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Florida, South Carolina and Georgia Brace Themselves for Hurricane Matthew

As Hurricane Matthew strengthens and heads out of Bahamas to the US east coast, 2 million people who reside in Florida, Carolina and Georgia are bracing themselves for the category 4 storm. Even though the eye of the storm is expected to hit Florida directly, other US states in the southeastern part are still at risk of being hit. The storm will hit the east coast and breeze through land on Thursday and Friday and tropical storms may last until Saturday afternoon as the storm heads north.

The governors of the 3 states, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, have declared a state of emergency due to the danger posed by the storm. The last hurricane to hit the US coastlines was Hurricane Wilma in 2005, which resulted in the death of 35 people and damage to property worth $ 20 billion.

The National Weather Service predicts that the storm will hit Orlando on Friday, 7th October morning with powerful winds than what it faced in 2004 with Hurricane Charley. It is expected that the worst hit will take place at 5 am Friday morning, with the lead up to it starting late Thursday evening.

The Weather Underground predicted that the assault of the storm will start on Thursday night with torrential rains and high winds, which could result in a lot of damage. Other areas that are under hurricane warning include Osceola, Seminole, Volusia and Orange counties.

Even though the storm dumped several inches of rain in Haiti, it is expected that it will not rain as much in the US as it did in Haiti, so widespread flooding is not expected. However, the South Florida Water Management District still lowered water in its canal systems throughout the region to minimize chances of flooding in case they get more rain than expected. Nevertheless, it is predicted that the storm will dump a few inches of rain water in some areas. Rainfall in several counties could reach up to several inches high, with possibilities of it getting to 10 inches in Brevard or up to 8 inches in Orlando.

Various Southeastern ports in Florida were closed. This includes the ports of Miami, Port of Palm Beach, Miami River, and Port Everglades among others. No ships are allowed to dock and there is no traffic coming in or going out of the ports.

Florida Power and Light, which is the biggest supplier of electricity in the state stated that it had 4, 000 workers on standby, ready to perform any repairs to damages brought about by the hurricane. Gas stations, department stores and home improvement stores also experienced high sales, as people stocked up in preparation for the storm.

There is a possibility that the storm could loop back to the south after it has gotten off Georgia or North Carolina, which means that there could be another storm run in Florida a week after the current storm passes through.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season is Ramping Up, What This Means for Florida

Florida has been hit by the hurricane weather successively for a 10 years record starting from 2005. The hurricane season in Florida typically last from the 1st of June to 30th November with August being the most active months. There have been 37 hurricanes that hit Florida up to date and the busiest year was 2010 in which there was reportedly 19 storms and 12 hurricanes. This year, it is predicted that there will be a bit more hurricane weather compared to last year.

The year 2005 has the worst hurricane season as of the mid 19th century, as the area was destroyed by a strong hurricane that is Category 3 or higher. Category 3 hurricanes has wind speed that move at about 111 mph. A medium serious hurricane would have wind that reach as fast as 74 mph or more. The wind in a tropical storm would travel at a speed of 39 mph. When the wind travels at a greater speed, it can turn into a hurricane with winds moving at a faster speed.

There are a bit of variations in the hurricane season predictions for Florida in 2016. Some of the channels that have made predictions for Florida hurricane season are NOAA, The Weather Channel, Accuweather and Colorado State University. NOAA predicts 10 – 16 named storms will take place. In addition, they also predict that there may be 4 – 8 hurricanes with at least 1 – 4 hurricanes transforming into the major hurricanes. The Weather Channel that is owned by IBM predicts that there will be 14 named storms. They predict that there will be 8 storms that turn into hurricanes with at least 3 of them turning into major hurricanes.

The forecast does not guarantee that the storms or hurricane will hit Florida. They could probably or probably not hit Florida this year. Despite that, residents in Florida should be well prepared to face the hurricane season no matter what. Those who are planning to have vacation in Florida should make sure that they have adequate travel insurance coverage. In this way, you can get a refund of your air ticket in the event that your flight was canceled due to the hurricane storm.

You must buy the insurance at least 1 day prior to the occurrence of the hurricane in order to be qualified for the refund. You should always be paying attention to the weather forecast channel about the weather in Florida if you plan to visit there soon. It is advised that you don’t visit Florida if there are tropical storms. Tropical storms are not as dangerous as hurricanes but it will cause heavy downpour of rains that last for many days. The rain which lasted for several days could affect your vacation. Sometimes, weak storm can cause a lot of damages especially when the strong wind is passing by slowly.

Flood Recovery Services In Carolina Will Be Challenging Following Hurricane Joaquin

It is looking like Hurricane Joaquin will indeed target the East Coast of the United States. Six out of eight forecast models show Hurricane Joaquin making landfall along the East Coast. The winds of this storm is not the major issue or fear as far as potential damage goes, rather it is the massive amount of rainfall predicted. Indeed several states are already experiencing flooding, Such as Portland, Maine and Cambridge, MA.

These forecast models can change every single day I should point out. For example just yesterday the GFS model predicted Hurricane Joaquin making landfall in the Carolina’s, yet this same model today has Hurricane Joaquin going out to sea a little. Most models at this time however point to Hurricane Joaquin making direct landfall along the eastern seaboard. Residents of the East Coast in any area prone to flooding would be well advised to have emergency plans in place, and have an escape route, as well as any needed emergency supplies.

No matter if it makes landfall or not, such as how the European forecast model shows, it will still have major effects on the East Coast. Most notably due the the massive rainfall, some of which as mentioned is already punching areas of the East Coast. If the European model is correct, and Hurricane Joaquin makes it way out to sea, the East Coast could see a punishing amount of wind strike the coast. Combined with torrential rains, this has the potential to cause a swath of wide spread devastation and economic impact for more than a dozen states along the eastern seaboard. Beach erosion is also predicted, whether for not Hurricane Joaquin makes landfall.

The major danger of this storm is the record rains that will happen, and already have started in large portions of the East Coast. Even mudslides and landslides are predicted along the East Coast. Winds are relatively high in the Bahamas right now, but this can change. Several states are expected to receive over 8 inches of record rainfall, with poor Fayetteville North Carolina and Wilmington slated to receive anywhere from at least 12 inches to as much as 18 inches of rainfall. With this rain, timing is one of the key issues, as much of this rain will fall in just a short period of time, causing massive flooding and flash flooding across several states and locations. The good news is that most forecast models do predict the winds lessening as every day passes towards the weekend. Monday for example the winds are expected to die down to about 85 miles per hour.

The problem with hurricanes is that early data can often change. The Air Force is continuing to fly storm chasing aircraft into the heart of the Hurricane to gather data for the forecast models. More information will become available on this site, as forecast models get updated.

Wet Weekend in Forecast for West Coast – Risk for Other Disasters Increased

Heavy rain, and even snow, will overtake the West Coast as we head into the weekend and the beginning of next week. This system, which is known as an Atmospheric River, has the potential to trigger landslides, mudslides, flash flooding, debris flows, and even travel delays and cancellations.

This atmospheric river will fuel the heavy rain as a strong storm moves into the Pacific Coast on Thursday and will continue through Saturday. The heaviest amounts of rain will occur in Northern California during Friday.
This system is part of a surge of tropical moisture that extends near Hawaii, and that is the reason that this system will impact the West Coast so much. This air isn’t usually near our latitude, so it will have a larger impact. This type of weather pattern will definitely enhance looming threats such as flash flooding and landslides. Areas that were affected by wildfires this year will be especially vulnerable to flooding and debris flows since the water cannot penetrate the scorched ground.

As for rainfall totals, 2-3 inches is expected in northern California and western Oregon. This also includes the Bay Area, which has been completely dry throughout the whole month of January. This is the first time that San Francisco has had no rain in January since weather trackers began taking records in 1850. In the farthest north portion of California, the rainfall amounts may exceed 5 inches from Thursday into Saturday.

Flight delays and cancellations may be possible at San Francisco International Airport on Friday due to low clouds and excessive rainfall that is predicted to be associated with the storm. Even motorists can expect slower travel on the ground as the rain begins to mix with oil buildup on roadways, as this will more than likely create some slicker than normal conditions.

A second storm will make its way into the West Coast on Sunday and will extend into Monday; this storm will dump some heavy rain along the coast of California and Oregon. This rain follows a very dry season for many locations, and this is the first significant rainfall event for Northern California since the middle of December.

The most important resource to fill the reservoirs and water supply for California during drought is the snowpack from the mountains. It is imperative to take a look at snowpack levels when analyzing the impact that the storms may have on the drought situation. Unfortunately, mountain snow isn’t very likely to be included in the list with these upcoming storms. Snow levels will be quite high because of the warm subtropical flow, and it will exceed 8,000 most of the time. This means that too much rain in some places isn’t necessarily a good thing; because it won’t be of any help in trying to put down a snowpack.

Check with your local weather resource for more information!

Winterizing Your Home Is A Key Way To Prevent Plumbing Disasters

Making sure that your home is properly winterized for the cold weather can save you a lot of money. Not preparing your home for the winter can leave you with water damage, burst pipes, and even costly roof repairs due to ice damming. Here are eleven tips that can help you get your home ready for the cold weather and save you some money in the long run.

1) Clean Your Gutters

This is something that most homeowners know they should do, but they neglect it or forget that it needs to be done. Making sure that any falling water can flow freely through your gutters will prevent icicles and ice dams from forming later. Ice dams can end up costing a lot of money if they cause enough damage. Cleaning your gutters may take up your time but it is free and can save you money.

2) Flush the Water Heater
Sediment and other types of particles will begin to collect over time in the bottom basin of your water heater, and it will actually cause it to be less efficient. To combat this, flush the water through the drain valve. This will clear out any lingering materials and keep your heater in tip top shape. There is no cost for this either!

3) Change the Direction of Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are awesome in the summer and save you some money when it comes to air conditioning. But, did you know that they can help you save some money during the winter months as well? Change the direction of your fans so that they’re moving in a clockwise rotation so that they push hot air along the ceiling towards the floor. If they’re going counterclockwise the results will not be the same. This is also free as long as you have a fan.

4) Replace Filters
Changing the filters in your central air and heating system on a regular basis will vastly improve the longevity of your system as well as the efficiency. This will also save you from costly repairs in the future. A new filter can run about $10.

5) Insulate Windows

While this may not be the most fashionable tip, you should insulate your windows using window insulation film. It can keep up to 70% of the heat from leaking out of windows. The cost of this is about $20 to $35 per kit.

6) Draft Guards
Installing draft guards can definitely help the heat from escaping underneath your door. This is only about $10 to $15 dollars. If you don’t feel like spending your money, you can also roll up a towel and put it underneath an exterior door.

7) Weatherstrip Tape
Leaks and drafts always cause the heating costs to skyrocket, so make sure that all of your window as well as your doors are sealed tight with weatherstripping. This is a simple and easy way to reduce your heating costs and it will only cost you about $5 to $10 for a large roll.

8) Fiberglass Insulation

If you really want to make sure that no heat escapes from your home, pack some fiberglass insulation around your basement doors, windows in any unused rooms, and window AC units. Make sure that your attic floor is insulated as well. Just remember to be careful while doing this and wear gloves. This costs about $25 per roll.

9) Programmable Thermostat
The United States Department of Energy states that you can save as much as 1% on your energy bill for every degree that you lower your home’s temperature during the winter. Installing a programmable thermostat will save you money by keeping the temperature down while you aren’t there.

10) Caulk
If you find that there are some small gaps in the doors, windows, or in siding, these can be filled with caulk. If you find that a window is extremely drafty, you will want to caulk the inside too by pulling off the moldings. It can cost about $20 for a basic caulk gun and about $5 to $10 for a tube of caulk.

11) Chimney Balloon
A lot of heat can be lost in the winter due to an unused chimney. If it isn’t in use, put a chimney balloon up there to keep the drafts out and the heat in. These run at about $55 dollars at a hardware store.

Northern California Gets Battered By Wind and Rain Storms

A chain of storms that has been moving slowly through the Pacific is now setting its sights on the drought-stricken California this week. This dose of heavy rain will actually be more positive than negative since the state has been undergoing a drought for an extended period of time.

Even though this storm will bring with it major issues such as high winds, mudslides, and flooding, it will bring this dry state some much needed precipitation. Anywhere from 1-3 inches of rain can be expected on the coast of Southern California, while 3-6 inches can be expected over the central and northern portions of the state. So in total, this adds up to about 17-100 million gallons per square mile, and that is only counting this storm by itself.

As for some of the west and southwest facing slopes of the coast, like Sierra Nevada and the southern Cascades, they can expect some locally higher amounts of rainfall that could possibly reach a foot. This storm is definitely going to bring more rain than is needed to end the drought, and this is a step in the right direction since the ground will then be thoroughly soaked.

High amounts of rain will spread south and towards the inland, reaching the agricultural areas of Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. The runoff from this storm will heighten the water levels, causing this surging water to empty into nearby lakes and reservoirs. The storm that occurred earlier on in the month actually caused the water to flow through Yosemite Falls.

There is a possibility of additional storms occurring next week with heavy rainfall present before the weather pattern shifts later into the month. Most of the state of California and some parts of its neighboring states have been experiencing severe drought through the summer and into the fall of this year as well. This drought has been occurring since a couple of years ago when the rain rarely fell and there was hardly any snow in the mountains.

During the last part of November is when the storms with heavy rainfall started to return to the region. Did you know that from Dec 1st 2012 to Nov 29th 2014, San Francisco racked up a rain deficit of about 20.9 inches, which was about 50 percent of its normal average rainfall? Since then, the city has racked up about 5 inches of rain, which is four times that average! In turn, this reduced the two-year deficit by 20 percent.

Los Angeles also acquired a deficit of 14.9 inches, which was about 44 percent of its normal average. Since the end of November, the city has received about 1.5 inches of rain which is about 3 times their average. This has reduced the deficit for the same period by nearly 10 percent. Luckily for residents, a further reduction in the deficit will occur through this and next week. This will be the second storm in one week with more rain in a week than most places had for the entire year.

Also, several feet of snow have fallen prior to the storms this week in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades. A lot of snow will continue to fall over the higher mountainous regions, which will then melt and remain in the water bank for spring and summer.

Different Categories of Water Damage

Water damage restoration is a process that takes time and there are many different variables that come into play when organizing a water mitigation plan. The property is also a factor, and what caused the water damage. There are three different categories of water damage, and they all affect a property in different ways. Depending on the category of the water damage, different plans of action will need to be taken in order to ensure the safety of the inhabitants of your property, as well as the technicians working to restore it. Different types of equipment will also need to be used, and safety guidelines will need to be set in place as well.

Here are the three different categories of water damage, what they affect, and what they are caused by:

First is Category 1 water. This is referred to as “clean” or “clear” water. This water is clean at the releasing source, and it also doesn’t pose any immediate health risks if consumed by humans. This water can become contaminated though, and that is only if it begins to mix with soils or within the floor coverings or building assemblies. A building assembly could be anything from walls, decking, or subflooring. Another factor to Category 1 water is the time and temperature. These promote the growth, and the amplification of the microorganisms that are present in the water and it can cause degradation. An example of Category 1 water could be failed supply lines on appliances, burst water pipes, or even vertically falling rainwater that builds up due to a leak.

Category 2 water is a little different than Category 1 in the fact that it does already contain some degree of contamination, and it could more than likely cause sickness, mild to severe, if it is consumed by humans. As with the first category, the time and temperature of the water are large factors that can cause the water to become more contaminated as time goes on. This water is also referred to as “grey” water.

Category 3 water is also referred to as “black water”, and contains high levels of contaminants and microorganisms. You NEVER want to consume this water, as it could cause serious illnesses and even death. An example of Category 3 water is sewage, rising flood waters from rivers and streams, and ground surface water that is flowing horizontally into a home or business. There are two ways in which water can enter a building as a result of wind or storm damage:

The first way that water can enter is through windblown rainwater. This enters as a result of damage to the roof or the wall assemblies. The second involves horizontally traveling ground water, which would be category 3 water, containing soil and silt contaminants that can make its way into structures, generally through doors or around the walls of a foundation. This ground surface water, also referred to as a storm surge, can accumulate to about several inches deep or several feet deep. Now, when a structure is partially submerged or remains very flooded for weeks on end, far more in depth procedures are required.

Mold can begin to grow in a home that has sustained water damage, and most of these funguses require five conditions in order to germinate. This usually includes, but isn’t limited to: moisture, even high humidity. This gives the spores time to latch on to the moisture and begin growing. They also need a source of organic material to feed off of, and cellulose (wood, paper, drywall) are great ways to get that. These are found abundantly in construction materials. Also, mold needs a moderate temperature, usually 68-86 degrees Fahrenheit, stagnant air, and time. The time required for mold to grow can be anywhere from several hours, to several days. Anything that can be done to control or at least minimize these conditions will prolong the time required for mold growth, and can save you loads of time and money in the long run.

Iowa Flooded Significantly Over Weekend

Damage in Iowa has included flooded roads and downed power lines, as severe weather moved through the state on Monday. The culprits from this storm include golf ball size hail, torrential rains, and strong winds. The National Weather Service stated that it received many reports from the County Emergency Management Offices and many others about damage that was caused by these severe thunderstorms. There were a couple reports of storms that could have possibly spawned tornadoes, but they have not been yet confirmed by local officials.

During most of the day, large areas of the state were under watches or warnings for flash flooding and potential tornado activity. A local meteorologist said that people definitely needed to keep an eye on the sky, and always stay aware of the ever-changing weather conditions.

In Hamilton County, the damages included snapped trees, and downed power lines and flash flooding also occurred in Hardin and Black Hawk County; thankfully there were no reported injuries thus far.

In Traer, a severe thunderstorm that was capable of producing a tornado was located. Also, similar systems were reported earlier in the day in the communities of Earlham, Indianola, and Roland. In Cedar Rapids, residents were warned to stay away from power lines that had fallen as more severe weather was predicted for the eastern part of the state. Officials warned people to stay alert for the latest watches and warnings in their area, as the weather can change almost instantaneously.

This severe cell hit just one day after storm chasers noted several tornadoes along the U.S Highway 20 corridor which runs along the northern part of the state. There were also many reports of funnel clouds in the area.

On Sunday, the weather produced wind gusts of up to 70 mph, and caused damage all around Iowa. Also, a highway near Fairfax partially collapsed as well as a highway in Mount Vernon. Luckily there were no reports of injuries.

According to a spokeswoman for the State Department of Transportation, the road had completely washed away. The pavement had completely been washed out, and the road undermined. The weather on Sunday also brought reports of not only snapped trees, but damaged property across the whole state. In Cedar Rapids, many emergency personnel helped motorists that were trapped by the rapidly rising water. Many homes have received significant water and flood damage, which causes the need for many water damage restoration contractors.

Stay tuned to your local weather authority for weather updates, or you can always check the Weather Channel for any changes in the system.

Flood Damage Photos

air scrubber and fans

 

This is equipment that is used when trying to remove excess moisture from a water loss, and is also used when drying out a property. Air movers are quite efficient and high powered, and can quickly remove water from the premises. An air scrubber, which is the tall device, is used to remove particles, gases, and chemicals in any given area. For example, if there is a musty smell in the air due to water damage, an air scrubber can remove the odor efficiently.

moisture meter

 

This piece of equipment is referred to as a moisture meter. It can detect if there is moisture present in any walls or flooring, and it helps minimize any defects such as shrinkage, cracks, and splits. Years of experience and high tech tools will not make a difference in the long run if the source of moisture on the property is not determined and dealt with effectively.

water pump

 

This is an example of a high tech portable water pump. There are also different kinds of water pumps, such as mounted to the truck, but these are more efficient if the area affected isn’t very large. Water pumps are the easiest way to quickly remove large amounts of water from a property.

sump pumpThis is a sump pump, and if this device does not work correctly, it can lead to flooding in your basement and home. One of the biggest reasons that homes flood is that their sump pump is either not working correctly, or it has failed.

 

Why The Restoration Process May Not Happen Immediately

2014 has been a year of unpredictable weather thus far, and because of the improved economy, people are beginning to purchase further insurance for their properties. This also means that more people are beginning to call local restoration contractors after storm, fire, or water damage as well. As the economy is improving, many things are changing in the restoration industry. After a natural disaster in a specific area, it can be hard for contractors to keep up since there are only so many areas. That is where contractors from other states come in. Many restoration companies will travel for catastrophes, and that is a large help to many residents living in the affected area.

If your property has flooded, check out the flood damage restoration company!

This may take some time though. As local companies are swamped with work, other out of state companies will be on their way to begin helping out in the disaster zone. Depending on how broad the affected area is, it may take a longer period of time for local contractors to even call back and set up an appointment. There may also be a waiting list, which can lengthen the process even more. When a contractor comes out to your location it may not be for a week or so, and then the process of the insurance comes in. From there, the insurance adjuster will have to come out to your location and set up a written estimate, and then compare it to the contractors.

The estimate then has to be processed and the contractors can come back out to your location to begin the work. Make sure that you always go with a trusted and experienced contractor, because some may try to take advantage of the fact that many people are devastated from a loss and may try to scam residents in that area. Before choosing a contractor, make sure to ask around to ensure that they are reputable and experienced. Also, it may be a good idea to ask your insurance company for a referral for a restoration company that they regularly work with. This will make you feel more comfortable because you are going with a company that the insurance company regularly works with and has a good working relationship with.

Hiring a professional in the instance of a disaster is always the better option. Although it may take a little longer after a larger disaster, you will get better results for your home or business.