Recent Storm Damage and Flooding in the Northeast
The northeast’s 2019 spring season is recurrently hit with severe storms. Up and down the coast, tornadoes, thunderstorms and hail storms cause massive damage. The vast majority of residents along the northeastern coast should continue to prepare for destructive weather conditions and protect their property.
How have recent storms impacted the northeast?
Northern Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania and the western parts of New York were, in recent days, pounded with major thunderstorms. These fierce storms produced ideal conditions for tornadoes in downtown Washington, DC, where tornado warnings were promptly issued by local officials.
Storms in Baltimore, Maryland, were powerful enough to unleash a tornado in the Columbus, Maryland vicinity. The sustained wind damage uprooted trees and sent large tree limbs flying. The Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial underwent tree damage from the 68 mph winds.
Tree damage was not the only consequence of severe weather. Over 150,000 residents in the northern parts of Virginia and in Maryland faced power cuts. Lightning strikes were pervasive. Isolated wind damage and massive downpours also affected the area’s residents.
The northeast is no stranger to intense storms and its associated flooding. Residents should be fully prepared each season to weather the storms and safeguard their property. The following are tips homeowners and business owners should heed when confronted by notorious northeastern storms.
What is the first step in protecting property?
Residents along the northeast should know their property’s flood risk. The Flood Map Service Center, an online resource provided by FEMA, is a starting point for residents who want to access information that details whether or not their property is in a high, moderate or low flood risk zone.
Even homeowners with properties situated along low or moderate flood risk areas are susceptible to floods—and have at least five times greater risk for flooding than home fires—in a 30-year time span. FEMAs site is easy to use, requiring entry of an address to pinpoint risks.
Once a property’s flood risk is recognized, homeowners should respond by buying flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program. NFIP is the only insurer in the country that offers flood insurance policies. Premiums are affordable, with some policies costing under $400 per year.
What are tips to safeguard against flood and storm damage?
The home’s electrical systems should be protected. Recognize the home’s expected flood levels and position all sockets, wiring and circuit breakers at least a foot above them. Similarly, elevate the water heater, furnace and other units so that they sit above the expected flood levels.
Outdoor equipment, like generators and air conditioners, should also be elevated. Generators, if engulfed in water, will be nonfunctional. Fuel tanks that fail to be harnessed to the ground will break free. Plus, supply lines that are severed in a flood will contaminate the ground.
Before the height of a predicted storm, protect the home by bringing in any items that are not secured. Patio furniture, loose fence posts and gardening tools are examples of belongings that will serve as dangerous projectiles during massive windstorms.
Tree limbs, too, when broken during a storm, can launch like missiles and destroy cars, siding, windows and even neighbor’s houses. To prevent tree damage, keep the trees trimmed. Ideally, vegetation should be pruned at least twice a year, once in the northeast’s spring season and once in autumn.
Grading the yard directs water away from the home’s foundation. A sloped lawn can be accomplished in a weekend. The DIY task requires the homeowner to pile soil along the perimeter of the home. Once grass is planted in the higher elevation, water runs down and away from the home.
If a storm is fast approaching along the northeast, homeowners have immediate recourse. Furniture, electronics and appliances can be relocated to upper floors, with heavier units elevated above ground floor level. Homeowners can also temporarily turn off the electricity in anticipation of the flooding.
Some northeastern homes flood frequently. In such severe cases, an extreme measure may be an option: retrofitting the home, where the property is raised on piers. Columns keep the home structure above flood level. Retrofitting is expensive, with costs reaching over $20,000.
Experts also recommend wet-proofing the home with various foundation vents placed around the structure. These vents permit floodwaters to drain from the building rather than allow complete saturation of the property. Dry-proofing to seal walls is also an ideal option to protect the home.
Repair the roof so that loose or missing shingles are not an entryway for hail or rain, which can lead to further damage to the interior. Along the same lines, siding should be kept in good condition to prevent the elements from seeping inside and causing additional ruin.
Keep the gutters free from debris so that fallen leaves and twigs do not block the drains. Install a sump pump to eliminate excess water from the basement. Be sure to maintain the pump regularly (and install a battery-powered backup pump) so that the unit functions once a storm hits.
Those in the northeast who experience constant damage to their homes as a result of flooding and storms may consider the ultimate solution: relocation. While shifting house is inconvenient, the option to relocate may be seen as a welcome last resort for some residents in the northeast.
Why should you use professional restoration services?
When storm or flood damage affects your home or business, turn to ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete. Our comprehensive restoration services are ideal for homes ruined by hail, wind and rain. Flood damage restoration processes include complete water extraction from the affected property, thorough drying of the area and sanitization to ensure habitability.
The ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete storm damage restoration services include board up and tarping of rooftops, emergency roof repairs and the removal of natural and man-made debris from the premises.
Home and business owners in Bergen County, New Jersey, rely on the professional restoration services provided by ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete. We offer emergency storm damage and flood damage restoration services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.