Recent Storm Damage Posts

What to do During and After a Flash Flood

9/3/2020 (Permalink)

house in a lightening storm While we hope you never experience a disaster in your home, we do know we are ready to help you restore it in the event of one

Flash floods occur as a result of heavy rainfall, rapid snow thaw, city drains overflowing or dam/levee failures. They occur quickly and unexpectedly. Flash Floods can effect ANYWHERE at ANYTIME, because it does rain everywhere. Now, most places are more prone to flooding, and it would be wise to learn about your local area. Cities and Urban environments are most common to flash floods, because of the impermeable surfaces, like asphalt and concrete that make up a majority of our surface roads and sidewalks. 

Flash Flood Quick Facts

  1. Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
  2. Just 6 inches of rapidly moving floodwater can sweep someone off their feet.
  3. Just 2 feet of floodwater moving at 9 feet per second (standard speed of flash floods) is enough to sweep vehicles away, move 100 pound rocks, uproot trees or level buildings.

Survive DURING

  • Depending on where you are, and the impact and the warning time of flooding, go to the safe location that you previously identified.
  • If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Never drive around barricades. Local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas.
  • Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown!
  • Stay off bridges over fast-moving water. Fast-moving water can wash bridges away without warning.
  • If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, then stay inside. If water is rising inside the vehicle, then seek refuge on the roof.
  • If trapped in a building, then go to its highest level. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising floodwater. Go on the roof only if necessary. Once there, signal for help.

Be Safe AFTER

  • Listen to authorities for information and instructions. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Avoid driving, except in emergencies.
  • Snakes and other animals may be in your house. Wear heavy gloves and boots during clean up.
  • Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock.
  • Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris and be contaminated. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
  • Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery ONLY outdoors and away from windows.

What is a Hurricane?

9/3/2020 (Permalink)

house in a lightning storm While we hope you never experience a disaster in your home, we do know we are ready to help you restore it in the event of one

Hurricanes are Tropical Cyclone storms that form in the Atlantic Ocean and must have sustained winds of 74 mph or greater.  They are spinning with a low pressure center and spawn off serious thunderstorms which generate large amounts of rain, high winds, and storm surges.

Fun fact, if the exact same storm forms in the Pacific Ocean, it is called a Typhoon.

So, when does a Tropical Cyclone become a Hurricane and receive it name from NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)? It has everything to do with Wind Speed! Once the cyclone sustains winds at 34 mph, it gets its name, and we start calling it “Tropical Storm XXXX,” and when it hits 74 mph, it is promoted to “Hurricane XXXX.”

The NOAA has 6 sets of names that run from A-W; these names repeat until a name is retired. Typically a name is retired after it is catastrophic in damage or death.

I’m not a meteorologist, and I only know it’s raining when I get outside. So with Hurricane Dorian being the first big storm of the 2019 Hurricane Season, I was sent through a loop with the categories. Sure, I knew the bigger the number the scarier it was, but I was lost on the magnitude of what it all really meant.  The NOAA has a great chart, that helped me quite a bit, but by far The Weather Channel had the most amazing video. It really puts into perspective the damage that can happen from such a powerful storm.

The Weather Channel : Hurricane Damage from Cat 1 to Cat 5

We can talk all day long about the Saffir-Simpson Scale of Hurricane Winds, and I’ve even included the NOAA Chart for you, but that video is simply mind blowing. 

I hope our past few posts on how to prepare for storms and hurricanes is helping this hurricane season. To me, the unknown is scary, so I like to arm myself with as much knowledge as possible from reputable sites. Thank you for your time today, and Stay Safe and Stay Prepared. 

What to do Before a Hurricane arrives

9/3/2020 (Permalink)

house in a lightning storm While we hope you never experience a disaster in your home, we do know we are ready to help you restore it in the event of one

Hurricane Dorian is heading towards the US, even if it doesn’t come to North Carolina, knowing what to do before it hits can help prevent damage or loss to your family, house, and property. 

First things first, in the event of an emergency, please call 911.

Knowing the emergency contact numbers for Winston-Salem is very important.

City of Winston-Salem Police and Fire Department

Local Weather News

List of Necessary Items before a hurricane 

  1. An Emergency Readiness Plan for your family
  2. 3 days worth of water;
    a good rule of thumb is 1 gallon of water for each person or pet
  3. 3 days of non perishable food for each person or pet
  4. First Aid Kit
  5. Battery Powered Radio or NOAA radio alert 
  6. Portable Power bank to charge cell phones
  7. Full Tank of Gas in car
  8. Batteries
  9. Whistle to Signal for Help

How to Help your House survive the hurricane

  • Cover your windows with storm shutter or plywood, or use Tape. While tape won’t prevent your windows from breaking, it will help keep the broken glass shards together.
  • Learn if you are in an area that floods, and how to properly sand bag your home.
    How to Sandbag your Home or Business.
  • Clean out your rain gutters.

How to help your pet during a hurricane 

  • Please, if possible, provide shelter for your pets. 
  • If you pet goes missing know where to look.
    Forsyth Humane Society.
  • Spare Medication for your pets.
  • Copy of shot and medication records.

It's Time to Take Care of Your Rain Gutters

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

house in a lightning storm While we hope you never experience a disaster in your home, we do know we are ready to help you restore it in the event of one

Summer is winding down, kids are going back to school, the bugs are finally abating. August also means, at least for us in the triad anyways, hurricane season is really getting started.  We might not be on the coast, but we will still receive quite a bit of rain,  and inclement weather from the spin off of the storms. 

An ounce of prevention

Here is your reminder, just in case you might need one, that the gutters have been just hanging out and working hard all summer, and probably full of bird nests, leaves, twigs, and debris. I found a bunch of Nerf Darts in mine--the joys of having a house full of little boys.  While those gutters might be working now, are they prepared for the onslaught of a hurricane force rainstorm? While the weather is still somewhat tolerable, go ahead and get them cleaned out.  

Gutters are one of your first lines of defense

One of the leading causes of Roof and Water Damage is simply water piling up, pooling, and spilling out of your house’s rain gutters. This is an issue that you probably will not notice until it has become a bigger problem. I know, that I'm not up in my attic daily and wouldn't see the ever growing water stain, until it reaches the ceiling above my bed. That would be if I am lucky, maybe that water took another route and went down the wall and into the insulation. Where there is a water source, there will eventually be mold. It will quickly escalate and become a headache. So don’t forget to clean those RAIN GUTTERS! Go ahead and trim those trees and bushes back while you are up there.  

Keeping it rock solid

Once that roof is taken care of, you should turn your attention to the foundation. The most critical roles gutters play is channeling water around and away from your home.  If there is something blocking the bottom downspouts, then the water will have nowhere to go and pool around your foundation and landscaping.  Home Foundations are what you have built your hopes and dreams upon.  Excessive water around it might cause it to leak, shift, crack, or even sink into the surrounding surface.  A house’s structural integrity depends on a solid foundation.  I’ve got to make sure and mention that you’ll also want to watch where the water is running to; is it heading straight for your sidewalk into your home, or is it settling in your flowerbeds?  Make sure to note and correct any areas that water might be pooling unnecessarily.

What if it’s too late?

While cleaning up those gutters and checking your downspouts, make sure to keep a look out for damage that might have already happened.  Home maintenance is an easy and quick task, but once an issue does arise, it might be with your roof or basement, so calling a professional is always worth it.  I know we are in a DIY climate, but the roof over your head, and the foundation of your home are critical structures designed to keep everything else in your house safe and sound.

Some Winter Weather Q & A

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

house covered in snow While we hope you never experience a disaster in your home, we do know we are ready to help you restore it in the event of one

There's snow business like snow business.

Here's a fun Q & A about Snow in our Area.

Can it ever be too cold to snow?

It rarely snows when the temperature drops below zero degrees Fahrenheit because the atmosphere is too stable. One of the ingredients for snow is enough lifting of saturated air that snow can develop aloft and fall to reach the surface. 

What is thundersnow?

Although thunderstorms are less common in the winter, sometimes lightning can occur within snowstorms and is called thundersnow. Thundersnow can be found where there is relatively strong instability and abundant moisture above the surface, such as above a warm front. 

How many inches of snow equals one inch of rain?

On average, thirteen inches of snow equals one inch of rain in the US, although this ratio can vary from two inches for sleet to nearly fifty inches for very dry, powdery snow under certain conditions.

What is white lightning?

White lightning is a colloquial term for thunderstorms occurring with snow.

What are the important winter weather notices?

Blizzard Warning: Issued when winds of 35 mph or greater are combined with blowing and drifting snow with visibility of ¼ mile or less. Seek indoor shelter immediately and stay indoors until the severe conditions end.

Winter Storm Warning: Issued when a combination of hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin.

Winter Storm Watch: Issued 12-48 hours in advance of the onset of severe winter conditions. The watch may or may not be upgraded to a winter storm warning, depending on how the weather system moves or how it is developing.

Winter Storm Outlook: Issued prior to a Winter Storm Watch. The Outlook is given when forecasters believe winter storm conditions are possible and are usually issued 3 to 5 days in advance of a winter storm.

Winter Weather Advisories: Issued for accumulations of snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet which will cause significant inconveniences and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to life-threatening situations.

Wind Chill Warning: Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be hazardous to life within several minutes of exposure.

Wind Chill Advisory: Issued for a wind chill situation that could cause significant inconveniences, but do not meet warning criteria. Criteria for issuing Windchill Warnings and Advisories are set locally.

Dense Fog Advisory: Issued when fog will reduce visibility to ¼ mile or less over a widespread area.

Snow Flurries: Light snow falling for a short duration. No accumulation or light dusting is all that is expected.

Snow Showers: Snow falling at varying intensities for brief periods of time. Some accumulation is possible.

Blowing Snow: Wind-driven snow that reduces visibility and causes significant drifting. Blowing snow may be snow that is falling and/or loose snow on the ground picked up by the wind.

Never invite a Tree to a house party, It will never "Leaf"

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

house with fallen tree damage. broken roof. While we hope you never experience a disaster in your home, we do know we are ready to help you restore it in the event of one

What to do when a tree falls on your home. 

  1.  Evacuate the home.
    • Whenever a large branch or tree falls on a home it may have compromised the structural integrity of your home
  2. Call 911 or a non emergency line if there are no medical emergencies
    • For the city of WSNC 
      • Police & Fire (336) 773-7700
    • For the city of Pilot Mountain
      • Police (336) 368-4725
      • Fire (336) 368-4646
    • For the city of Mount Airy
      • Police (336) 786-3535
      • Fire (336) 786-3570
  3. Contact your insurance company
  4. Call SERVPRO of Winston-Salem North
    • 1105 Fairchild Road
      Winston Salem, NC 27501
      Phone: (336) 744-5104
      Email: sp9743@yahoo.com

If you don't like the Weather in North Carolina, give it 15 minutes, it'll change.  So, when that bomb cyclone in the Midwest turns into a tornado or microburst rain event in our town, turn to the professionals.  The experienced team of SERVPRO of Winston-Salem North is available to respond 24/7 to any weather related emergencies. Located blocks away from US-52, our team can quickly respond to any part of the county, making us truly FASTER TO THE DISASTER. Whether it's a flood in Sherwood Forest or a fire in City View, our highly trained technicians along with our specialized equipment can handle any job So, when storm damage strikes choose Winston-Salem's locally owned SERVPRO of Winston-Salem North.  When disaster strikes, we’re are Here to Help®

Winter Weather in Winston Salem

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

House with snow everywhere around it While we hope you never experience a disaster in your home, we do know we are ready to help you restore it in the event of one

Types of Winter Precipitation We Can Expect In Winston Salem

  • Cold Rain
    If precipitation falls through a large depth of the atmosphere frozen but encounters a relatively deep layer of above freezing air at the surface, then the frozen precipitation may completely melt and have no opportunity to refreeze. Thus, what traveled almost the entire trip to the ground as snow may end up falling as a cold rain instead of anything frozen or freezing
  • Snow
    Precipitation begins as snow and if it doesn’t encounter any layers of air that are above freezing before reaching the ground, it will fall to the surface in the form of snow.
  • Sleet
    If the snowflakes encounter a shallow layer of warm, above freezing air with below freezing air through the rest of the column, then it will partially melt and refreeze into a sleet pellet before reaching the ground.
  • Freezing Rain
    If the snow falls into a deep layer of above freezing air with only a shallow layer of below freezing air located at the surface, (which is often the case with cold air damming,) then the liquid droplets will freeze on contact with any objects (such as trees, power lines, and roads) at the surface that are below freezing.

The next two are possible but historically unlikely, but we are seeing them more and more in Winston Salem.

  • Blizzards
    Dangerous winter storms that are a combination of blowing snow and wind resulting in very low visibility. While heavy snowfalls and severe cold often accompany blizzards, they are not required. Sometimes strong winds pick up snow that has already fallen, creating a ground blizzard.
  • Ice Storm
    a storm which results in the accumulation of at least .25” of ice on exposed surfaces. They create hazardous driving and walking conditions. Tree branches and powerlines can easily snap under the weight of the ice.

How Does Ice Burst Water Pipes?

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

House covered in winter weather While we hope you never experience a disaster in your home, we do know we are ready to help you restore it in the event of one

try and say that title 3 times fast! LOL. but seriously, Frozen pipes are worse than a bad joke.

So most people know that when water freezes it expands. It makes a fool of us all at times. Raise your hand if you have left a soda in the freezer, only to return to an explosion of sticky icy sugar everywhere! 

Water Molecules in a natural state are very fluid, but when it reaches it’s freezing point the molecules take on a hexagon structure. This frozen ice block will expand outwards, along the path of least resistance. As it pushes forward, the pressure starts building. While the water in the pipe will flow back towards the main water line in the street, the water trapped between your faucet and the ice block will have nowhere to escape. Once the pressure is too great, somewhere along the line  it will fail. Pipes that are the most at risk are those in uninsulated or unheated spaces( your garage, your attic, poorly insulated outside walls).

How to Prevent Your Pipes from Bursting in Winter

  • Keep your garage door closed!
  • Open cabinets under the sink and in the bathroom, so that they can be reached by the warm air in your home
  • Insulate pipes
  • On exceptionally cold nights below freezing leave your taps dripping slightly. This might waste a small amount of water, but the wasted water will cost you less than having to replace busted pipes

If your pipes have burst or you notice them leaking, then it’s best to go ahead and turn off the water at your main line.

Then you’ll want to call a plumber, and then you’ll want to call SERVPRO of Winston Salem North 336 744 5104.