Flooding Possible for Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas

January 9, 2013

A series of storm systems that tracked across the US at the end of 2012 led to a good deal of snow pack in many parts of the country. Since that activity, there has not been any serious weather in the US but that is about to change. A new storm is now moving from the west and with temperatures warmer than usual for this time of the year, this system will drop mostly rain with the exception of parts of western Texas that is due to get some snow.

Rain and thunderstorms are being forecast for Texas and Louisiana mid-week. The storm system is going to move on a north, northeastern track to spread to other portions of the South late Wednesday and early Thursday. Rainfall is going to be heavy at times which will be beneficial for parts of Texas that have been very dry. However, heavy rains on dry ground often lead to flash floods. If forecasters are right and over three inches of rain falls, there will very likely be some significant flash flooding taking place. In addition to heavy rain, there is a chance of tornado activity in portions of Texas and Louisiana along the coastline so residents there are being told to keep an eye of the weather and to be prepared to take cover if tornadoes are spotted.

People living in mid to western Texas including those in the Houston area are being told that between 2 and 4 inches of rain could fall Wednesday and Thursday with some local rainfall amounts possibly totaling 7 inches. Couple that kind of rain with lightening and winds gusting between 40 and 60 miles per hour and you get some extreme weather that’s sure to cause problems.
Due to the imminent threat of severe weather, Fort Bend, Harris and Houston counties in Texas have already activated their emergency operation facilities. Forecasters are saying that this system is going to be the cause of the most rain seen in this part of the country for several months and that it is sure to cause flooding as the ground simply won’t be able to absorb it all.

The wet and wild weather is going to move up into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley on Thursday where temperatures are hovering above 32 degrees. This means that the rain that does fall will melt much of the snow that is on the ground. Some parts of Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan may see up to one inch of rain fall which is quite unusual for this time of the year.

Understanding The Process Of Professional Water Damage Mitigation

January 9, 2013

The more common term that is used is water damage restoration, although both terms are frequently used. It basically means that a house that was flooded is not necessarily lost. It can be repaired, although often at a fair cost.

Most electronics and furniture that was submerged will likely be ruined beyond repair, particularly if electricity was running to the main board. As for the house itself, drywall might be ruined, but the hardwood foundation should survive with prompt service. It is largely about getting it dry as fast as possible.

Wood will survive being saturated with water. What will destroy the foundation of your house is a fungus that knows how to break down the fibers that make wood hard and durable. Fungus of any variety spreads quickly, and warm weather can only exacerbate the problem.

Other forms of restoration include cleaning and draining water in a basement. Houses have basements as a storage area and as a safeguard against flooding. If a home is lucky, most of the flood water will flow into the basement and be pumped out through a drain. For a less lucky home owner, they will return to a flooded basement.

The type of damage will depend on a source. Pipe water will usually be clean and not inundate the house. The floorboard will be affected and water will flow to low places. Genuine flood water will contain clay and bacteria and will deposit these into your house. Since electricity and air condition will probably fail, the forces of decay will already be at work.

There are actually professionals who specializing in mitigating damage, hence the alternative name for water damage restoration. The secret is get the water out and dry everything as quickly as possible. This usually means stripping away the carpet and then prying up the floor and breaking through the drywall to expose the wooden skeleton.

The skin of a house is replaceable while the foundation is not. Exposing everything to fresh air will slow down bacteria and fungus. The next step might be chemical treatment and forced hot air. Wood will be sprayed with a fungicide and anything that helps to draw out moisture. Hot air is generated by a portable gas burner and then funneled with a fan.

It might be odd and even foreboding to see your house wrapped in plastic like a corpse at the morgue. The good news is that forced air is about rejuvenating your home and granting it second life. These techniques are applied by a trained professional who has helped man homeowners out of their wreckage

Tuesday’s Storms Cause Flooding, Wind Damage

January 9, 2013

A series of severe thunderstorms resulted in heavy rainfall and high winds throughout the East Coast on Tuesday, flooding homes and roadways and cutting off power to many. Numerous schools across the region also were affected as classes were canceled due to power outages.

In Columbia, Maryland, flash flooding occurred when about twelve inches of rain fell there. Homes on the waterfront on Millers Island in Baltimore County were flooded as water poured over cement bulkheads along the Chesapeake Bay – into residents’ homes and basements.

The National Weather Service issued tornado watches for many states as the strong storm system swept through most of the eastern portion of the United States. There was damage done up and down the coast as the severe weather knocked down trees and toppled power lines, causing thousands of people in New Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey to lose electricity. Two major league baseball games were put on hold due to the bad weather and many watches and warnings for flash and coastal flooding were put into place.

In the Washington DC area, wind speeds exceeded 60 miles per hour while some portions of Maryland got two inches of rain in just a couple hours time. The bad weather also made the afternoon commute rather hectic throughout the region as the rainfall was extremely heavy, causing many delays and road closings. Heavy winds from the south pushed moist air up toward an approaching cold front to cause the severe weather. There were no reports of tornadoes in spite of the multiple watches issued by the National Weather Service.

Wind speeds at Washington’s Reagan National Airport were 61 miles per hour and topped out at 47 miles per hour at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall airport. Nearly 20,000 people lost power in Connecticut after the storm activity that rattled windows and knocked down tree limbs. The strong gusting winds there also toppled trees while the heavy rainfall caused some residential and business flooding along the shoreline. At one point Tuesday night, over 40,000 Connecticut Light & Power customers were without power.

The severe line of thunderstorms that swept across the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast had moved out to the Atlantic by Wednesday morning’s rush hour with forecasts across the region calling for partly cloudy to sunny and cooler weather. Those who were not so lucky Tuesday will undoubtedly be spending time today clearing fallen tree branches from their properties and pumping water out of their homes.

Strong Storms Knock out Power in Indiana and Spawn Twisters in NYC

January 9, 2013

Utility crews worked overtime this weekend to restore electricity to hundreds of homes and businesses left in the dark in Indiana after severe storms struck the Hoosier State. The bad thunderstorms moved across Indiana Friday night, knocking down trees and powerlines. Over two inches of water was dumped on Indianapolis Friday night, making September the fourth wettest in the city’s history in just the first week. Some homes in the city were flooded but for the most part, no major flooding was reported by the city’s Dept. of Public Works.

The line of strong thunderstorms moved eastward, dumping rain along its path. When the system closed in on New York City Saturday, it spawned two twisters which hurled debris and caused some minor damage. The first twister hit the shoreline on a peninsula in Queens as it sucked up water and sand and then small pieces of buildings. That twister swept out to sea but ten minutes later, another funnel cloud formed and touched down along the shoreline of Brooklyn. The National Weather Service had put out a tornado warning for Brooklyn and Queens but nonetheless, the twisters caught many people by surprise as tornadoes are not all that common in the NYC area. Several seaside bungalows were damaged as the first twister ripped the roofs off, leaving behind a big mess of broken bottles, smashed electronics and other debris strewn about.

Southwestern Indiana residents and work crews were busy this weekend cleaning up after a series of thunderstorms knocked over powerlines, downed trees and tore roofs off buildings Friday night. Those storms packed winds in excess of 60 miles per hour, leaving their mark in a year that has featured very few major storms. The worst storm damage in Indiana occurred in Warrick County as there were several reports there of trees down across roads and trees crashing into homes. Those storms were the result of a cold front that pushed humid air upward and prompted heavy downpours of rain, high winds and noticeably cooler temperatures.

Hundred of people in Indianapolis were still without power Saturday night after that city was struck by severe weather. There were reports of some residential flooding however the city’s Dept of Public Works said Saturday that there was no serious street flooding. Indianapolis got over two inches of rain Saturday which was enough to force the cancellation of several planned events including numerous high school football games.

Isaac Zeroes in on Gulf Seven Years after Katrina

January 9, 2013

Residents living along the coastal areas from Florida’s Panhandle to southeastern Louisiana are feeling anxious as Tropical Storm Isaac nears hurricane strength, closing in on the area with a projected landfall just one day short of the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Forecasters have Isaac hitting land near New Orleans Tuesday night as most likely a Category 1 hurricane with winds of about 90 miles per hour.

People living in Isaac’s path have been ordered to leave their homes ahead of the storm. While Isaac is not expected to be as furious as Katrina when it struck the Big Easy as a Category 3 storm, New Orleans will not get off unscathed as Isaac is expected to cause some flooding and wind damage there.

Katrina killed about 1,800 people. Most lost their lives because the levee systems around the city of New Orleans were breached which led to massive flooding. The levees have been improved upon since then and there are back-up generators in place if there should be power outages so now it’s just a wait and see situation.

Isaac slowed down a bit in the Gulf of Mexico due to a breakup of an eye wall of the storm but even so, its winds are still remaining at just under hurricane strength at around 70 miles per hour. The storm can potentially result in some areas in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama getting over a foot and a half of rainfall as the storm is picking up a lot of moisture as it churns over the warm waters of the Gulf. The National Hurricane Center is warning that Isaac is a huge storm which can kick up very dangerous conditions as far as 200 miles out from its center when it finally comes ashore.

Isaac can cause 8 to 12 foot tidal surge conditions along coastal waters. Anyone living on the coast that experienced flooding during Katrina is being told to evacuate because of this. In spite of the evacuation warnings, many coastal residents have decided to board up their homes and ride out the storm.

The National Hurricane Center is predicting that Isaac will strike the Louisiana coast at around 7pm Tuesday as a Cat 1 hurricane. Flash flood watches are in effect for the southeastern portion of Louisiana and southern Mississippi through Wednesday evening. Rainfall totals of between 10 and 15 inches are expected along this stretch of land over a 36 hour period with some isolated areas getting up to 20 inches of rain. That kind of heavy rain can easily overwhelm drainage systems and result in rapid runoff and street flooding.

Are Florida Property Owners In Danger From Hurricane Isaac?

January 9, 2013

Hurricanes are striking Florida harder and more often. Hurricane Isaac seems to be headed right for Tampa Bay. They say Sarasota and Tampa area are usually spared the full weight of the weather, but not this year. They were already hit harder than they’re used, and Hurricane Isaac seems to be bearing down on them and gathering strength and organization as he goes.

Since the natural storm breaks of mangrove forests and outer sandbank islands are depleted by more and more beachside construction, the hurricanes hit with more and more force. Florida property owners are in tremendous danger from Hurricane Isaac, as they are of all further storms. Moreover, the storms are occurring more frequently. The temperature has already risen one degree Celsius over the last hundred years, and continues to rise ever more sharply. Although there is some question as to how much the ocean will rise, we have already seen that this has an effect on the weather. The higher temperature means that the atmosphere is more active, and slightly thicker. This means that it can hold slightly more water, so storms can be bigger. They estimate that the water above the ocean can hold 5% more water than it could a hundred years ago. So hurricanes are getting gradually heavier and heavier. Although the increase is small, it is constant. When you are dealing with something as big and destructive as a hurricane, even one percent bigger is a lot. Remember that it is not only the property itself that will be damaged, but there will be one percent more erosion of the beaches, which have lost their protective mangrove forest, and so move slowly inland. None of these factors are dangerous of themselves. But as the ocean rises ever so slightly and the hurricane cuts in ever so much deeper into a land that is just a little bit less protected by sandbars and mangrove forests, sooner or later it adds up to a real threat to property.

The state of Florida is a sand bar that gathered atop the bones of an ancient mountain range, and it does not rise very high above the ocean. The long-term prognosis for Florida real estate is not good. It is difficult to exaggerate the gloominess of the future. Although hurricanes have run across Florida for millennia, in the last century the climate has changed. There is not much to be done about it, as it has already occurred. It is nearly certain that any Florida home has been hurricane-proofed as much as it can be already. Much of the damage that hurricanes can do to trees has already been done. Although it is always prudent to board up windows, every house in Florida is built on sand. If it is not this hurricane, it will be the next one.

The Importance of Proper Cleaning Prior to Painting

January 9, 2013

If you are planning on painting some walls in your home yourself instead of hiring a professional painter, then you will certainly be saving yourself hundreds of dollars, if not more. You will however, be required to do some prep work prior to painting.

You will get much better results if you take the time to get the walls ready for the paint. A proper cleaning prior to painting is essential as the new paint will adhere better and you will get a smoother and more evenly colored painted surface. Many people make the mistake of believing that their walls are not dirty, but the truth is most walls need cleaning as they naturally collect dust and other contaminates over long periods of time.

The first thing you should do is to remove cobwebs and dust from the walls. Using a flat mop with a microfiber mop head is ideal for this. Do not wet the mop, simply run it up and down the wall, working in strips, starting from the ceiling to the floor. This step is important as it will make the next step of the job much easier. This task should not take more than a few minutes to perform in a average sized room.

Most normally, you can use common household cleaners to clean the wall with. You could also purchase a special wall cleaning solution at your local paint store if you wish, but it is not entirely necessary. Once you have decided on which type of cleaner to use, you will need to dilute it in water. If using Ajax for example, use one cap full per bucket of warm water. Simply apply the cleaning solution with a large sponge, working on segments of the wall – about three of four square feet should be fine. Once you have cleaned one section, take a clean damp sponge and wipe the area so that the cleaner is removed from the surface.

It is often best to begin the cleaning process at the bottom of the wall. This is done to avoid having dirty streaks run down the wall that will be hard to remove, which is what will happen if you start near the ceiling. If you start at the bottom however, the dirty water from the upper sections will run onto the clean surface, which is very easy to wipe away.

If you have stains on the walls that do not come off when cleaning, you may need to purchase a special stain remover from a hardware or paint store. If there are pencil or crayon marks on the walls, you will need to prime that wall with a special stain-killing primer to ensure that the marks will not bleed through the fresh paint. If there are grease spots on the wall, which is common in a kitchen, you will discover that cleaning them does no good in removing them. What you will need to do with this is to purchase a special cleaner that comes in an aerosol can. Once you are finished cleaning the walls, you simply spray this grease-buster onto the area with several coats. It will neutralize the grease which will ensure that it will cover properly when painted and that it will not bleed through your freshly painted wall with time.

Showers and Thunderstorms Covered Eastern US on Saturday

January 9, 2013

Rain and Thunderstorms moved across eastern United States on Saturday as two frontal patterns lingered over the East Coast. One system stretched from the Gulf Coast to the South Carolina and produced more widespread, scattered showers and thunderstorms throughout the day.

A series of strong thunderstorms made their way across the Ohio Valley and the mid-Atlantic late Thursday night, resulting in two people losing their lives and which left more than 100,000 without power. At least one twister touched down in Elmira, New York – ripping trees out of the ground and tearing roofs off homes. The storms caused hundreds of flights to be canceled across the country with the highest number of cancellations occurring at LaGuardia Airport in NYC. The National Weather Service said that 70 mile per hour winds were reported in several states which were pounded by rain, lightening and hail. The weather service also issued flood warnings for several counties in western Pennsylvania Saturday after more rain was in the forecast following Thursdays storms which dumped between one to four inches of rainfall.

The rainfall amounts of two to three inches which many areas of the drought-stricken country got over the last few days was not enough to end the current drought. Between nine and twelve inches of rain is needed in order to return ample moisture to the dry, parched ground. This is the United States’ worst drought in 55 years and more than half of the country has experienced moderate to extreme drought conditions this month. High pressure will remain in place over the southern Plains states, leading to another long period of extreme heat.

There is no end in sight to the high temperatures which have been plaguing much of the United States nor any significant rainfall forecast for the near future. which are sure to cause food prices to rise all across the country as many farmers cannot harvest their crops due to the lack of rain. Temperatures reaching 100 degrees has been a big story thus far this summer. For instance, in Witchita, Kansas, the city has experienced seventeen days of 100 degree or higher temperatures in July alone. Usually Witchita only experiences a total of twelve days per year where temperatures soar above 100.

Thus far in July, there have only been fifteen tornadoes reported in the country which is the fewest for the month since back in the 1950s when record-keeping began. The lack of tornadoes is due to the drought as fewer rainfalls equate to few chances of twisters which only form during thunderstorms.

If A Tree Falls On Your Home Is This Covered By Insurance

January 9, 2013

Insurance that is purchased for a home comes with various coverage. One coverage that is included on all policies is for damage that is caused by rain, hail, wind, and a tree that comes down. If your home is the victim of a falling tree, then your insurance will pay to remove the tree and fix any damage that has occurred. You will be responsible for paying the deductible that applies to your policy.

A tree will need to fall onto your home during a covered peril in your policy. Coverage is not available for negligence. This means that if you cut down a tree on your property and it falls on your house, your policy may not provide coverage. You can check this by reviewing the exclusions that may apply to the policy for your home.

The location of a tree typically does not matter if it hits your house. The tree can be on your property or on your neighbor’s property. Your insurance will typically cover the cost of removal and repairs. Should a tree is later found to be diseased or if it is leaning to one side, then your neighbor may be liable. If the tree was not properly trimmed, then your insurance company may try to recover damages. Make sure to check with an insurance adjuster if you have any questions.

One way to see if a tree is a possible problem for causing damage is to see if there are any cracks and if there are any large branches that are dead. This is a sign that the tree may be dying and not healthy. If a tree is not healthy, then it may eventually fall in a strong wind or rain. A tree that is not healthy can also be rotted on the inside. You may not know this until after the tree falls and hits your house.

Place a call to your insurance company if a tree comes down and hits your house. Your insurer will then send out a claims adjuster to assess the damage. The adjuster will then issue a check or compile a list of information that is used to make a decision. The payout from your insurance company will be made if a contractor is hired to remove the tree and repair your home. The deductible for your insurance policy is deducted from any payout that is made.

East Coast Storms: Power Outages Could Be Worst Punch

January 9, 2013

As severe storms struck the East Coast of the United States last Friday, residents from South Carolina to southern Pennsylvania were caught off guard, to say the least. This time of year they are familiar with severe thunderstorms, hail, and a lot of rain, but nothing like what they saw this past weekend. Hurricane force winds whipped through cities like Washington, DC and Richmond, Virginia leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Perhaps the most disheartening part of all are the 22 deaths linked to the devastating weather.

Unfortunately, the worst may not be over. According to the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press, some 2 million businesses and houses were still without electricity today (Monday, July 2) and facing extremely hot temperatures expected to be in the upper 90s or higher. Officials fear the death toll may climb simply because of the excruciating heat and no air conditioning. Officials with power companies up and down the coast say that their crews are working around-the-clock to restore electricity. Some may still find themselves in the dark a week from today.

Politics Steps In

Unfortunately, even in the midst of devastating storms such as this politicians can’t seem to keep their nose out of things. Such is the case with Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley who told the Associated Press, “No one will have his boot further up Pepco’s and BGE’s backsides than I will.” O’Malley went on to say that power crews must work faster, implying they weren’t doing all they can to get people back online.

The politicking was met with a response from Pepco essentially telling the governor to mind his own business. Officials from Pepco reminded Maryland residents that it’s not simply a matter of connecting wires. Government crews must remove trees before power company workers can move in and begin their jobs. And in the case of downed utility poles, replacing them takes significantly longer than simply running new cables.

Furthermore, because so many neighboring states were hit there’s a lot of competition among power companies to get access to backup crews from other states. It is the worst possible situation without an easy remedy. The governor simply flexing his muscles does nothing but create a hostile environment and gives people the impression that power companies are slacking off.

Better Weather Ahead

In the meantime, East Coast states are hoping for fairly tranquil weather in the days and weeks ahead. Ohio has not been so fortunate, as a second round of storms blew through Sunday night and knocked out power for many the same people who just had it restored after Friday’s storms.

If anything, this past weekend storms shows us once again that we have no control over Mother Nature. Weather will be what it will be; all we can do is brace for the worst and hope for the best.

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