Severe weather warnings multiplying as spring gets underway

During the first week of April, forecasts put about 40 million Americans—more than 10 percent of the country's population—at risk of experiencing severe weather. Nine tornadoes were confirmed during that week, according to AccuWeather's Kristen Rodman. They were spread across Missouri, Kansas and Texas.

Extensive hail damage was also reported in some areas. The Insurance Council of Texas estimated that as many as 12,000 homes in the state were damaged by a storm on April 3. Total property damage was reportedly about $300 million, although Denton County emergency management director Jody Gonzalez told the Dallas News that up to 40 percent of that figure was for vehicles.

This bout of stormy weather came on the 40th anniversary of the "Super Tornado Outbreak of April 1974," which was one of the largest tornado outbreaks ever recorded, with 148 tornadoes confirmed in 13 states. The only larger event, which included 358 confirmed tornadoes, occurred in 2011.

Even though most events do not reach the scale of these historic storm systems, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski notes that even a single tornado can pose a tremendous risk to residential properties if it touches down in a densely populated area.

Modern forecasting methods may give property owners more warning when they are at risk from severe weather, but there is only so much a person can do to prevent their home from being damaged by a tornado or a major hail storm. Having adequate insurance coverage is essential in these situations. If an insurer's replacement cost estimate for a residential property is not accurate and the home is severely damaged, the owner may have to pay out of pocket to rebuild the same structure or rebuild less than what they had before.