Recent Storm Damage Posts
Gearing Up For Winter
Winter storms have already been in full swing for the season and it technically isn't even "Winter" until December 21st! Are you prepared for the months ahead? According to the National Weather Service, $2.84 million dollars of property damage was caused by extreme cold in 2015. Even scarier? Fifty-three people died and three were injured due to extreme cold the same year. It is important to be aware of the effect extremely cold temperatures can have on you. The two main conditions to be aware of are frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is caused when your skin is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Physical symptoms are white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels unusually firm, or waxy numbness. Hypothermia is when your body temperature falls to an abnormally low temperature, caused from long exposure to cold weather. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. If someone’s body temperature is below 95°F, seek medical attention immediately. To avoid these conditions, stay indoors if possible. If not, dress warm in layers and try to keep dry.
Hurricane Season Is HERE!
It may seem irrelevant to our area, but hurricane season is currently underway. For the Atlantic, the season begins June 1 and runs through November 30. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season began in mid-May and also ends November 30. Hurricanes can be life-threatening as well as cause serious property threatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds, and tornadoes. While the primary threat is in coastal areas, many inland areas can also be affected by these hazards, as well as by secondary events such as power outages as a result of high winds and landslides due to rainfall. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Plan an evacuation route and your emergency plan, take inventory of your property, and take steps to protect your home or business. For more information and preparation tips, visit the Ready campaign website at www.ready.gov/hurricanes.
What the Hail?
Recently a major part of Lincoln County was hit with some rather major storms. Earlier this week residents of Troy, MO captured video of what was the biggest hail storm the town had seen in over ten years. The hail was the size of golf balls in certain spots and rained down so hard and fast that the ground looked like it was covered in snow for about 30 minutes after the storm passed. Hail damage can cause more than just a dented car hood or a shattered window. Hail has been known to weaken roofs causing leaks to seep into homes. Broken windows allow moisture to creep into homes cause musty car upholstery. Did you know SERVPRO can remove mold and mildew smell from vehicles too? However big the disaster, SERVPRO is here to help!
The Dangers of Floods
Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disaster in the United States. Whether you home or business is near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river, or even in the desert--there is always potential for flood damage. Fema.gov reports the in the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past does not mean you wont in the future. In fact, nearly 20% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate to low risk areas, and even just one inch of flood damage in an average home can cost you up to $27,000. According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than nay other weather related disaster. For more information you can visit www.fema.gov
How Can You Prepare For MO Storms?
Living in Missouri makes it hard to prepare your home, your vehicles and your clothing choices. For example, today it is currently 2 degrees. Schools were cancelled by 6:00 a.m. this morning due to the harsh temperatures and buses not being able to keep batteries alive during the cold winter. However, by Sunday it will be back up to 60 degrees. The ground around our home is constantly freezing then thawing. It puts pressures on our foundations and our sump pumps. It makes us think about how insulated our homes are. It makes us worry if we will come home to a frozen or busted pipe. We have seen quite a few homeowners come home from winter vacations to a home filled with water. Luckily for everyone in Missouri, There is SERVPRO! For more general winter precautions check out our previous blog posts and our newslines!
Are You Winter Ready?
Are you prepared for the coming cold weather? Cold weather can have a huge impact on your home or business if you are not ready for it. From heavy rain and freezing temperatures to damaging winds, sleet, or snow, all can cause serious and costly property damage. While you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to be prepared and help take the sting out of winter weather. To help prevent costly damages due to weather, consider taking the following precautions to protect your property before colder weather hits. n Check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Wind, heavy rain, ice, and snow can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries. n Roofs, water pipes, and gutters should all be inspected to ensure they are in proper order. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from your building. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during the fall. Leaves and other obstructions can cause a damming effect, which can lead to roof damage and interior water problems. n Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential. n Inspect all handrails, stairwells, and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present. n Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing. If pipes are under a cabinet, leave the cabinet doors open, allowing warm inside air to circulate around the pipes. If the building has outdoor faucets, consider shutting water off at the main valve in the basement or crawl space. Once the valve is off, open the outdoor faucet to ensure it drains, preventing any remaining water from freezing in the pipe.
Irma Stands No Chance Against SERVPRO
Hurricane Irma was the strongest of its kind since Wilma in 2005. It was the first category five to strike the Leeward Islands on record and followed by Hurricane Maria only two weeks later. On September 6, Irma reached its peak intensity with 185 mph winds making it the second most intense tropical cyclone worldwide so far in 2017, behind only Hurricane Maria and the strongest worldwide in 2017 in terms of wind speed. During this time our Disaster Recovery Teams were headed down to the effected areas of Florida and still parts of Texas from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Our franchise team was down in Naples Fl. for over three weeks and helped many homeowners get back in their homes. SERVPRO provided generators, dehumidifiers, air movers and man power to the effected homes. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who suffered because of the Hurricane and a very warm thank you to anyone who also helped others in the wake of this catastrophic event.
When Disaster Strikes...
When a storm or disaster strikes, SERVPRO's disaster recovery team is poised and "Ready for whatever happens." Strategically located throughout the United States, SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Team is trained and equipped to handle the largest storms and highest flood waters. For example, here are some disaster events that SERVPRO has helped clean up:
- 2016 East Tennessee Wildfires: One of the largest in history of Tennessee, the Great Smokey Mountains wildfires burned more than 17,000 acres and about 2500 structures in November 2016. The 12 crews that were dispatched worked a total of 78 jobs, where they mitigated over $1 Million in damages.
- 2016 Hurricane Mathew: Following the East Coast from Florida up to North Carolina, this hurricane caused major flooding, primarily as rivers rose in Easter North Carolina. SERVPRO had 169 crews dispatched. These crews took on more than 1050 jobs and over $7.5 million in damages.
Pop-Up Storms Causings Quick Damages
This past memorial weekend has brought a lot of interesting weather. Like many of you, our families traveled to go fishing to some of Missouri's best lakes, such as Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock and Mark Twain. On our way up to the Ozarks we experienced bright and clear blue skies until we reached Eldon, MO. The skies has switched quickly to a greenish grey. A light rain turned into a heavy downpour with golf ball size hail. At this point we all started getting National Weather Alerts on our phone for a Tornado Warning. We were pulled over on the side of the highway as did most of the vehicles around us. In the two and half hour drive the temperature had fluctuated 25 degrees causing very unstable weather. As the rain started to dissipate enough to keep pedaling our way down the highway the skies began to clear and the sun was out shining brighter than it had earlier that day. Most Missouri residence are used to this type of severe fluctuations in weather, however older homes or homes that have poor drainage cannot handle pop up storms. The amount of water that is being produced cannot be properly ran off or drained due to backups. This can lead to damage in basements or roof leaks. In which case, this is why SERVPRO has a 24 Hour emergency service team ready to take action when Missouri's pop-up storms cause trouble in your area.
Flooding In St. Louis For Two Years In A Row
The St. Louis Post Dispatch recently had an article about the drastic flooding we have had in our region in the past two years. The article states "Residents of waterlogged communities along the Meramec River and other swollen area waterways have experienced something unusual for the region.
In a span of just 16 months, the people of cities like Eureka, Pacific and Valley Park have twice braced for and dealt with so-called “100-year” floods that have left damage, financial loss and heartache in their wake. Now, as the floodwater recedes in some communities, residents are left wondering how soon the next catastrophic flood will arrive.
Answers from experts are not reassuring.
Officially, neither the 2015 flood nor last week’s disaster on the Meramec qualify as 100-year events — though that may be small comfort.
“This flood we’re preliminarily calling an 80-, 81-year event,” said Bob Holmes, the Rolla-based national flood coordinator for the United States Geological Survey. The 2015 flood, he says, ranked as a “91-year” event based on flood records for the Meramec at Eureka.
Though Holmes points out that it’s “not unheard of” to have floods of that severity happen in such close succession, others think it’s more than just a stroke of bad luck. They assign blame to worrisome climate trends that boost the likelihood of major rain events or failed flood policy that both constricts and swells waterways through levee construction and flood plain development.
Combined and left unmitigated, some say, both those factors mean the region’s flooding problems will persist .
“When you live in an area that can flood or develop in the flood plain, you’re always playing a bit of Russian roulette with the river or the climate,” Holmes said. “As we get in a wetter climate cycle, it could happen more and more often.”
Extreme bouts of precipitation don’t always translate to extreme floods, owing to a variety of factors such as soil moisture. Nonetheless, flood risk is rising with episodes of heavy rainfall becoming more common in the Midwest, says Ken Kunkel, a professor who researches extreme weather at North Carolina State University and is also involved with the National Climate Assessment.
“Every decade has been higher than the previous decade in terms of these events,” Kunkel said.
He says studies link more frequent downpours to rising global temperatures, which add more water vapor to the atmosphere, increasing the potential for precipitation whenever a storm system comes along.
“They’ve got more fuel to work with, with more water vapor,” Kunkel said.
At Sullivan, in the Meramec Basin, the National Weather Service reports that 11.88 inches of precipitation was recorded over a 10-day span from April 26 to May 5. That total approaches a 100-year rain event in terms of likelihood, based on probabilities from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
That rain, however, came in a few distinct waves, which stack up as a series of smaller or less-historic rain events when viewed over different time intervals. Sullivan’s largest three-day rain total of 6.7 inches, measured from April 29 to May 1, falls between a 10-year and a 25-year rain event, according to NOAA.
All that rain capped a historically wet month for Missouri. Patrick Guinan, the state climatologist, said preliminary data suggest that the month will rank as the wettest April on record, with a statewide average just shy of 10 inches of precipitation — about a quarter of Missouri’s annual average.
But not everyone thinks climate change or sheer rainfall are the sole explanations for recent near-record-level flooding around St. Louis.
“Land use is really a huge factor in flooding,” Holmes said. “From what I’ve seen, it trumps climate change in some areas.”
It’s definitely “a bigger game-changer,” he says, in urban areas, where paved surfaces drive more runoff into waterways and still more water is diverted by levee systems.
‘A constricted river’
Bob Criss, a professor at Washington University’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences who studies flooding, agrees that the cumulative impact of diverted water — and not rainfall — best explains the region’s recent major floods.
The problem, he says, was especially apparent with last week’s crest of the Mississippi River. Such a big river, he says, should not normally be so sensitive to similar episodes of rain. But he says it’s increasingly behaving like a small basin “because it’s far too squeezed” by levees that amplify flood severity.
“An event like this should not be setting the all-time (flood stage) record at Cape Girardeau, which it’s about to do, or maybe be No. 2,” Criss said. “This is not climate change. This is a constricted river.”
The Mississippi, he notes, has only eclipsed a 40-foot flood stage at St. Louis about 10 times since 1785, but has done so in 2013, 2016 and now again in 2017.
Criss is one of a group of area flood policy critics who suspect levees are chronically built higher than their authorized height. That belief was recently bolstered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Rock Island District upstream from St. Louis, where officials reported that approximately 40 percent of the district’s Mississippi River levees are overbuilt.
It is unclear at this time whether those levees have contributed to flooding in the St. Louis area. The corps’ St. Louis District is conducting a similar investigation into local levee heights, set to be completed by March 2018.
Some residents in flooded communities on the Meramec are wondering whether there are enough flood control systems in place.
“There was a serious pursuit of damming this river up, some time ago,” said Fenton resident, John Huff, referencing a failed bid in the 1970s and ’80s to situate a dam near Meramec State Park in Sullivan. “This levee system isn’t working.”
Though some say it may have helped with flood control, dams come with their own complicated web of costs and benefits. Criss, for one, says it would have been the wrong approach, especially given the number of caves in that location.
“The whole area is Swiss cheese,” Criss said. “You cannot build a dam on that kind of rock.”
Plus, he points to severe floods in northwest Missouri in 2011 as a powerful illustration that dammed watersheds aren’t immune to flooding.
“That is just downstream from the largest network of flood control dams in the world,” said Criss, adding that those floods were largely triggered by rain as far up the Missouri River as Montana. “All the reservoirs were full. … You had to dump water from every reservoir down the line.”
Frequent floods aren’t just exhausting — they’re also expensive.
“Since 2011, the Mississippi River Valley has sustained over $50 billion in natural disaster impacts,” said Colin Wellenkamp, executive director of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, which addresses river management issues.
Missouri alone has been affected by four separate billion-dollar flood events in the last decade. In inflation-adjusted records dating back to 1980, NOAA reports that only one other such event — the Flood of 1993 — surpassed the billion-dollar threshold in the state.
Some say policymakers need to adjust to new recurring climate extremes, or continue to pay a hefty price.
“It is becoming, more and more, a normal of extremes,” Wellenkamp said. “The happy medium is becoming less and less frequent.”
He says greater regional coordination will be required to restore “natural infrastructure” such as flood plains and wetlands to absorb flood risk along the river, instead of defending localities by simply “sending risk downriver.”
“It is certainly changing the calculus of how these challenges are approached,” Wellenkamp said. “The more conventional ideas don’t seem to be cutting it anymore. We need to approach these problems from larger, regional scales.
“Once upon a time, you could just focus on your part of the river,” he added. “Now it’s ballooning into a regional question.”
While many agree that a different approach will be needed going forward, some also wonder whether that should apply in the immediate aftermath of the latest flooding around St. Louis, broaching the difficult question of whether it’s prudent to rebuild in some areas.
“I feel badly for these people — this is a tragedy,” said Criss. “But there’s a point, are you really going to replace that carpet again?”
He noted that areas along the Meramec near Pacific, for instance, have been inundated in 1982, 1994, 2008, 2015 and again this year.
“There’s a point where one has to realistically evaluate the situation,” Criss said. “We have to expect higher water with increased frequency.”
When these unavoidable weather events happen, SERVPRO is equipped to handle any disaster large or small. Its imperative to call a professional instead of trying to clean up on your own. We are a 24/7 Emergency Service team who is faster to any size disaster.
Grey, B. (2017, May 8). Two Catastrophic Floods In Less Than Two Years Wasn't Just A Case Of Bad Luck. Retrieved May 9, 2017, from http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/two-catastrophic-floods-in-less-than-two-years-wasn-t/article_33e07bfa-16dd-575b-8e18-9a6e2a2eebd0.html
Preparing For A Flood:
Flooding can happen fast in many environments. The American Red Cross recommends having the following list of items packed and ready to go in the event of an evacuation due to flooding.
-Water, 3 day supply; one gallon per person per day
-Food, 3 day supply of non perishable, easy to prepare food.
-Battery powered or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
-First Aid Kit
-Medications (7 Day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
-Multi purpose tools
-Sanitation/Personal Hygiene Items
-Copies of Personal Documents
-Cell Phone with Chargers
-Family Emergency Contact Information
Disaster Recovery Team
SERVPRO knows that no matter what size the disaster is the issue at hands needs to be taken care of, and fast! We can handle any size disaster to get your home or large facility back and running after a natural disaster.
When a storm or disaster strikes, SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Team is poised and "Ready for Whatever Happens." With a network of nearly 1700 franchises, the SERVPRO system strives to be faster to any disaster. Strategically located throughout the United States, SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Team is trained and equipped to handle the largest storms and highest flood waters. Providing experience, additional manpower, equipment and other resources, The Disaster Recovery Team assists your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals. SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Team has responded to hundreds of disaster events. In the aftermath of disaster, there is only one objective, to help make it like it "Like it never even happened."
Who Are You Going To Call When A Natural Disaster Effects Your Home?
Imagine your home being flooded. What do you do? What goes through your mind? As much as this is such as hard thing to fathom, it is not something that is far from someones reality. During natural disasters, people tend to go into a frenzy. Everyone you know around you is dealing with the same issue. Hurricaines, Tornadoes, flooding and snow storms are wide spread weather events which means you need someone whose going to treat you like your home or business like it is the only one with an issue? Calling SERVPRO is your best best. We are faster to any size disaster! We stand by our response rates to any disaster which is what sets us apart from our competitors.
Our guidelines require us to follow the protocol below:
-Within one hour from notice of loss, a SERVPRO professional will contact your insured to arrange for service
-Within four house of loss notification, a SERVPRO Professional will be on site to start mitigation services if necessary.
-Within eight business hours, a verbal briefing of the scope will be communicated to the adjuster by a SERVPRO Professional.
Hurricane Matthew passed over Cuba on Wednesday and continued its destructive path toward the Bahamas and the U.S., leaving behind a trail of devastation that includes at least 11 deaths.
Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina have each declared a state of emergency. Officials issued stern warnings for millions of coastal residents to prepare to evacuate as the powerful category 3 storm slowly tracked north at 8 mph with 125-mph winds.
"A turn northwestward is expected on Wednesday, with the threat eventually shifting to the southeast United States," ABC meteorologist Daniel Manzo said. "Forecast models are still showing increasing chances that Matthew will come very close to the eastern shores of Florida on Thursday and into Friday."
No Atlantic storm on record has packed such powerful winds for such a prolonged period time as Matthew, as its slow trajectory and potent energy have wound a path of destruction that looks to continue as it approaches the U.S coast.
Matthew currently spans some 700 miles, with hurricane force winds extending 40 miles from the storm's center and tropical storm winds extending some 160 miles outward.
More than one million people were ordered to prepare to leave the coast in South Carolina, in a swath of the state that spans 100 miles inland from the shore. Florida, Georgia and North Carolina also ordered coastal communities to evacuate.
Lines backed up and shelves were cleared out at supermarkets in Florida, as residents stocked up on provisions and watched the storm's progress.
Even as the U.S. hurried its storm preparations, Matthew bore down on the southwestern islands of the Bahamas Wednesday, where residents braced for hurricane-force winds, a storm surge of up to 15 feet and as much as 15 inches of rain.
Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie voiced concern about the potential impact on the sprawling archipelago off Florida's east coast.
"We're worried because we do not control nature," he said.
At least five deaths took place in Haiti, which appeared to be hardest-hit by the storm so far. Thousands of people there scrambled for shelter amid reports of a powerful storm surge, violent winds and widespread flooding.
Raging floodwaters severed a key bridge linking the southern peninsula directly impacted by the storm with the rest of the country, raising fears that the worst of the damages has yet to be discovered.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Living in the Midwest means dealing with unpredictable storms. These storms often lead to damaging wings, hail and tornadoes. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service. Alerts received at the right time can help keep you safe during an emergency. With WEA alerts can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm’s way, without need to download in app or subscribe to a service. WEA may share:
-Extreme weather warnings
-Local Emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action
-Presidential Alerts during a national emergency
A WEA will look like the picture shown above. The WEA message will typically show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take and the agency issuing the alert. The message will be no more than 90 characters.
Why should you buy a Weather Radio?
One of the best precautions you can take is to purchase a good quality weather radio. A weather radio is designed to alert you to potentially dangerous weather situations, like a tornado. It allows you to be warned ahead of storms, providing you time to seek shelter. A weather radio is the most reliable source for weather alerts.
Weather radios have made much advancement over the years and are very affordable. Most basic weather radios average around $30 and can be programmed to only alert you for the weather alerts that you choose.
When shopping for a weather radio, look for the following key feature.
-Reviewable alerts (You can scroll through alerts and turn off the siren for alerts you do not wish to hear)
-Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) alert programming are alerts when specific counties are threatened, ensuring you only receive alerts for your county)
- Ease of programming.
If you need help programming your weather radio, you can always contact your local National Weather Service office or for additional information, including county codes for your state, visit the NOAA Weather Radio Website at www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr
Is Your Property Ready For Winter?
Cold weather can have a huge impact on your home or business if you are not properly prepared. Whether it is heavy rain, freezing temperatures, damaging winds, sleep or snow, all can cause serious and costly property damage. While you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to be prepared, and help take the sting out of winter weather.
To help prevent costly damages due to weather, consider taking the following precautions to protect your property before colder weather hits.
1. Check your property for downed tree limbs and branches. Weather, such as heavy wind, heavy rain, ice and snow can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries.
2. Roofs, water pipes and gutters should all be inspected to ensure they are in proper order. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from the home or business. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during the fall. Leaves and other obstructions can lead to a damming effect that can lead to roof damage and interior water problems.
3. Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential.
4. Inspect property especially walkways and parking lots for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential.
5. Inspect all handrails, stairwells and entryways to address and correct potentially slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
6. Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing. If pipes are under a cabinet, leave the cabinet doors open allowing warm inside air to circulate around the pipes. If the building has outdoor faucets, consider shutting water off at the main valve in the basement or crawl space. Once the valve is off, open the outside faucet to ensure it drains, preventing any remaining water from freezing in the pipe.