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Protecting Your Home from Wind Damage Caused by Hurricane

It is important to get your home prepared for the hurricane before its arrival because there will be lots of strong wind that bring powerful debris that are capable of damaging your house. You should make the weakest areas of your home such as roof, windows, garage door, and the main entrance and back doors. Making improvements in your home does not guarantee that it won’t suffer from any damage when the hurricane hit. You must take heed of the authorities if they ask you to quickly evacuate your home.

To prevent the windows from flying open, you can install boards over them. Alternatively, you can install the storm shutters over the windows and glass structure such as sliding door, and skylights. Sealing the windows with a mask tape won’t help as the tape is not strong enough. You should check with the local building code to see if you need to obtain a permit when installing the shutter.

You can secure all doors that are facing outside with deadbolts. T
he bolts that come with most doors are not strong enough for protection against the hurricane. It is recommended that you get the reinforcing bolt kits that are supplied by your door manufacturer to strengthen your door. On a double door, there are active and inactive doors. The inactive door is the door that always stay locked. You must make sure that the bolts on top and bottom of the inactive door are strong enough to protect against the hurricane winds.

Double wide garage doors tend to shake and easily crack when the strong wind blow against it. The strong wind can damage your home if it manages to break the garage door. When strengthening the garage door, you can check with the local building code to see if there is any requirement in the area. Retrofit kits can be used to strengthen the garage doors. You can use a retrofit kit to strengthen the garage door with horizontal bracing on the door panels. Heavy duty hinges can be used to reinforce the door. You can inspect the garage door’s track to see if it is loose. If the track is loose, you will have to install a stronger track.

You can install hurricane straps over the roof of the house. Gabled roof are more likely to get damaged during the hurricane because they have weaker structure. Gabled roof is built with trusses that are held together by a plywood. You can install more truss bracing to strengthen the plywood that supports the gabled roof. You can go to your attic to check the roof bracing and see if it is properly installed. You must reinstall the sheathing if the majority of the big nails did not go through the trusses. If there is any loose tile on your roof, you can use the roofing cement to secure the tiles.

Massive Flooding in Southeast Texas

Heavy rains have caused widespread, massive flooding in southeastern Texas this week that has claimed the lives of at least seven people and left scores of homes flooded. Emergency crews worked around the clock to perform over 1200 high water rescues in the Houston area as some residents were forced to swim out of their homes. Over 123,000 homes were left without power in the Houston area Monday although crews had restored power to most by Tuesday afternoon.

As of Wednesday morning, there were scores of evacuations ongoing in Houston as local creeks continue to rise. A Coast Guard rescue crew recovered the body of an unidentified person Tuesday along the San Jacinto River. That person was reported missing after a boat capsized near I-10 in Harris County. Four other people on board that boat were rescued from the water at about 8pm. Meanwhile, officials were inspecting the integrity of two dams on the west side of Houston that they consider “extremely high risk”. If these dams break, the flood damage could exceed $60 billion and most likely claim many lives.

The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott declared a state of emergency for nine counties in his state due to the massive flooding. Rain was coming down at a rate of four inches per hour Monday which flooded numerous creeks at rapid rates to leave many residents trapped inside their homes and vehicles. In northwest Houston, rainfall totals of 10 to 20 inches were recorded as hundreds of emergency calls were made by local residents who needed help getting out of their homes.

This is the worst flooding Houston has seen since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. Hundreds of residents stayed in 13 emergency shelters Monday night that had been opened by the American Red Cross in Harris and other southeastern Texas counties. At least four of the Houston-area school districts canceled classes for the week due to flooding concerns and power outages. The bad news is that the NWS says that it will take until Friday before enough dry air comes in from the northwest to end the rounds of heavy rain falling over southeastern Texas.

Winter Weather Likely To Stick Around For A Few More Weeks

Cold weather is upon us in most of the northern states and even many of the southern states that experience a chill this time of year are finding their evenings getting a little too cold for comfort. With the cold, usually come storms, in the northern areas, that can be rain, sleet, freezing rain, snow or a blizzard. Southern states might get some flurries or freezing rain. The south’s biggest concern tends to be frost and freeze warnings. Obviously, as with any other northerner, I find the way they freak out over some flurries or frost on the ground very amusing.

While some storms just show us the beauty of nature, painting everything a beautiful shade of white with crystal ice prisms, other storms can pose a real threat to your safety. Sleet, freezing rain and that horrible, heavy wet snow is not only a major traffic hazard, that ice and snow can also be heavy enough to rip some pretty big trees right out of the ground by the roots, and that tree can crash down on your room giving you air conditioning at the worst time of the year. Something like that, insurance companies call “acts of God,” but the major point is there isn’t much anyone can do to prevent it, unless they make sure they have no trees anywhere near their property. Of course, this would escalate their cooling costs astronomically through the summer and also aesthetically make your property look a bit bare and odd.

The other dangers of those storms can certainly be mitigated so you risk little to no damage, although nothing is guaranteed, better safe than sorry. One thing you want to make sure if you are in an area that regularly gets several feet of snow is do your best to keep it to a minimum on your roof. Too much snow, especially heavy, wet snow can cause your roof to collapse. There are a couple of ways to achieve this. The first is the least expensive, but the most work. Simply get out a ladder and using a good push broom (a shovel may damage your roof), slowly and carefully clear the snow from your roof. Keep in mind while you are doing this, that your roof will be slippery, and the risk of falling is high, so you would also want to secure yourself with some type of harness attached to something sturdy like your chimney.

The other way to keep your roof snow free is quite easy although it can be a bit costly both for the installation and the electric it takes to use. There are roof heating systems that can be installed which when turned on, heat your roof and melt the snow. While I’m sure there are do it yourself kits available, I would really recommend you have a professional install such a system. Unless you are an electrician, you are dealing with some pretty complicated wiring and it’s best to let the professionals do such jobs. Remember, your physical safety is really the most important thing when using either of these methods to keep your roof snow free.

Avoiding Interior Water Damage With Some Plumbing Tips

Even though we are coming into winter, basement flooding can be a big problem this time of year in many places throughout the country because a lot of states will have a blizzard one day and then a couple days later have the temperature shoot up to nearly 60 degrees and melt the three feet of snow all around the foundation of your home.

There are things you can do if you have a basement that has a tendency to flood. First of all, you can have a sump pump installed. This is something it is best to have a professional like ABC Company do. If you hire “Joe Handyman” because he tells you he will do the job nice and cheap, you might find that your cheap handyman put the sump pump at the highest point in your basement instead of the lowest.

Another thing that can help are French drains. Now there are many types of French drains, and depending on the reason your basement floods depends on what type you might need. Again, this is something you really want to have a professional do for you like ABC Company. They have the knowledge and experience to fix the problem so it isn’t a problem. There are outdoor French drains and indoor French drains. Where I grew up, we needed both indoor and outdoor French drains, plus two sump pumps. That might explain why I live on top of a mountain now.

An outdoor French drain may be right next to the foundation or further out on the property. Its purpose is to redirect the water around your foundation because the water can run through the pipes and stones more easily than through your foundation.

Indoor French drains are more typical for homes where the water is coming up from the ground as opposed to run off from somewhere else. They work much the same way as outdoor French drains, with the pipes and stones making the water flow easily through the drain as opposed to rising to the point of flooding your basement. Indoor French drains are typically installed along with a sump pump just in case of overflow.

Flooding Disaster Could Cost Billions in South Carolina

The historic flooding in South Carolina has caused immense damage throughout the state. The damage from Hurricane Joaquin’s rain is going to be well into the billions of dollars, making this disaster right up there with Sandy and Katrina. The videos already posted on social media sites such as YouTube are simply astounding and jaw dropping to behold, such misery and destruction.

It is not just the damage that residents need to worry about right now. Residents drinking water has been contaminated in many areas, and officials are warning people to boil their water in order to decontaminate it. Also there is a worry about infections and diseases, since flood water is a known carrier of viruses, bacteria and other dangerous pathogens. This flood water also has the possibility to be carrying dangerous chemicals within the water, since this flood water has moved through storm water systems, industrial waste sites and other businesses.

At the very least not one hospital has had to evacuate, as there had been an earlier fear that the area hospitals might need to do emergency evacuations. The hospitals have been kept busy with scores of people sustaining injuries, many of these due to accidents on the few roads that remained open. Plenty of emergency and rescue helicopters have been flying back and forth from area hospitals, dropping off those who were rescued.

Acting Transportation Secretary Christy Hall has warned residents to please stay put, with no unnecessary traveling. This is in response to the fact that over 100 bridges and 550 roads have been closed due to the storm, amid safety concerns, from structural concerns to sink holes, to massive wide scale flooding. These closures are expected to only increase over the next few days as the flood waters surge towards the coast, giving relief to some, yet flooding new areas.

The States capital saw it’s first dry day since Sept. 24, with flood waters finally receding there. The capital however still has a midnight to 6 a.m curfew in effect, and national guardsmen have been seen rendering assistance in the capital.

The danger now is the low country areas, because of the massive amount of water heading towards the coast. the Santee, Edisto and other rivers make their way to the sea, and these rivers have not even yet hit their peak. Georgetown, which was already flooded, will see much more flooding before this is over, since Georgetown sits along the coast, exactly where the flood water from other areas of the state are heading. Georgetown also has the misfortune to be at the confluence of 4 rivers. Effingham also flooded, due to the Lynches river peaking at nearly 20 feet as of Tuesday.

With thousands and thousands of people losing there homes, hope is bleak for many residents here. Some lucky ones will be able to have their property saved, thanks to the efforts of emergency water damage first responder crews, who are already gearing up and being deployed to the effected areas.

Winter Storm Damon Barrels Down On The East Coast

A new and powerful winter storm is making its rounds through the Northeast and will continue to do so until Thursday, accompanied by strong winds, heavy rainfall, sleet, accumulated snow, and even will pose the risk of coastal flooding. This system will strengthen and make its way through the mid-Atlantic coast on Tuesday, and then continue inland on Tuesday night, moving all the way into Thursday.

According to a leading meteorologist with AccuWeather, this will be a snowstorm for some areas that are inland, but it will be tropical-storm like for residents living along the coast and a lot of Interstate-95.

The heaviest snow is more likely to occur on the Endless, Adirondack, Green, White, Longfellow, and Catskill Mountains; and they can expect 6 to 12 inches with locally higher amounts possible. This weather is welcome for people who have interests in outdoor activities such as skiing or snowboarding, but travel wise, the conditions will not be favorable. As for the traveling in these conditions, Interstates 81, 87, 88, 90, 91, and 93 will be the most snow covered with this system.

As for inland and outside of the mountainous areas, the rate of snowfall will determine how bad the traveling conditions will get. The temperatures will have a large impact on snow melting or freezing and causing icy roads. The snow would have to fall at a very fast rate in order to accumulate on paved surfaces outside of the mountains.
The communities that are at risk for heavy snow and treacherous traveling conditions include Scranton, Lebanon, Caribou, Binghamton, Syracuse, Rutland, and Burlington. If enough warm air enters this area at the right time, this snow will turn into more of a wintry mix or even rain for a short period of time.

Even though there may be some heavier bursts of icy conditions to start off, the snow will be pretty light on Interstates 68, 70, 79, 80, 81, and 86 in the central Appalachians and toward the eastern Great Lakes to be wet or slushy on Tuesday through Wednesday.

When the snow begins to turn into rain in the Northeast, it could cause problems for motorists in the area due to some icing over of roads. Icy conditions have already caused a few accidents and road closures on major highways early Tuesday morning from central Pennsylvania to northern Virginia.

If you live in the I-95 corridor from Boston on to Washington D.C, then you can expect mostly rain with little or no snow. The rain alone may bring some negative impacts to travelers and residents alike, as the heavy rain can threaten to trigger flooding in low-lying and poor drainage areas.

If you plan on traveling by airliner, it is in your best interest to prepare for flight delays and cancellations, poor visibility, and risk of hydroplaning. These conditions will spread from Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City during the day on Tuesday to Boston for the evening commute
.

As for coastal flooding, the threat will be most prominent on Tuesday from Delaware to New Jersey beaches, and even New York to New England. For NY and NE, the threat will increase Tuesday night father north along the eastern coast as winds whip across the region. This won’t pack too much of a punch though, as it will probably only be limited to a couple of hours due to high tides. The winds along the coast may be strong enough to cause localized damage and power outages, and the gusts will more than likely top out at about 50 mph in some coastal areas. Also, the strong onshore winds at the coast will be shut off as the storm moves northward and inland through midweek.

Colder air will then wrap into the storm, along with snow and flurries through Thursday night. There is a possibility of accumulation across the I-95 corridor, but the places that are most susceptible to the snow are New England and the Appalachians. Pennsylvania and western and central New York are also likely to receive some lake-enhanced snow.

Flash Flooding Threatens Many Parts of US This Week

People living in the Midwest, South and East are being told that flash flooding could occur this week as could severe thunderstorms. A southward dip in the jet stream is now over the Rockies and will be pushing eastward through the middle part of the week. The moist air that will be ahead of the jet stream will trigger heavy rains over a large part of the United States from the southern Plains through the Ozarks and Mississippi Valley Monday and onward toward the East Coast by mid-week.

Since many states have already received heavy rainfall last week, the threat of flash flooding is very significant in portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas early this week. Then as the inclement weather marches east, flash flooding may take place in parts of the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, the mid-south and the Tennessee Valley region. If the frontal system is sluggish, the heavy rainfall may continue on in parts of the Appalachians and East into as late as Thursday.

A squall line of severe thunderstorms will move from southwest Missouri Monday morning northeastward to the eastern part of Illinois and western Indiana during the evening hours. Some of the thunderstorms moving through this part of the country could be severe wherein large hail and even tornadoes are produced. Rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches should be common from the eastern portion of Kansas to Michigan and western Indiana with some areas getting 3 to 5 inches. Flash and urban flooding is very possible due to the heavy rain.

In addition to heavy rain, the National Weather Service stated Monday that damaging winds are also a threat in and around the areas which have flash flooding potential. Also, the NWS says that large damaging hail may come down and that tornadoes cannot be ruled out. Over 4 million people are at risk for severe weather Monday heading into Tuesday as severe storms, high winds, hail and tornado activity are threatening those living in several metropolitan areas including Memphis, TN, Jackson, TN, Jonesboro, AR, Pine Bluff, AK and Monroe, LA.

Derecho Hits Alabama, Texas, & Louisiana Leaving Thousands Without Power

Louisiana, Arkansas, and northern Texas experienced what is known as a derecho, or a long lasting severe weather system on Thursday night. This system was powerful and downed trees, knocked out power for thousands, and ruined homes and businesses alike. There was at least one tornado that was spotted near Lake City in Arkansas, but this was not confirmed. On Friday morning, at least 188,000 were still without power in Texas.

There was an area of warm, moist air that was set up throughout Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma on Thursday, and temperatures were in the upper 80’s for most of the region. These conditions were favorable of sustaining the thunderstorms, which in turn developed a cold front.

In a town named Wills Point just east of Dallas, the sustained winds reached as high as 83 mph according to the local storm reports. Also, one person was struck by lightning in Texas as well. A woman was entering her car when the lightning struck nearby. She is said to be doing okay but was taken to a Medical Center for precautionary reasons.

In Texas, the strong storms that barreled through Dallas and Fort Worth left buildings and vehicles alike in ruin, as well as knocking out power for hundreds of thousands as well. A man suffered minor injuries after a roof blew off at a local church in Arlington, according to the police reports. The Fort Worth Stockyards, a popular tourist attraction, has been decimated by the storm. Walls collapsed and piles of bricks were also crushing cars. A revolving door was destroyed by high winds at the University of North Texas Health Science Center according to the National Weather Service.

Some schools were also canceled on Friday because of the power outages combined with the severe weather.  Also, a couple of apartment complexes suffered structural damages in Arlington, and many flights were canceled due to the inclement weather. Also, NBC DFW reported that power lines were down on Interstate 20, which immediately halted traffic.

In Arkansas, at least one tornado was spotted. Survey crews with the National Weather Service still have yet to view the storm damage to determine whether or not it was caused by a tornado or just by straight-line winds.

On Thursday, parts of the state also reported that the wind damage was widespread. Little Rock National Airport underwent an evacuation due to a tornado warning that was in effect. On Thursday night, there were reports that cars crashed into trees that were blown down by the storms on Interstate 30, and essentially 40,000 are still without power today.

As for Louisiana, numerous trees and power lines were downed in North Bossier Parish according to local authorities. On Friday morning, at least 10,000 people were still without power. One of the trees that was brought down due to the winds fell onto a mobile home, but luckily no injuries were reported. On Thursday night, the winds in Louisiana gusted all the way up to 60 mph.

In Alabama, very strong gusty winds moved through the state overnight and left moderate damage in its wake. Red Bay, a small town was hit hard by the winds and two roofs were blown off according to reports. National Weather Service teams will conduct a survey of the storm damage to Strayhorn Elementary School in Tate County on Friday morning after the building was severely damaged by the passing storms.

How the Changing Climate Will Affect Weather In the Midwest

If you’re a resident living in the Midwest, then brace yourself for more crazy weather projections. According to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, we can expect more extreme heat, heavier downpours and flooding, serious consequences for the ecosystems of the Great Lakes, and changes in the region’s economy. Did you know that temperatures in the Midwest have already risen of 1.5 F from 1900 to 2010, with the increase speeding up more rapidly in the last 30 years? Here is how the effects of the warming will change Michigan and the rest of the Midwest:

Reductions in Crop: Climate change will bring a lot of competition, both good and bad. Higher temperatures means a longer growing season, but that also increases the risk of a sudden cold snap in the spring. This can affect the economy in plenty of ways, and it is not necessarily good. Heat waves during pollination season can cut down crop yields, and seasonal periods of hotter temperatures are usually drier as well. This is predicted to increase in the regions southern portion around Missouri.

Next, there will be more drought AND heavier rains. Although the Midwest is not as drought-stricken as the southwest, it will still likely get dry regions drier and regions that are already fairly wet, wetter. The NCA shows a 10 to 20 percent increase in spring and winter precipitation by 2099 with no attendant changes in summer and fall. This won’t necessarily be spaced out evenly over time. The drought duration will actually become longer with the added precipitation packed into more isolated bursts. Precipitation for the Midwest has already shot up 37 percent since 1958.

So what does this mean for the Midwest? It means more flooding. An increase in flooding can lead to the overflow of sewers, which means that it could possibly contaminate the rivers and streams, as well as the great lakes.  Any runoff from these downpours also carries fertilizers and other chemicals into the lakes as well, and that is shown already by the algae blooms that occur in Lake Erie during the summer.

Next, climate change will cause more heat waves. This could become a problem because most of the housing the region is designed for colder temperatures.

This could also be dangerous for the Great lakes. The water levels present in these lakes have fallen exponentially over the last decade or two. In another example of the climate change, the ice coverage on the Great Lakes has dropped dramatically from the 1973-1982 period to 2003-2013. Less ice can also lead to erosion and more vulnerability of the shorelines to flooding.

 

Midwest & Northeast At Risk For Flooding

Widespread flooding is now normality for areas in Illinois and Indiana, as heavy rains dumped down over small counties and large cities on Thursday night into Friday morning. State police in Indiana were forced to close down a section of Interstate 69 after the roadway had become water logged. The police were then moving traffic onto a local Indiana highway.

The area between Fort Wayne and Muncie has experienced the highest rainfall totals according to the National Weather Service, and they also issued several warnings for many counties in the affected area.  The emergency manager of Blackford County reported that the county of Muncie had over 8 inches of rain, and this forced the school district in the area to close for the day. No injuries have been reported, but there are many reports of small roadways and basements being flooded out.

On Friday morning, the National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for Grant, Blackford, Jay, Wabash, Huntington, and Wells counties. They also reported that 7-10 inches of rain had fallen in eastern Grant and Blackford counties, with at least 7 inches falling since midnight. Runoff from this extensive rainfall could cause flooding throughout the day.

As for Chicago, they also experienced some heavy rainfall that caused flooding on Friday morning.  There is a chance that these thunderstorms may continue into the weekend. Heavy rainfall on Thursday night left many Chicago areas flooded, including many residential areas. The Midway Airport recorded 4.5 inches of rain in less than three hours. Luckily for the residents of Chicago, the weekend will not be a complete washout. Sunday should bring with it sunny skies and warmer temperatures.

The biggest threat for severe weather is on Friday, and this is in Chicago and parts of Indiana. The whole central Plains and Ohio Valley are at risk for severe weather. Even the Carolinas may see some disturbances. Damaging winds and large hail are the main threats with this system, and luckily the tornado threat will remain relatively low. Slow moving thunderstorms will bring the threat of flash floods to parts of the Northwest, Midwest, and interior Northeast at times through Saturday. By Sunday, everything should be cleared up for the most part.

It is important to always stay up to date on the forecast in your area, and to make sure that you are prepared in case of an emergency. Do not try to cross any flooded roadways, as the waters may be deeper than you think. If you need updates in your area, check with the Weather Channel or your local weather authority.