Recent Storm Damage Posts
Are You Prepared if an Earthquake Hits Portland?
Risk management is an important aspect that every household, business, and government should put time and effort into. Having a go bag, plenty of food and water, and survival supplies in the event that you are separated from a resupply for up to 2 weeks is strongly recommended to all Portland residents. Unfortunately, not all risks can be completely prevented or planned for. The city of Portland is resting on top of some major fault lines that are expected to slip within the next 50 to 500 years. The Pacific Northwest has neighbored some major earthquakes in the past; most notably The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake that left thousands of casualties and destroyed nearly 30,000 buildings. More recently in 1989 I can remember vividly the images of destruction caused by the Loma Prieta San Francisco earthquake. This occurred during the World Series that year and I can remember being in awe of the devastation it caused as a child.
Preparing for such a catastrophic event is nearly impossible. However, as history shows we rebuild. When something falls down it is within our nature to pick up the pieces and remake something beautiful. At SERVPRO of Southeast Portland we fix what has been broken every single day we come into work. Whether the “Big One” hits, a storm knocks down a tree into your home, or a fire breaks out in your garage; we will be there within a moments notice to make it “Like it never even happened.”
How Dangerous is Lightning?
The odds of being struck by lightning is much more likely than that of winning at most games of chance including the Lottery. The actual odds for the average American to be struck by lightning is approximately 1 in 5,000 during their lifetime. On the bright side if you are unlucky enough to be struck you have a 9 out of 10 chance of survival on average. A more dangerous than being directly struck result of lightning is the fires it can cause.
Just last year in Oregon at this time at least 163 wildfires were detected in the state after 2,800 lightning strikes. In a few days the numbers had settled down to 47 fires that burned over 22,000 acres, according to the Department of Forestry. Lightning is quite often a sudden occurrence that sometimes is impossible to prepare for. Especially in the case of the beautiful uninhabited forests of Oregon. Luckily it is a rare occurrence that homes or buildings are the target of the lightning bolts.
Nationally United States fire departments annually respond to an estimated average of 22,600 fires that were caused by lightning. These fires caused an estimated average of nine deaths, 53 injuries and $451 million in direct property damage per year.
When we are called to an unfortunate situation you can rest assured that we will always be empathetic and professional. While we have no control over these lightning strikes or the devastating damage they cause, we can lessen the financial burden of the damage with our services. Our highly trained technicians at SERVPRO of Southeast Portland are always available to provide our fire restoration services no matter what the cause of the fire.
The Weather, Like Life, Can Be Unpredictable.
As we all know severe weather and storms can sometimes strike out of nowhere. Being prepared for a storm can help, but the damage left behind is inevitable. The damage varies by the type of weather disaster from winds, to floods and lightning. Once the storm is over SERVPRO of Southeast Portland is there to help restore your life back to normal.
There are many companies out there that advertise their ability to restore your home or business after a storm. But only those with proper training and certification should be considered. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the main oversight agency in this industry. The IICRC requires its registrants to take extensive coursework before earning their certification. This is a symbol of excellence, and those that uphold the standards that have been set can be contacted through the IICRC.
So, when weather is unpredictable you can count on us to help during these trying times. It is always our goal to provide you with the highest quality service to make the storm “Like it never even happened.”
When Storms or Floods hit Oregon, SERVPRO is ready!
SERVPRO of Southeast Portland specializes in storm and flood damage restoration. Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.
Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.
Resources to Handle Floods and Storms
When storms hit, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today (503) 427-9535
Protect Your Home from Storm Damage
Storms can be severe and leave a trail of destruction in their wake from flooding, strong winds and lightning.
Insurance claim costs are estimated to have reached astronomical amounts, with households suffering millions more dollars of uninsured financial losses dealing with the aftermath of those violent storms.
Worryingly, changing weather patterns means these damaging wind storms could become a regular winter staple, sweeping into parts of the country even earlier in the season. Preparing your home to cope can help to limit the damage that a storm may cause, including from flooding.
Thankfully, weather forecasting has improved and knowing if bad weather is on its way can be helpful in getting your house storm ready.
Did you know?
- The annual cost of storm damage can amount to millions each year.
- Thunderstorms develop when the atmosphere is unstable – typically forming a ‘cumulonimbus’ (rain/storm) cloud.
- These large clouds (often accompanied by large gusts of wind) can form in under an hour if the conditions are right – meaning there may not be much time before the storm hits!
Quick Guide to Preparing for a Storm
Quick guide to preparing for a storm
- Ensure your drains and gutters are clear of debris to prevent blockages.
- If safe to do so, check your pipes and water tanks are insulated to prevent freezing and that the release point of overflow pipes is not obstructed. Ideally, you'll have a regular maintenance programm in place.
- Cut back trees and branches to minimise the risk of falling branches.
- Secure loose fences.
- Check that roof tiles and aerials are secure if you can do this safely. It may be worth seeking professional advice.
- Make sure garden furniture and ladders are secured in case of high winds, or locked away in the shed or even inside your house.
- When you know a bad storm is on its way with warnings about gale-force winds and floods, make sure children, pets and your family and neighbors are safe. Make sure you're indoors when it hits and don’t try and repair damage during a storm.
Always be cautious when undertaking any task that you're not fully familiar with as you could injure yourself or those around you, seek professional help where required.
So, this winter, make sure you're storm ready. Secure loose objects such as ladders and garden furniture. Close and secure all windows and doors. Check on loved ones before a storm strikes, but once it arrives, stay indoors. Do not try to drive or move around outside near trees or buildings that could collapse.
SERVPRO of Southeast Portland offers inspections to make sure your home or business is storm ready. Call us at (503) 427-9535 for more information.
How Can Insurance Protect You?
Over the years SERVPRO of Southeast Portland has helped customers who have been forced to evacuate their homes to access temporary accommodation and pay for repair work. Aside from water damage, common problems from storms include collapsing roofs, fallen powerlines and smashed windows from falling trees, branches and other debris.
If you have home insurance, you should check what you could be covered for in the event your property is affected by a strong storm.
If your house has been affected, your insurer will help you to assess the damage, but it's important to understand that insurance companies will each have their own measure of what constitutes a storm. This will be a big factor in whether a claim will be accepted or not.
It's important to remember that you're responsible for maintaining your home in a good state of repair. If you're claiming for storm damage some insurers will ask you to confirm the date of the incident and show pictures of how the conditions at the time damaged your home. They may appoint one of their specialists to inspect your home or ask you to send them a report by your contractor.
Loss or damage to fences isn't covered by some policies, so make sure these are secure as they can be, to withstand a bad storm.
Powerful storm winds, rain and hail can cause car damage too, Vehicles can be swept off the road and engines flooded. If your car is damaged in a storm, this may be covered by insurance depending on your chosen level of cover.
6 Tips for Making a Storm Related Insurance Claim
Sometimes Mother Nature likes to shake things up a little. If your home didn’t weather a storm as well as you hoped it would, we’ve got some tips to help you file an insurance claim for storm damage and get back on track quickly. Here’s where you should start.
Act quickly. Making a claim to your insurance company for damage in a timely matter is important for a couple reasons. Most insurance policies limit your time to file a claim, which makes being quick to connect essential. You’ll also want to repair the damage before it has a chance to get worse, so reporting your claim early is the best approach.
Review your policy. If you know what your homeowners policy and optional insurance covers, how to proceed and what you can expect from the process, you’ll be better prepared to plead your case. Every insurance policy and claim is different. Reviewing your policy gives you information that specifically applies to you.
Document everything. It’s smart to keep a log of the storm and the damage. Save news reports and take pictures immediately after to document any damage.
Get quotes from professionals. While your personal walk around and assessment is important, a professional opinion will be thorough and may mean more to your insurance provider. A great resource would be a storm repair contractor. They specializes in finding, assessing and repairing damage from storms and will check your home from roof to basement.
Be wary of scammers. Unfortunately, storm damage can bring scammers to your area with promises of quick and cheap repairs. Whether you’re filing an insurance claim or not, research anyone who offers to repair your home. Look for contractors who are licensed, insured and experienced.
Mitigate your damages. If the storm affected a large area, you may have to wait awhile before a storm assessor can review your damage and maybe even longer before you can get it fixed. In the meantime, you’ll want to take steps to prevent further damage. This could include tarping your roof, cleaning a wet basement, boarding up holes and more. Document the damage, then document how you’re taking steps to protect your property.
SERVPRO of Southeast Portland can assist with all your storm damage needs. Call us at (503) 427-9535
Storm Damage Restoration Process
Violent weather such as storm damage can wreak havoc on buildings as well as vegetation. Wind damage can be a hazard to the structure of a building, by loosening the shingles or tiles on the roof. This can cause moisture such as rain and snow to infiltrate into the protective surface of the roof, which will result in the wood swelling and later on disintegration and becoming moldy. This outcome will lead to a sagging ceiling and further problems. Elements such as wind, rain, hail, and lightning can result in turning people’s lives upside down, this is why having a storm damage restoration service to help this type of emergency is a good option.
Here are some of the activities you can expect from the storm restoration service professionals.
- Whether it is a business or residence, the restoration company will come to your property and their trained experts will do a thorough examination of the interior and exterior of your building. This will help them discover the level of the damage. In many cases, the restoration company will discuss the renovation plans with you and your insurance adjuster.
- When everything is agreed upon, the work begins. Depending on what type of damage is present, this will determine the type of equipment the professional will use. In the case of flooding, they will use specialized pumps and vacuums to remove water from the affected areas.
- Generators will be brought in to operate their dehumidifiers and air movers so mold and mildew do not have a change to make matters worse. Using customized cleaners, the specialist will then disinfect hard surfaces and shampoo salvageable carpets as well as apply deodorant to combat any odors.
Important Facts To Know About Wind Damage
There are many areas of the United States that have experienced heavy winds and storms this season and the strong powerful winds can cause significant damage to a home. Wind damage and water damage are the most common results of a heavy storm and it is important to contact a storm damage restoration professional as soon as the storm is over to help limit and repair the damage. Wind damage can happen to your home directly from the strong wind or indirectly from the wind blowing debris into your house. These wind damage facts will help you better understand the potential for wind damage and how to prevent it.
Wind Type Varies by Storm and Causes Different Degrees of Wind Damage
Thunderstorms are the most common source of wind and storm damage but winds from hurricanes or tornadoes are stronger and can cause more severe damage. It is important to know when a storm is approaching your area and what type of storm it is so you know the potential and level of damage to expect. Thunderstorms are responsible for over half of all wind damage cases in the U.S. but the storm damage repair may be more costly for hurricane or tornado wind damage.
Characteristics of the Wind Affect the Wind Damage
The wind has many characteristics that differ depending on the situation. Some characteristics to take into account include speed, direction, and duration of the gusts and recognizing them can help you protect your home and property effectively from wind damage. Recognizing the characteristics of the wind can also help you determine how much potential damage to expect.
Preventing Wind and Storm Damage
Most wind damage is caused by flying debris either from plants or other structures and objects that are not secured. If a storm is approaching your area, make sure any potential debris around your home such as patio furniture, toys, garbage cans, and other objects are either secured or brought inside. Your doors and windows should also be secured to help minimize the potential storm damage to the home.
Severe winter storms can have a tremendous impact on individuals, animals, and communities. Cold temperatures, snow, ice, blizzard conditions with high winds and dangerous wind chills can all occur, leading to dangerous environments. Dangerous driving conditions can lead to travelers being stranded on the road. Accumulations of snow and ice can result in road closures or blockages – isolating homes and farms for days. The heavy weight burden may cause roofs to collapse or knock down trees and power lines resulting in power outages and subsequent loss of heat in homes. Winter conditions may make getting food and water to animals more difficult. Businesses must also make preparations for winter storm situations. Protection of their employees will be necessary to ensure their safety. Employees that must work outdoors during extreme situations should be provided the necessary education on risk and measures to stay safe.
Rain Storm Precautions
When a flood is happening you can take the following measures:
- Disconnect all electrical and gas appliances. Shut off the water main to keep contaminated water from the water heater (a source of emergency water).
- Bring any valuable or sentimental outdoor possessions inside.
- Move valuables and essential items to upper floors of building.
- Sandbags should be stacked well away from the building to avoid damaging walls. If major flooding is expected, flood the basement with clean water to equalize the water pressure on the outside of the basement walls and floors. This is to help prevent structural damage.
- Round up pets.
The extent of the flooding will impact the amount of work required to get your home back to its former glory. Minimal flooding may require only the time it takes to remove the water and dry everything out. More extensive flooding can leave you needing a complete remodel. Be prepared for the potential construction site left in your home after a flood.
Dangers of Rising Flood Waters
Rising floodwaters can take down forests from the roots.
After the Great Midwest Flood of 1993, which caused nearly $20 billion in damage and covered 400,000 square miles, nearly all the trees in four stands of Sanganois Wildlife Management Area near Beardstown, Ill., were submerged for more than six months and died.D
Whether it’s a river overflow or a coastal storm surge due to a hurricane, floodwaters can mean trouble for trees and forest ecosystems. First, floodwater currents, loaded with debris and silt, can erode the soils around shrubs and trees, exposing roots. In strong currents, debris may even strip bark from trees, uproot plants or strip shrubbery.
In addition to the initial physical impact, because many of a tree’s fine, oxygen-absorbing roots grow in the upper six inches of soil, these roots can die off as the soil becomes waterlogged. Without a robust root system, trees don’t absorb enough water and become weakened. As a result, foliage wilts or dies, and these weakened trees are a target for insects and disease.
The area around St. Louis, Missouri, in August 1993 after the Great Midwest Flood. Credit: NASA
Coastal flooding — often the result of a storm surge or hurricane — can cause significant damage by flooding freshwater areas with salt or brackish water. This saltwater intrusion can spell trouble for plants that rely on freshwater. Increased salts in the soil make it more difficult for tree roots to take up water because of changed osmotic pressure.
“The result is what’s called physiological drought. Even though there is water, the tree can’t take it up, and it’s the same as if there was no water,” explains U.S. Forest Service research ecologist John Stanturf of the Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Athens, Ga. “Under severe conditions, an already-stressed tree, such as one that has lost its leaves by shearing in hurricane winds, can’t recover and refoliate and may die outright.”
A few years after the Great Midwest Flood, land managers noticed that new shrubs and seedlings began to thrive in the affected areas, though the types of trees differed from the older, established stands that were killed by the flood. Some tree species — such as silver maple, green ash, sweet gum and black willow — are thought to be more tolerant to flooded soils than other trees like black locust, black walnut, tulip poplar, sugar maple and American beech. Regardless of species, though, it may take mature, surviving trees several years to recover from a summer of flooding according to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.
When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, winds of speeds up to 140 mph toppled trees and turned sand and debris into airborne sandpaper, stripping any trees or shrubs left standing of their leaves or limbs.
Katrina’s damage extended as far north as Memphis, Tenn. A 2007 study published in Science used NASA satellite images to estimate 320 million trees dead or damaged in Mississippi and Louisiana alone from Hurricane Katrina. In combination with Hurricane Rita later that year, Hurricane Katrina was called “the largest single forestry disaster on record in the nation” by The Washington Post.
Damage inflicted by hurricanes depends on a variety of factors, including location, how the forest was managed and the age and height of a stand. While a loblolly pine plantation with trees 10 to 15 feet high may not sustain much damage, an older stand with 50-foot-tall trees of the same species would sustain more damage, according to Stanturf. In addition, because trees tend to support and protect other trees, there’s often more damage along openings in a forest, such as along roads or powerline swaths.
Beyond the wind damage, the storm surge that accompanied Hurricane Katrina damaged forests from the ground level. Sea waters surged more than three miles inland in some regions and more than 30 feet along much of the Mississippi coastline, causing the widespread damage inflicted by coastal flooding.
Forest recovery after a hurricane or other event depends on a particular forest’s management objective. Some hurricane-ravaged forests may be left to regenerate on their own, taking decades to a century to fully recover and reestablish. In some cases, cleanup is necessary to protect the forest from further destruction, as tree debris can become a breeding ground for insects and fungi. Other responses include salvage logging to recover the timber value that’s been lost and to reduce fire hazards, explains Stanturf. Seven years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, both replanted and surviving stands are recovering.
When heavy ice and wet snow coat tree limbs, the layers can be thick enough to break branches, twist limbs and crack tree crowns. Such an ice storm blanketed southern Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest in 2009, snapping miles of telephone poles, limbs and trees.
After an ice storm or blizzard has passed through a forest, the first order of business is unblocking roads, especially roads that lead to residences, then clearing roads for larger vehicles. “We make sure people are safe first of all,” says Douglas Oliver, the Forest Service district ranger responsible for Mark Twain National Forest’s Poplar Bluff Ranger District. Then, trees are cleared from ditches, and workers ensure there aren’t hazardous trees or limbs dangling over recreation areas.
Similar to hurricane cleanup, timber may need to be salvaged before it rots and becomes worthless — or a breeding ground for pests. When the chainsaws stop, Oliver says, salvage teams have reported hearing swarms of insects boring into the downed wood. Such sheer volume of hungry insects can threaten nearby stands of surviving trees, likely weakened from the ice or wind.
Beyond insects, weakened, still-standing trees are vulnerable to disease and other physiological decline. At Mark Twain National Forest — where tornadoes and a 100-year flood have also occurred in the last five years — many surviving trees are more susceptible to ailments such as oak decline, which has afflicted red and black oak in the eastern U.S.
The summer after an ice storm or blizzard also can bring another danger. The layer of downed tree material can increase wildfire risk if conditions are extremely dry. Such a well-fueled fire could create catastrophic conditions to the point of soil sterilization, Oliver says.
The May 18, 1980 magnitude 5.2 earthquake triggered a major pumice and ash eruption of the volcano. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
In ice- and snow-damaged areas, trees that sustain light to moderate damage can begin to regenerate within a few years as the forest ecosystem as a whole recovers, but after the worst storms, enough biomass may cover the ground that new seedlings from natural seed banks can’t break through. After the cleanups in the Missouri forest, Oliver says that occasionally forest managers will do supplemental planting — especially if a silviculturist determines the need for more pines, for instance — but many times replanting isn’t necessary, as the forest regenerates on its own in subsequent decades.
Tips To Staying Safe And Warm During Ice Storm Recovery
Ice and snow from winter storms can bring down trees and power lines, causing power outages and creating electrical dangers. Safe Electricity wants everyone to know how to stay safe and warm after winter storms.
If you must venture outside, be alert to the possibility of electrical hazards:
- Stay away from downed power lines and warn others to stay away. Be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard. Treat all power lines as live and dangerous. Treat everything near power lines as dangerous.
It can be difficult to stay warm without power. If you live with young children or the elderly, consider temporarily staying somewhere with power. If you are at a home with power, there are ways to stay warm:
- Stay inside and dress in warm, layered clothing.
- Close off unneeded rooms.
- When using an alternative heat source, follow operating instructions, use fire safeguards and be sure to properly ventilate.
- Stuff towels and rags underneath doors to keep the heat in.
- Cover windows at night.
Only use a generator if you know how to operate it without hurting yourself, or electric utility employees.
After an outage, power can return in spikes. Keep your electronics safe by unplugging them. Leave one light on to indicate that power has been restored then turn on other appliances and equipment one at a time.