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What is windstorm damage?

Damaging winds are often called “straight-line” winds to differentiate the damage they cause from tornados. Most thunderstorm winds that cause damage at the ground are a result of outflow generated by a thunderstorm downdraft.

Damaging winds are classified as those exceeding 50-60 mph. Damage from severe thunderstorm winds account for half of all severe reports in the lower 48 states and is more common than damage from tornadoes. Wind speeds can reach up to 100 mph and can produce a damage path extending for hundreds of miles.

Since most thunderstorms produce some straight-line winds as a result of outflow generated by the thunderstorm downdraft, anyone living in thunderstorm-prone areas of the world is at risk for experiencing this hazard.

People living in mobile homes are especially at risk for injury and death. Even anchored mobile homes can be seriously damaged when winds gust over 80 mph. Windstorm insurance covers the types of excessively gusty events, such as hurricanes and cyclones but some policies might exclude this coverage.