Recent Storm Damage Posts
Thunderstorm Facts - Lightning: Not Exactly What You Think!
There is a lot going on during a thunderstorm, more than most may even know or have heard of. In fact, these little-known occurrences cause what we know as lightning!
According to Dennis Mersereau from Mentalfloss.com, there is “friction between ice crystals, raindrops, and hailstones moving around in a storm [that] cause an electrostatic buildup between the clouds and the ground that release its energy in a brilliant flash of lightning.”
But if you think that is crazy, what’s even crazier is the fact that lightning is hotter than the surface of the Sun! This is because the air near the storm is heated up so fast that the shockwave radiates out in a sonic boom we hear as thunder.
“All thunder is caused by lightning, and all lightning causes thunder, Mersereau states, “there’s no such thing as ‘heat lightning’, a term used to describe lightning seen in the distance not accompanied by thunder.”
As this is the case, this phenomenon is simply lightning that occurs too far away for you to hear the thunder.
Thunderstorm Facts - Does Rain KILL Thunderstorms?
Rain is essentially the killer of some thunderstorms, especially since it is almost inevitable that each thunderstorm will produce copious amounts of precipitation. How is that possible, you ask?
It starts with updrafts, which are columns of warm air that aid the formation of thunderstorms. On top of these updrafts, surrounded by the storm’s clouds, are huge bundles of raindrops that are being formed before they spill out.
The raindrops, according to Dennis Mersereau from Mentalfloss.com, drags cooler air toward the ground, causing a downdraft. “The falling rain causes a downdraft, which is that cool breeze you feel before and during a storm.” Mersereau also states, “most downdrafts are pretty weak, but some are strong enough to cause damaging winds at the surface.”
This is why rain essentially kills the storms; once the downdraft cuts off the flow of warm air to the updraft, the thunderstorm is no longer able to progressively move and grow, causing the storm to rain out.
The following information was adapted from SERVPRO Restoration Newsline:
As a business owner, insurer, or property manager, you are a leader in your community and have the opportunity to set an example for your employees, customers and community to follow.
This year for National Preparedness Month (NPM), join your community in preparing for emergencies and disasters of all types, and lead efforts to encourage the community as a whole to become more prepared. “Disasters happen” and not only devastate individuals and neighborhoods, but entire communities, including businesses of all sizes.
With this being the case, you should strive to always have a plan of action in the event of an impending disaster in your area. And as always, for all of your restoration needs, call your local SERVPRO franchise today!
More Storm Information and Tips!
Parts of the following information was taken from SERVPRO Restoration Newsline, a publication for Members of the Insurance and Commercial property Industries.
There a few ways to become prepared for a disaster before they happen, but embracing the 2019 theme for National Preparedness Month could be a very good start.
The theme is: Prepared, Not Scared. Be Ready for Disasters.
To help ensure you follow this theme, you can become prepared for a disaster by taking three simple steps:
- Have a plan to stay in business
- Encourage your employees to become ready
- Protect your investment
If you follow these steps, you can take the lessons learned to other families to ensure that they, other businesses, places of worship, and neighborhoods are ready for any type of disaster that can potentially affect your local community, which can often lead to devastating conditions.
There are also many means of obtaining this important information. One of these sites can be found at Ready.gov/business, which allow homeowners and companies to find vital information on how to initially begin getting prepared to combat an impending disaster. This helps your organization address their unique needs during an emergency situation, allowing them to combat possible damages before they happen.
You can also contact your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals to find out more on how to be ready when disaster strikes with the SERVPRO Emergency READY program!
SERVPRO of Upper Bucks prepares for Hurricane Dorian
SERVPRO of Upper Bucks continues to prepare to deploy to areas impacted by Hurricane Dorian. SERVPRO of Upper Bucks is ready to assist with the clean up efforts needed when this storm has passed. SERVPRO can be trusted to restore your home or business affected by this storm.
Emergency Water Damage Process Overview!
Hello, everyone! We wanted to give you all a step-by-step process of how SERVPRO takes on water emergencies caused by storms or other excessive flooding.
Within one hour from the notice of your emergency, a Compliance Administrator from your local SERVPRO office will contact you to arrange a service.
From that point, and through the next four hours, SERVPRO will be at the site of your loss to start the mitigation process. One of the key points to note is that the sooner we arrive on site, the less damages and issues you can run into.
Then, a SERVPRO franchise professional will be able to give you a detailed explanation of the services that are to be provided, all while walking through your property so you know what to expect from our experienced technicians.
After you understand what to anticipate, SERVPRO will begin pretesting for restorability, working from the source of the damaged outward.
Within eight hours of arriving on-site, a verbal briefing of the scope will be communicated to the appropriate person, normally your adjuster or property manager.
Then the magic happens — your local SERVPRO will work neatly and efficiently to help you regain control of your property when a damaging event has taken over your home or business.
When the job is done, there will be a final walk through, with the owner or overseer of the property, to help ensure your satisfaction.
If you have been negatively impacted by the severe storms passing through our region, we hope you find solace in knowing that your local SERVPRO has got you covered!
Know Your Plan of Action When a Flood Occurs
With summer beginning, it's important to set forth a plan of action for your employees and family so they know what to do in case of a storm. SERVPRO is here to give you a few flood tips so you can be prepared.
If you are an employer, make evacuation plans that everyone knows and can implement. Assign a few individuals to keep a list of other employees names so everyone can be accounted for in an emergency situation. This list should contain phone numbers and names so all employers can be contacted if they are not in sight.
If water enters your home or workplace and evacuation is not possible, move to a higher floor and wait for rescuers. Do not try to get out on your own if it seems like a dangerous situation. If you are able to evacuate on your own, do not drive through flood waters or rising waters. Almost half of all flash flood fatalities are auto-related.
Other important tips to know during a flash flood are not to touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water and don't attempt to walk through moving water. Even six inches of moving water can cause you to fall or lose balance.
Do not use any type of open flame as there may be gas escaping from ruptured lines and this can cause a huge fire. Along with ruptured lines could be floodwaters contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. It is best to avoid floodwaters at all costs and wait for first responders for rescue.
A flood can be a scary and dangerous situation, but with these few tips, you, your family and employees can be safe and ready for whatever happens.
If you have been affected by a flood or have any questions, please reach out to SERVPRO of Upper Bucks for answers or help.
SERVPRO Safety Tips: Preparing for Snowmelt Flooding
With Philadelphia and its surrounding areas getting anywhere from 1 to 6 inches of snowfall with the most recent snow storm, home and business owners are anticipating flooding — and rightfully so.
Snowmelt is a term that, quite literally, defines itself — it is running water made up of melting snow, which can be dangerous. As temperatures rise, snow and ice buildups become one of the main culprits behind flooding of homes, businesses, streets, fields and bodies of water.
Preparing for flooding before it happens will likely decrease your chances of falling victim to flood damage caused by snowmelt. Consider these tips:
- Purchase a sump pump and test it regularly; these devices, when working properly, help prevent liquid buildup in your home/business.
- Inspect your property for cracks on walls, floors or corners of your foundation. Water can still seep through porous concrete, but sealing cracks will decrease your chances of water breaching your property.
- If possible, clear your property’s high points of snow — copious amounts of snow collects on roofs and overhangs, which can be liable to leak through the top of your foundation.
- After a snowfall, clear a large path around the perimeter of your home/business. If you don’t have access to a snow blower, the ole’ shovel and elbow grease will do the trick.
Keeping these tips in mind will benefit you if your home or business is close to being compromised by snowmelt flooding. But remember, when winter weather strikes, SERVPRO strikes back!
If you are in need of water restoration services due to any type of storm, call your local SERVPRO so our Franchise Professionals can get your home or business back in shape!
At SERVPRO, we’ve taken great pride in providing restoration services for both residential and commercial owners for over 50 years. While we anticipate a high volume of calls due to the most recent winter storm, it is imperative that you prepare your property for the inclement weather accordingly, beforehand to ensure your safety.
Unfortunately, winter storms can be quite unpredictable, both in size and in nature, which prevents the public from avoiding damages to their property — that’s where we come in.
When winter weather strikes, we strike back. SERVPRO utilizes determined technicians who are dedicated to turning your losses into new beginnings.
Don’t let the winter weather get you down — call SERVPRO today for all of your restoration needs!
Like it never even happened.
Content By: Rob D'Emilio
What To Do & What Not To Do After Flooding
A picture of a home we were called out to help with water damage after a summer storm.
Heavy thunderstorms are known to cause flooding both inside and outside of the house. Here are a few tips of what to do if your house has flooded during this storm season.
What To Do After Flooding
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
- Turn on the air conditioning for maximum drying during the summer months.
- Remove art objects to a safe, dry place and remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Gather loose items from the floor.
What NOT To Do After Flooding
- Do not leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
- Don’t leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
- Don’t use your household vacuum to remove the water.
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet and avoid being in rooms where the ceilings are sagging.
- Do not use the your television or other household appliances.
Content by: SERVPRO Corporate
Picture By: SERVPRO of Upper Bucks
Florence Response and Recovery
SERVPRO offices are teaming up to help recovery efforts
Hurricane Florence to Cause Catastrophic Damage
2018 hurricane damage in billions of dollars.
Hurricane Florence is set to hit the Carolinas this week and was just downgraded to a category 2 hurricane. This downgrade doesn’t necessarily mean that the damage this storms sets to cause will not be catastrophic. The category of the storm only denotes the speed of the storms winds but not the storm surges. With this information it is hard to tell how much damage the storm will truly cause but is expected to be on par with the level of damage that last years historically destructive storms caused. Forecasters say that Hurricane Florence will cause its destruction with its high winds, coastal surge, followed by its inland surge. The hurricanes are causing more and more damage each time as more people are moving to the coast and investing in bigger, more expensive houses. Many of the houses will take a hit as it is expected to dump around 10 trillion gallons of rainfall in North Carolina alone. Make sure you and your house are prepared for any level of damage with this storm.
Content and picture by: https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/13/us/hurricane-florence-south-east-coast-wxc/index.html
Hurricane Florence To Test Emergency Preparedness
Hurricanes are among the toughest tests of the emergency preparedness of institutional and commercial facilities, and facility managers on the U.S. east coast are about to find out just how prepared their facilities are for a major hurricane.
More than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate along the U.S. southeast coast as Hurricane Florence, the most powerful to menace the Carolinas in nearly three decades, barrels closer, according to Reuters.
Florence, a Category 4 storm packing winds of 130 miles per hour, was expected to make landfall most likely in southeastern North Carolina near the South Carolina border, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
In addition to flooding the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 12 feet, Florence could drop 20-30 inches of rain in places, posing the risk of deadly flooding miles inland, forecasters say. They warned the storm could linger for days after making landfall. Florence arrives as some facilities in the Southeast United States continue to recover from 2017 Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, which caused a tremendous amount of damage. Among those facilities damaged by the storms were 32 Georgia health centers, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Those facilities will receive a federal grant of $9.6 million, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The award was part of $60 million given to health centers nationwide that are funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration. The department says the money “will help ensure continued access to quality primary health care services at community health centers in Georgia affected by the hurricanes.”
HHS Secretary Alex Azar says the grants will help the centers recover and strengthen their readiness for next time.
This Quick Read was submitted by Ryan Berlin, managing editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.
Content by: https://www.facilitiesnet.com/emergencypreparedness/tip.aspx?id=42230&email=marketingstaff@SERVPROupperbucks.com&source=facility_insider&utm_source=facility_insider&utm_campaign=9/12/2018&utm_medium=email
Fall Storm Weather!
Meteorological fall began this past weekend on September 1st! The meteorological seasons are defined by the annual temperature cycles in groups of three months at a time. Hurricanes, tornadoes and snow are just a few of the weather types that fall brings. Many people associate summer with hurricane season but hurricane season is actually only halfway over. The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends November 30th so hurricanes are still of concern. This storm season lasts in to the fall because the atmospheric conditions are typically more favorable for a larger area of the Atlantic Basin. Not only do we still have to take precautions for hurricanes in the fall but this is also the considered the second season for tornadoes. The low pressures that the U.S. experiences in the fall can help set up the perfect recipe for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Be sure to take the necessary precautions to prepare your home for potential damage caused by the changing fall weather!
Content by: https://weather.com/science/weather-explainers/news/2018-08-28-meteorological-fall-begins-september-hurricanes-tornado
All About Flash Floods!
Shown above is a flash flood at Cobbs Creek in Philadelphia, Pa.
We all get those “Flash Flood Warnings” on our phones during a heavy rain storm and most people don’t think much of it. Flash floods are actually very dangerous and can cause some serious damage. A flash flood is defined as a flood that develops in less then 6 hours. These floods can occur anywhere but are more prone to occur in areas that deal with poor drainage systems. Heavy rain in the main culprit for starting a flash flood but ice james, dam failures and large amounts of snow melting can also cause one. Areas that are densely populated are actually most at risk for flash flooding as there is a lot of paved roads and less area for water to be absorbed. If you find yourself in an area where a flash flood is occurring or may occur try to get to higher ground and no matter how low the water looks, do not attempt to cross it. The scariest part of a flash flood is how fast the water can rise. If you do receive a flash flood warning this doesn't always mean there is one occurring at the time but there may be one that could occur.
If you find your house has been affected by water damage due to a flash flood or a heavy storm give SERVPRO of Upper Bucks a call at (215)- 536-7989 today!
Picture by: https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2017/06/21/how-one-philadelphia-neighborhood-battles-rising-tides/
Know Your Flood Zones!
One of the most important things to be aware of when buying a home is the flood zone that it is located in. Being aware of what zone you are located in is the first step in preparing your house for any potential flood damage. The zone will tell you how likely you are to suffer from a flood in your area and the level that your house was built to withstand. Flood maps and the flood history of your region can be found online by simply plugging in your zip code. The different zones you will need to be aware of are:
- Blue Zones: Blue zones have a 1% chance annually of flooding. These have been determined to have significant flooding at least once every 100 years. A 1% chance may not seem too significant but it is actually considered to be a high risk area and if you are living in a blue zone you should take the proper steps to prepare your home.
- Orange Zones: These zones have a 0.2% chance annually of flooding. These are said to face significant flooding once every 500 years. The insurance rates for homes in orange areas are likely to be lower as the risk of damage is not as great. The biggest things to watch out for in your home in this zone is leaks and excessive surface runoff.
- Yellow Zones: Yellow zones are areas that the flood risk has not been determined. If you are thinking of buying a home in a yellow zone be sure to research the areas flood history in order to gain some information before buying.
- Blue with Red Stripes: These areas are deemed regulatory floodways. These often are rivers and the surrounding floodplain. The floodplains are normally kept clear in order to be able to withstand potential flooding. There are some circumstances in which there are houses located in or very close to a floodplain. These homes need to take extra precautions for potential flooding.
Understanding what zone your current or future home is located in is a key part in being able to best prepare your house in the event of a flood.
Content by: https://www.valuepenguin.com/homeowners-insurance/how-to-prevent-home-flooding
Micro Burst can cause serious flooding
Great information about micro burst from www.weather.gov
Every year we see these smaller weather events cause significant water damage.
What is a microburst?
A microburst is a downdraft (sinking air) in a thunderstorm that is less than 2.5 miles in scale. Some microbursts can pose a threat to life and property, but all microbursts pose a significant threat to aviation. Although microbursts are not as widely recognized as tornadoes, they can cause comparable, and in some cases, worse damage than some tornadoes produce. In fact, wind speeds as high as 150 mph are possible in extreme microburst cases.
There are a handful of factors that cause microbursts to develop, including mid-level dry air entrainment, cooling beneath the thunderstorm cloud base, sublimation (occurs when the cloud base is above the freezing level), and the existence of rain and/or hail within the thunderstorm (i.e. precipitation loading). Some microbursts are driven by a combination of these factors while others may only be driven by one factor. Due to this, microbursts can be subdivided into three primary types -- wet, dry, and hybrid. Cooling beneath the thunderstorm cloud base and sublimation are the primary forcing mechanisms with dry microbursts. Dry microbursts typically occur with very little precipitation at the surface or aloft, hence the dry type. Wet microbursts, on the other hand, are primarily driven by entrainment of mid-level dry air and precipitation loading. Hybrid microbursts possess characteristics of both wet and dry microbursts. They are forced in the mid-levels by dry air entrainment and/or precipitation loading and in the low-levels by cooling beneath the cloud base and/or sublimation.
It's possible that the microburst that produced an 81 mph wind gust at Amarillo on July 22 was a hybrid microburst with an inclination toward the wet side. Before discussing the image below, we need to provide some background information first. The National Weather Service in Amarillo performs an upper air observation by releasing a radiosonde twice a day (currently 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.). These observations are vital for forecasters to assess how the vertical structure of the atmosphere changes with time. The data that are received by these radiosondes can be graphically plotted on a diagram called a Skew-T (Figure 1). Pressure lines are the horizontal lines and they decrease with height; the surface is the brown colored area at the bottom of the image. The bold red line on the Skew-T is the actual air temperature and the bold green line is the actual dew point temperature. As these lines move toward the left, values decrease, and as the lines move toward the right, values increase. It can be seen that as pressure decreases (height increases), the temperature generally decreases. The closer together the temperature and dew point lines are to each other, the greater the amount of saturation. When they are farther apart, it indicates less saturation. On the Skew-T below, the lines are far apart between the surface and roughly 8,000 feet above the surface, indicating this layer in the atmosphere is not very saturated (i.e. a dry layer). Between 8,000 feet and 15,000 feet, the lines are closer together, which implies a layer in the atmosphere that is more saturated (i.e. more moist). This layer is where clouds are most likely to form due to the greater saturation. Between 15,000 feet and 37,000 feet, the separation between the temperature and dew point substantially increases, which indicates a large layer of dry air.
Figure 1. Amarillo Skew-T for the evening of July 22.
The Skew-T for Amarillo at 6 p.m. on the evening of July 22 (Figure 1) was modified for conditions just before the microburst occurred -- an air temperature of 100 F and a dew point temperature of 56 F. Modifying this Skew-T indicates a close match to a what a hybrid microburst Skew-T would look like. Abundant mid-level dry air was present, indicating the potential for this to be entrained into a thunderstorm. There was also a lot of dry air in the lower levels, indicating the potential for cooling below the cloud base. The cloud base was warmer than freezing, so sublimation should not have played a role in driving the microburst. The atmosphere was moderately unstable (characterized by a surface-based CAPE value of 1,591 J/kg), meaning that the air was more than buoyant enough for thunderstorms to develop. This also indicates that updrafts (rising air) within any thunderstorms could be strong enough to cause precipitation loading. Putting all of this information together indicates a high potential for microburst formation, regardless of whether dry, wet, or hybrid microbursts were most favored. Nonetheless, the driving forces for microburst production that were present likely favored hybrid microbursts.
Severe Storms and Weather
Lightning Strikes Close
Did you know?
Lightning strikes kill more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes? (www.redcross.org)
Severe weather is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. Severe storms can wreak havoc on your home or business and can be accompanied by flash flooding, damaging winds, fallen trees and power outages.
One of the most common disasters SERVPRO of Upper Bucks remediates is roofs damaged, if not destroyed, by a fallen tree. In fact, as is common throughout the United States, winds may be strong enough to down tree limbs, knock out power, or may even be strong enough to down entire trees onto homes, parked cars, or whatever happens to cross their path, thus producing structural damage to homes and buildings (www.weather.com).
In a more severe circumstance, SERVPRO teams from the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area collectively responded to the victims of Hurricane Sandy back in 2012. Countless homes, stores, vacation retreats and hotels were severely impacted and many of them have required years of repairs and recovery.
Therefore, with the amount of damage that can be done, it is important for you to adhere to any known storm warning or threat of severe weather. Stay indoors, secure your immediate area and if possible, stay up-to-date.
What Do You Do When Stuck With a Severe Storm Aftermath?
SERVPRO is Ready to Help in Any Emergency Situation
Within a 48-hour period, Southern Louisiana was bogged down underneath inches upon inches of flood waters.
The storms struck Louisiana hard. Homes, businesses, churches and the like left their owners at a loss for what to do.
Many, if not most, of the residents were unprepared for such extensive devastation. As the flood waters began to recede, many individuals were finding that flood-related damages are not covered by their insurance.
As many are still bunkered down in Louisiana shelters, the last thing the victims of such a devastating disaster need to worry about are disputes with insurance companies or feeling bewilderd and overwhelmed by where to begin recovering.
The floods in Louisiana are just one example of how damaging natural or unexpected disasters can be. Luckily, help is only a phone call away.
SERVPRO is always ready to spring to action and assist with emergency water mitigation as well as restoring some sense of normalcy to the lives of those affected by storm damage. SERVPRO's are happy to work together in an emergency situation to help aid in the recovery process.
Call SERVPRO and we will do what it takes to make any disaster, "Like it never even happened!"