridians, including Larry, Mindy, and Nicholas. Our Pasco County Hurricane Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to remind everyone to have an emergency plan ready should you need to evacuate for any of the remaining storms for the 2021 hurricane season.

The National Weather Service names the hurricanes for the season alphabetically at the start of hurricane season in June. “I” for Ida was the ninth storm of the season, and “L” is up next with Hurricane Larry, followed by “M” for Hurricane Mindy and “N” for Hurricane Nicholas. Hurricane Larry is anticipated to bring major damage, just liked Hurricane Ida, but as of now Larry is not projected to hit the United States, however it could bring strong rip currents and rain to Florida beaches. Hurricane Larry is being labeled a Category 3 or higher, and growing more intense rather quickly, gaining 35 mph in wind speed in 24 hours or less.

storm-426787_1920-300x198Hurricane Larry could be like Hurricane Ida that quickly went from a Category 1 Hurricane to a Category 4 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Ida went 85 mph to 150 mph in less than 24 hours. With that level of intensity, it is important for all Floridians to have an emergency plan ready to go in case a hurricane or tropical storm brings about property damage.

The hurricane season for 2021 has been a busy one already, and if you look at what 2020 brought you can see a pattern of more intense storms than ever before. In 2020 the U.S. saw 30 named storms, including 14 hurricanes (7 of which were major storms), 11 named storms that hit the U.S. coastline, and then Greek letters that were used to round out the remainder of the hurricanes and storms for the season.

Storm names for the remainder of the 2021 hurricane season are: 

  • Larry
  • Mindy
  • Nicholas
  • Odette
  • Peter
  • Rose
  • Sam
  • Teresa
  • Victor
  • Wanda

How Do You Handle a Hurricane Claim for Your Home or Business Following a Hurricane or Tropical Storm?

Once a tropical storm or hurricane has damaged your home or business property, you may think that the logical move is to contact your insurance company and then get paid to repair or fix any issues caused by the storm. Sadly, it is not always this simple and you could be met with reluctance from your insurance company to pay you anything for the damages a hurricane brought. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not losing it, so they will often deny claims, even ones that are legitimate. And while your insurance provider may provide you with a lengthy list of reasons why they are denying your claim, our Pasco County Hurricane Claim Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you understand what steps need to be taken in order to secure the financial compensation your hurricane claim deserves. Continue reading

2020 is one of the most active storm seasons ever in the waters around the State of Florida, the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea.


Florida Property insurance policies typically have two deductibles. A standard deductible for most losses; and a hurricane deductible. The standard “Other Perils” deductible is for pretty much anything covered by the policy, such as fire, pipe bursts and appliance related water damage claims, or windstorms, etc. The hurricane deductible only applies to named Hurricanes. The last major hurricane to hit Florida was Hurricane Michael in the panhandle on October 10, 2018; and more recently in the western portions of the Florida panhandle for Hurricane Sally on September 16, 2020, and Hurricane Zeta on October 28, 2020. Hurricane deductibles are typically 2 or 3 percent of the limit of the insurance for the home which is a lot higher than the standard deductible for all other claims. The Eta storm of November 2020 started off in South Florida counties like Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County as a Tropical Storm (not a hurricane). But as storms in Florida do, things changed, and the weather system chased west back into the Gulf of Mexico where it was reclassified as a Hurricane for a short period of time before heading back to the Nature Coast across Florida again as a Tropical Storm.

key-west-81664_1920-1-300x199DON’T GET FOOLED BY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY!

First, an insurer may rush to slap a hurricane deductible on your claim when it should not apply because a Tropical Storm is not a hurricane. Second (and this is really the most important!), Insurers in Florida have often told their customers after a storm that unless they absolutely know that their damage is more than their hurricane deductible, then they should not even put in a claim. There are many reasons why this is terrible advice and a bad business practice by insurance companies. As the policyholder, it is not your job to know the exact amount of damage you have in the weeks following a severe storm. You also may discover that the storm caused much more damage than you initially thought or could see in the days following the hurricane. Many Floridians have fallen for the insurers gambit only to attempt to make their claims later on and be told its too late to make the claim.

If you believe you have Hurricane or Tropical Storm damage from any of these strong weather systems that brought havoc to Florida, please call us and we can assist you in determining which deductible applies, assist you with determining the actual extent of the damage to your home, and provide needed guidance through the process with your insurance company.

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Hurricane season officially begins June 1st, peaks September 10th, and officially ends November 30th. Our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have compiled some helpful information on being prepared for any tropical storms and hurricanes that occur during the season and appropriate steps to take in the event you have a home, business, or property that is affected by a storm.

List of 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Names:

  • Andrea
  • Barry
  • Chantal
  • Dorian
  • Erin
  • Fernand
  • Gabrielle
  • Humberto
  • Imelda
  • Jerry
  • Karen
  • Lorenzo
  • Melissa
  • Nestor
  • Olga
  • Pablo
  • Rebekah
  • Sebastien
  • Tanya
  • Van
  • Wendy

While there’s no way to prevent a tropical storm or hurricane, you should take steps to protect your loved ones and property from a storm. Our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melon are committed to making New Port Richey, Dade City, Zephyrhills, Land O’Lakes, Hudson, Holiday, Lutz, Trinity and Wesley Chapel a safe place for all. Below we have outlined some practical safety measures, and how we can help you rebuild after a hurricane, like Hurricane Dorian.

Hurricane Preparedness for Homeowners & Property Owners

It is very important for homeowners to keep proper records of their property’s condition in the event that it is necessary to file a claim through their insurance company.

Before a Tropical Storm or Hurricane:

  • Take pictures of your property.
  • If you are not able to get any pictures before a storm, collect the most recent photos you have taken of your property.

After the Tropical Storm or Hurricane:

  • Once it is safe to do so, take pictures of your property’s interior, exterior, and roof.
  • Before making any statements to your insurance company or meeting with an adjuster, consult with an attorney who can handle insurance claims.
  • Homeowners should get an inspection performed by a qualified contractor and/or roofer to assess whether the hurricane force winds have damaged or diminished the roofing system.

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There is nothing that can compare to the helplessness we feel after a hurricane. We are unable to stop or limit the outcome of these natural disasters, like Hurricane Irma headed our way. While we can all take protective measures to help reduce the amount of damage Irma might cause to our property, there are no guarantees of what could happen.

Hurricanes are totally unpredictable and can cause wind damage, water damage, destroy vehicles and homes, and leave behind massive amounts of other problems to your home or property. You could be facing a whole laundry list of issues that force you to file a claim with your insurance company, only to find that your valid claims are denied or hardly paid for by your insurance company.

An insurance company’s job is to take in as much money as possible and pay out as little as they can. Regardless of what your policy says, insurance adjusters will offer the minimum or make you a “lowball” offer when it comes to covering damage to your property. To remedy this situation, talk to our New Port Richey Hurricane Claims Attorney at Whittel & Melton regarding your options for flood damage.

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