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Tips: how to weather the summer storms

Saturday - 6/21/2014, 1:53am  ET

tree_725 WTOP
A tree leans on a house on Belle View and 10th in the Belle View neighborhood of Fairfax County after a major storm Thursday morning. Safety officials have been around the area taping off unsafe areas and downed power lines. (WTOP/Kristi King)

Expert: preparation is key to keeping you -- and your wallet -- safe

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WASHINGTON -- Storms on Thursday rolled over Fairfax County in Northern Virginia, knocking down trees and throwing out power for thousands of customers in the region.

No one was injured, officials say, but the storm's devastation, which came as a surprise amid an otherwise trouble-free summer weather season, underscores that preparation isn't such a bad thing, even when the sunny days never seem to end.

Related Story: Fairfax County community cleans up debris after storm (Photos)

"Make sure your cell phone is charged, make sure your car has a full tank of gas," says Kiplinger Personal Finance editor Janet Bodnar. It's not a bad idea to start trimming some trees, too. "If a tree does fall on your house it is your insurer that is going to pay for it, but if the insurer decides you've been negligent and that you haven't really trimmed the tree properly, they may not want to pay up."

If you are prone to a lot of power outages, Bodnar said it might be time to start thinking about a home generator, the average of which can cost about $4,000 and another $3,500-$4,000 to install.

WTOP reporter Paula Wolfson contributed to this report

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