Recent Storm Damage Posts
Ice Dams and Roof Damage Caused by Winter Storms
Cold weather, snow, and ice storms can cause severe damage like ice dams and roof damages to your home or business. When these types of disasters strike, immediate action is necessary to prevent additional damage to your property.
An ice dam is formed when snow melts unevenly on a roof and refreezes into a dam at the edge of the roof, near the eaves. This dam prevents any further snowmelt from draining off of the roof. This standing water can back up under shingles, leak into a home, and cause significant water damage to ceilings, walls, and other areas. Ice dams can also tear off gutters and loosen shingles.
Snow and ice can cause significant damage to your gutters and roof. The additional weight of snow and ice can even cause a roof to collapse. When there’s a cold snap, water can get into cracks and small spaces and expand when it freezes, causing larger cracks and more damage. The repetition of freezing and thawing cycles can cause small cracks to get larger.
In Rain, Freeze, Sleet, and Snow
It’s mid-January and just this past weekend, we finally said goodbye to our snowless winter. In true New England fashion we started our weekend off with 6 inches of snow and temperatures in the single digits. These unbearable arctic temps were responsible for dozens of pipe bursts throughout the region, wreaking havoc in several homes. The precipitation then quickly transitioned into rain, freezing rain, and sleet in parts of the state the following day. Shortly thereafter our snow washed away and The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for southeastern Massachusetts expecting 2 to 3 inches of rain with temperatures climbing to the mid 50’s. Frantic calls to SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley for pipe bursts quickly switched over to franticcalls for flooded basements caused by groundwater and leaking roofs. Rain, freeze, sleet or snow – SERVPRO Framingham is here for you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
June thru August is the Peak Season for Lightning Fires
According to the National Fire Protection Association, During 2007-2011, U.S. local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 22,600 fires per year that were started by lightning. These fires caused an average of nine civilian deaths, 53 civilian injuries, and $451 million in direct property damage per year. Most of these fires occurred outdoors, but most associated deaths, injuries, and property damage were associated with home fires.
Lightning-related fires are more common in June through August and in the late afternoon and evening. Peak seasons for lightning-related fires vary by region, as do weather patterns in general.
In addition to the fires reported to local fire departments, federal and state wildland firefighting agencies reported an average of 9,000 wildland fires started by lightning to the National Interagency Fire Center per year in 2008-2012. These fires tended to be larger than fires started by human causes. The average lightning-caused fire burned 402 acres, nine times the average of 45 acres seen in human-caused wildland fires.
In addition to causing fires, lightning is dangerous on its own. Data from the National Weather Service show that in 2008-2012, an average of 29 people per year died as a result of lightning strikes. The most common location for these deaths was outside or in an open area. The average number of lightning flashes per square mile varies considerably by state, as does the death rate from lightning incidents.
What to Do During a Thunder and Lightning Storm
- Know your area’s risk for thunderstorms. In most places, they can occur year-round and at any hour.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Identify nearby, sturdy buildings close to where you live, work, study, and play.
- Cut down or trim trees that may be in danger of falling on your home.
- Consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices.
- When thunder roars, go indoors. A sturdy building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm.
- Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of thunderstorms. Be ready to change plans, if necessary, to be near shelter.
- When you receive a thunderstorm warning or hear thunder, go inside immediately.
- If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity can travel through plumbing and phone lines.
- Protect your property. Unplug appliances and other electric devices. Secure outside furniture.
- If boating or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately.
- If necessary, take shelter in a car with a metal top and sides. Do not touch anything metal.
- Avoid flooded roadways. Turn Around. Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
Everything You Needed to Know About...Hail!
Hailstorms are statistically one of the most costly natural disasters
As stated in "Hale Depot", according to the National Weather Service, hail results in some of the highest rates of property damage in terms of natural hazards. In 2015, hail caused 586 million dollars in property damage, and in 2016, hail caused 3.5 billion dollars in damage.
Hail does not immediately fall after it forms
Hail forms inside the clouds of a thunderstorm, and actually begins as just a tiny drop of supercooled water. This just means that it is below freezing temperatures, but still in a liquefied form. If it stays at this extra cold temperature for long enough, it will eventually freeze and solidify into a small hailstone. The tiny ball of ice still isn’t heavy enough to fall yet and remains suspended in the thundercloud by an updraft caused by the storm. These hailstones tumble around and collect more condensation, which freezes and makes the hailstone bigger – kind of like rolling a snowball around in the snow to make larger. Once the stone becomes too heavy to stay afloat, it falls to the ground.
There is a threshold for what is considered “severe” hail
The National Weather Service classifies “severe” hail as being at least 1-inch in diameter, about the size of your average gumball. It seems like a lot of hail storms are considered severe because that’s what we see on the news, but most hailstorms involve hailstones that are closer to the size of peas. Even hail that does not reach the “severe” state can still cause damage to cars and injure people.
The largest hailstone ever recorded was the size of a volleyball
We often refer to sizes of hailstones in terms of recognizable, everyday objects. We’ve already done it in this article! For some perspective, a hailstone that is 1 inch in diameter is the size of a gumball. After that, a hailstone that is 1.5 inches is most recognized as the size of a ping-pong ball, and next comes some golf ball-sized hail at 1.75 inches across. When people talk about “baseball-sized hail,” they’re referring to hailstones that are about 2.75 inches in diameter. The largest hailstone ever recorded was bigger than a baseball. It was bigger than a softball.
Hail happens most often during the summer
No, it isn’t opposite day. Even though balls of ice fall from the sky during a hailstorm, these occurrences are actually most common during the summertime and warmer months. So why does this happen? Hail forms inside of thunderclouds, so there need to be proper atmospheric conditions that support both thunderstorms and hail. This happens in the early months of summer when the ground temperatures are warm, but temperatures in the upper atmosphere are cold enough to form ice. The greater the contrast between upper and lower temperatures, the stronger the updraft of the storm will be. Stronger updrafts can suspend hailstones for longer periods, meaning that the ice continues to collect and grow the hailstone bigger until they eventually fall. That’s why warm summer months are the perfect time for hail to form and ultimately fall.
Hailstones fall fast… really fast
The bigger the stones, the faster they fall. Hail often falls so fast that it doesn’t really lose a lot of mass between when it leaves the thundercloud and when it reaches the ground. The speed at which hail is falling when it hits the ground is often referred to as terminal velocity, and this speed varies depending on the size of the hailstone. A hailstone that is about 1 centimeter in diameter has a terminal velocity of about 20 miles per hour. What about a stone the size of a baseball? This size of hail can hit the ground at a walloping 100 miles per hour. To put that into perspective, the fastest fastball baseball pitch ever recorded was clocked at 105.1 miles per hour. So if you ever find yourself stuck in a hailstorm of any proportions, please take cover.
There is a place called “Hail Alley”
You’ve probably heard of Tornado Alley, where tornadoes frequently occur, but did you know there is a Hail Alley as well? We talked above about how hail forms in thunderstorms. It would follow that the areas that receive the most hail are places that have the most thunderstorms – like Florida. However, Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming report the most hailstorms, and the region where these states meet is called Hail Alley. This is because these states have high elevations where parts of the atmosphere that remain below freezing temperatures are closer to the ground, meaning the hail is more likely to stay frozen as it travels to the earth. Internationally, China, Italy, Russia, and India also receive large amounts of hail storms each year.
You can tell how many times a hailstone circulated a thundercloud by cutting it in half
You’ve probably heard about tree trunks having rings inside that help you determine how old the tree is, but did you know that if you cut a hailstone in half, you can also see rings in the cross-section. These rings form when new layers of ice freeze on the hailstone, and usually alternate between clear and milky white. Scientists believe that the clear layers occur when the stone is at the lower end of the thundercloud where the temperature is slightly higher. This makes the water freeze more slowly and appears clear, just like when you make ice cubes in your freezer at home. The milky layers are thought to form when the hailstone is at the top of the cloud where temperatures are well below freezing. This means that water droplets freeze almost immediately upon contact with the hailstone, creating white air bubbles.
Tornadoes Becoming More Frequent
There once was a time when you rarely heard about a tornado threat in Massachusetts. These frightening and sometimes deadly storms were rarely on any New Englander's radar.
However, according to Weather.com, tornado outbreaks have been producing more tornadoes and more deaths in recent years, according to a new study.
Published in the online journal Nature Communications, the findings revealed tornado "clusters" are more dangerous now than they've been since at least 1954. Responsible for 79 percent of tornado fatalities in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S., these outbreaks often leave damage totals in the billions, the study also found.
"These discoveries suggest that the risks from tornado outbreaks are rising far faster than previously recognized," Joel Cohen, a mathematical population biologist and head of the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University in New York and Columbia's Earth Institute, told Live Science.
Using NOAA tornado records from 1954 to 2014, the scientists studied events when at least six tornadoes rated EF1 or higher were spawned in a 6-hour span. In calculating the average number of tornadoes spawned by each of these clusters, the findings revealed an average of 15 twisters per outbreak from 2004 to 2014. In the 1950s, the average was just 10.
Rain, Rain, Go Away!
April and May tends to be New England’s rainy season. Will your h home be safe during a heavy downpour? Here is what SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley recommends you can do to help protect your home from rainwater damage.
> Maintain your roof. Neglecting the care of your roof could lead to some serious damage when the rain comes. Inspect your roof for damaged, missing, or loose shingles. Keep in mind that roods have a lifespan of 20-30 years.
> Seal windows, skylights and doors. If windows and doors are not properly sealed, water can seep in through the cracks. Inspect the exterior of your home for any cracks. They can be sealed with caulking or with sprayable insulating foam.
> Maintain your homes's exterior finish. Water may be able to enter your home through holes in your exterior walls, resulting in mold, peeling paint, or discoloration. Repaint and repair exterior areas as needed.
> Ensure proper drainage. If water isn't properly diverted away from the home, the foundation could possibly be at risk. Make sure that there is no standing water available.
> Clean your gutters. They should be free of any debris. Blocked gutters cause the water to flow down the side of your house and collect at the base.
> Check your downspout. Downspouts should extend to at least two or three feet from the house. If it doesn't extend far enough, then it could actually be channeling the water directly into a puddle at the base of your house.
According to Ready.gov, the extent of destruction caused by tornadoes depends on the tornado’s intensity, size, path, time of day, and amount of time it is on the ground. Wind from tornadoes can reach more than 300 miles per hour, and damage paths can be more than 1 mile wide and 50 miles long. Wind from tornadoes can destroy buildings and trees, transform debris into deadly projectiles, and roll vehicles.
Know the Facts!
They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.
The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.
Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.
Know the Difference!
Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible. When there is a Watch, move to be near enough to a shelter or sturdy building to be able to get there quickly in a few minutes if there is a Warning or if you see signs of a tornado approaching. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately
Preventing Ice Dams
PREVENTING ICE DAMS
You can scrape snow from the roof whenever it falls, using a snow rake from below or a broom or plastic shovel from above. Take Caution, especially when on the roof. It is best to hire someone who knows how to use a safety line.
Replace your shingle roof with standing seam or other metal roof. Or you can replace the bottom three feet or so of your shingle roof with a wide metal drip edge. Always install a water-repellent membrane under any new roofing.
NOTE: If your roof is not very steep, an ice dam can still form on metal roofing and drip edges.
DEALING WITH EXISTING ICE DAMS
1. Remove the ice dam by breaking it free in small chucks. Do NOT use an ax or other sharp as it can rip the shingles. Instead, gently tap with a blunt mallet. Even if you do it safely, the chunks of ice can take pieces of shingle with them.
2. Clear out gutters and downspouts. Again, this is ladder work and an easy way to damage either plastic or metal gutters and spouts.
3. Melt troughs through the ice dam with calcium chloride ice melter. Never use rock salt. It will damage paint, metals, and plants beneath the eave and wherever the salty water drains.
A good trough-maker is a tube of cloth (a leg from an old pair of panty hose works well). Fill it with calcium chloride, tie off the top, and lay it vertically across the ice dam. It will slowly melt its way down through the dam, clearing a path for the underlying water to flow free.
WHAT DAMAGE DO ICE DAMS CAUSE?
When an ice dam gets big enough, melted water backs up behind it and seeps underneath the shingles. Eventually, it will drip into the insulation and down into the ceilings and exterior walls beneath the eave, ruining sheetrock and paint. If the ice dam breaks free, it can pull shingles and gutters off with it, and it will damage anything it falls on: shrubs, windowsills, cars, pets, and people. If the roof sheathing stays wet, it can form mildew and start to rot.
That's where SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley comes to help. We can't prevent the ice damming from happening, but we can help you take care of the damages that it can cause.
Dangers of Flash Flooding
An average of 75 people have died in the U.S. from flash floods each year from 2004-2013, according to the National Weather Service. That's more than double the average death toll from lightning
Almost two of every three U.S. flash flood deaths from 1995-2010, occurred in vehicles, according to Dr. Greg Forbes, severe weather expert for The Weather Channel.
The single worst decision you can make in a flash flood is driving your vehicle into floodwaters of unknown depth.
It's easy to misjudge the depth of floodwater, particularly at night. Sometimes the bridge or road masked by flood water may have been undermined or completely washed out.
In some cases, the flash flood event occurs over such a localized area, say one part of one county or city, that driving conditions may go from dry roads to high water in a matter of a few miles. Only 2 feet of water can float a large vehicle or even a bus, therefore you should never drive through flooded roads If you come upon water standing on the road turn around and go back the way you came, do not cross over because you don't know exactly how deep the water is.
Furthermore, just 6 inches of rapidly moving flood water can knock a person down and carry them away.
Always heed warning and seek shelter when your area will be affected by torrential rains.
Did You Know?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the number of homeowners insurance claims from lightning strikes and electrical surges in the United States rose in 2016, compared with 2015; however, the average cost that insurers paid on those claims fell. More than $825 million in lightning claims was paid out in 2016 to more than 100,000 policyholders. Total insured losses caused by lightning rose 4.5 percent from 2015 to 2016, although overall losses have declined 12.4 percent since 2007. There were 109,049 lightning claims in 2016, up 9.7 percent from 2015. Over fifty percent of claims were related to electrical surge damaging components or wiring, while power surges from transformer or service line shorts were also contributing factors. “The average cost per claim dropped 4.7 percent from 2015 to 2016,” said James Lynch, FCAS MAAA, chief actuary at the I.I.I. “However, the overall average cost per claim has risen 42.3 percent since 2007. By comparison,” he noted, “The Consumer Price Index rose only 15.8 percent in the same period.”
What To Do During A Power Outage
So now that you lost power...
Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. For more information about food safety visit our food page.
Take steps to remain cool if it is hot outside. In intense heat when the power may be off for a long time, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or “cooling shelter” that may be open in your community. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level of your home, since cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.
Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors.
If you are considering purchasing a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing.
Only use generators away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home's electrical system.
What To Do Before A Power Outage
For those who have not yet invested in a generator, here are some helpful tips to prepare for a power outage.
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
- Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power. For more information visit: Get Tech Ready
- Charge cell phones and any battery powered devices.
- Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
- Purchase ice or freeze water-filled plastic containers to help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.
- Keep your car’s gas tank full-gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. If you use your car to re-charge devices, do NOT keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home, this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by visiting your state’s or local website so you can locate the closest cooling and warming shelters.
- If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power dependent like a medical device determine a back-up plan.
Tips for Winterizing Your Car
Winter driving conditions can be hazardous due to factors such as snow and ice on the road. While it’s important that you are prepared for winter driving, it is also important that your car is up for the challenge. It is recommended that you winterize your car before the winter season to make sure your car can handle the winter road conditions.
Install winter wipers
These come equipped with rubber that keeps ice from collecting on the blades. Just be sure to remove them when spring rolls around. As winter wipers are heavier than regular ones, keeping them on all the time increases the risk of burning the motor out too soon.
Mount winter tires
If you live in a place that experiences extreme cold winter temperatures, it is recommended that you install winter tires when winterizing your car. When the temperature consistently hovers around or below freezing, the rubber compounds in non-winter tires harden, decreasing the tire’s ability to grip the road. Winter tires use special compounds engineered to resist hardening in cold temperatures, providing better traction.
You should definitely have snow tires installed with plenty of time to spare before extreme winter weather arrives. We say, if you can see your breath, it’s time to install winter tires.
Keep washer fluid full
When driving in snow and ice, you may use a lot of washer fluid in an effort to keep your windshield clean. In order to properly winterize your car, maintain a nearly full washer fluid reservoir and consider keeping a spare bottle or two in the trunk.
Tips for Winterizing Your Car | Bridgestone Tires
Here are some things to pack in your winter driving safety kit:
- Ice scraper
- Bag of sand and a shovel
- Cell phone
- First aid kit
- Extra antifreeze
- Flashlight and batteries
- Car tool kit
- Jumper cables
- Warm clothing: Extra jacket, hat, socks, boots
- Non-perishable food and beverage items
- Pack of matches
Keep the gas tank at least half full!
How to Protect the Outside of Your Home (and Cars!) During the Winter Season
Time to prep your home for "Old Man Winter"
- Clean your gutters and downspouts before cold weather arrives to prevent ice from forming in them.
- Spray an ice repellent solution on steps and walks before freezing weather arrives
- Check antifreeze levels in cars. Add if needed, then run the engine to circulate the new antifreeze through the radiator and engine block.
- Add freeze resistant windshield wiper fluid, and spay to circulate it in lines.
- Check air pressure in tires, since cold weather causes the pressure to lower.
- Bring in container plants, add mulch around plants, and cover plants that are prone to frost damage. Remove covering when temperatures warm above freezing.
- Drain birdbaths and fountains
- Gently sweep snow off plants and shrubs in an upward motion with a broom.
- Use rock salt, sand, or clay based kitty litter on walks and drives (NOTE: Salt can damage grass and other plants).
- Don’t overdo it when using a snow shovel.
- Stay off your roof during freezing weather, but once the ice and snow have melted, inspect your roof for any damage.
SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley Promptly Responds to Flooded Neighborhood
Shown in the before picture, you can see the amount of water that flooded these homes with the markings of the water line a 2 feet from the ceiling.
On October 30th a strong autumn storm ripped through New England bringing wind gusts of over 70 mph and torrential rainfall causing downed trees, widespread power outages and localized flooding.
The Newtonville neighborhood near the Cabot School experienced its own perfect storm during this widespread weather event. A dozen homes located on Bridges and Norwood Avenues experienced major flooding with some homes inundated with over 3 feet of water.
It was the unfortunate collision of the current repairs being made to an aging culvert combined with the by- pass pumps too overwhelmed to handle the sudden storm waters. As a result, the heavy rains flooded the streets and subsequently devastated twelve homes located in this quiet residential neighborhood.
The Emergency Storm Response Crews from SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley were called in to assess the damage. The crew immediately began the water cleanup and restoration process. They worked tirelessly coordinating the needs of the affected homeowners while communicating with insurance company representatives. They updated the representatives of the Newton mayor’s office and informed relevant city departments. SERVPRO had multiple crews, specialized equipment and several work trucks ready to go when the call came in for emergency help. In a short time the crew and vehicles were on site to assist these homeowners in need.
September is National Preparedness Month - SERVPRO of Newton Wellesley
SEPTEMBER is National Preparedness Month, and we are asking you to help your family and friends prepare for whatever may come.
Here are a few tips* on how you can protect those that matter to you without spending a fortune:
- Make a Plan. Work with you family and neighbors to make an emergency plan for the types of disasters that affect your area. Make sure everyone in your family understands where to go and what to do in case of an emergency. You can download Family Emergency Plan templates www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
- Update Contact Information. Having accurate records for family, friends and neighbors will help you stay in contact and possibly help those in need. Make sure updated contact information is posted in visible places throughout your house and workplace.
- Check Your Policy. Review your insurance policy annually and make any necessary changes – renters, too! When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will get you back on your feet.
- Make a Ready List. You may not need all of the items in ready-made preparedness kits. Choose the essentials that fit your needs and budget. Don’t forget to keep supplies at work and in your car.
- Plan Your Purchases. You can save money by thinking ahead. Don’t buy preparedness items just before a storm when they’re expensive and supplies will be in high demand. Buy items at the end of the season when you can get good deals.
- Shop Sales. Shop at sales and used goods stores. Buy preparedness items throughout the year, instead of all at once, and you won’t notice the cost as much.
- Make Sure it Keeps. Store water in safe, containers. You don’t need to buy expensive bottled water, just make sure your water containers are disinfected and airtight.
- Request a Gift. We all get things we don’t need. Suggest preparedness supplies as gifts from your friends and family. It just might save your life.
- Trade a Night Out. Trade one night out to fund your 72-hour kit. Taking a family of four to the movies can cost upwards of $80. Just one night staying in could fund your Ready kit.
- *The best tip: start now. Take small steps toward preparedness and before you know it, you will be Ready!
Build an Emergency Supply Kit
- Water, one gallon per person per day
- Food, non-perishable 3-day supply
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust masks or bandanas
- Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Hygiene items
- Important documents, copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account information
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
Flash Floods Watch VS Flash Floods Warning
Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Flooding often occurs following a hurricane, thawing snow, or several days of sustained rain. Flash floods occur suddenly, due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area. Learn what to do to keep your loved ones safe!
A flood/flash flood WATCH means a flood or flash flood is possible.
A flood/flash flood WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon. TAKE IMMEDIATE PRECAUTIONS!
Right Before a Flood You Should Do the Following:
> Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
> Be prepared to evacuate quickly and know your routes and destinations. Find a local emergency shelter.
> Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications or other medical supplies. Keep it nearby.
Then, If You Can, Do This
> Fill plastic bottles with clean water for drinking.
> Fill bathtubs and sinks with water for flushing the toilet or washing the floor or clothing.
> Fill your car's gas tank, in case you need to evacuate.
> Bring outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors.
> Turn off propane tanks to reduce the potential for fire.
If You Still Have Time, Do This
> Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
> Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities to prevent damage to your home or within the community. If you shut your gas off, a professional is required to turn it back on.
> Unplug small appliances to reduce potential damage from power surges that may occur.
Protective Measures for Thunderstorms
In the United States, an average of 300 people are injured and 80 people are killed each year by lightning. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.
Before Thunderstorms and Lightning To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
- Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
The following are guidelines for what you should do if a thunderstorm is likely in your area:
- Postpone outdoor activities.
- Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
- Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains.
- Avoid showering or bathing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Use a corded telephone only for emergencies. Cordless and cellular telephones are safe to use.
- Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
- Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
Avoid the following:
- Natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area
- Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water
- Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas
- Anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles
During a Thunderstorm if you are:
In a forest: Seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.
In an open area: Go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Be alert for flash floods.
On open water: Get to land and find shelter immediately.
The Damaging Affects of a Hailstorm
Hailstorms can damage your business, your car and your home. Although they are easy to spot, most of us are unaware of how large hailstones can be. The size of a hailstone can range anywhere from1/4 of an inch - 4 1/2 inches in diameter. That is equivalent to the size of a pea (¼ inch) and the size of a softball (4 ½ inch). Average hailstorms typically have pellets ranging from ¾ of an inch or smaller, comparable to the size of a nickel. Often this fact leads to little concern from homeowners, however hailstones the size of nickels can be damaging, especially when they are falling anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 feet at speeds of 120 mph.
During a hailstorm, your house is susceptible to damage with your roof being at most risk. It is important to check for hail damage immediately after a hailstorm has occurred. You should also inspect your siding, windows, rain gutters, and roof to see if any repairs are needed.
When a storm hits your home or business, you need help immediately. SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesleys' quick response will help prevent secondary damage and help reduce restoration costs.
Tornadoes May Be More Dangerous Than Hurricanes
Although they may be known as the mother of all storms when they wallop U.S. coastlines, hurricanes seem to be taking a vacation -- while their more narrowly focused but fiercer cousins, tornadoes are grab the headlines.
With Accuweather redicting a below-average hurricane season for 2017, this could be the year when tornado damage actually exceeds that of hurricanes. Tornadoes, which lately seem to be an almost everyday occurrence, are all over the news. In addition to tearing up the Plains and Southeast, they’ve even reached as far north as New England in recent years.
Hurricane season encompasses the six months of summer and fall, starting June 1 and ending Nov. 30, but tornadoes can pose a danger year-round. Spring is usually considered the prime time for twisters, but don’t say that in Georgia or Florida, which had a cyclone epidemic in January. That month, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported 138 tornadoes, a sharp jump from the January average of only 35 a year for the period of 1991 to 2010.
If a storm strikes your business or home, call SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley and we’ll respond immediately to your flood and storm damage emergencies.
Frozen Pipes Facts
Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal and plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold.
During cold weather, take preventative action:
- Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and night. You may incur a little higher heating bill, but, you can prevent a much more costly repair job if a pipe were to burst.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees.
To thaw frozen pipes:
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water will help melt the ice inside.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe like using an electric heating pad or hairdryer. Never use an open flame.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes.
***If in doubt about any of the above steps or if you do not feel comfortable with the situation, it is always best to contact a licensed plumber.
In the event you incur frozen pipe damage, SERVPRO's trained technicians are available 24/7 to assist with your cleanup and restoration needs.
April Showers Bring May Flowers and More...
April showers help to bring us the most vibrant May flowers and we are so happy with this change of season. However, when April showers are more like torrential, relentless downpours we could face a flooded basement and other water damage causing costly repairs. Flooding generally occurs in the springtime as the result of heavy rains that cannot be adequately absorbed by the still thawing earth. Particularly formidable are the flash floods resulting from thunderstorms, swiftly melting snow, ice jams in creeks, and then there is the fearsome “El Nino." Consider if more than one of these circumstances happens at the same time, you have the potential for a catastrophe with flooding waters and raging mudslides.
Homeowners you can take some simple precautions to secure your property and keep your possessions safe.
Elevate: Keep your furnace, water heater, electrical panels above predicted water levels to protect yourself from costly home replacements.
Install check valves: These valves close to prevent the backward flow of liquid and prevent water from backing up into the drains in your home.
Build barriers: Use sandbags to create flood walls to prevent or reduce flow of water into your home.
Waterproof the basement: Use a waterproofing compound to seal the walls of your basement.
Clean: Clean gutters, drains and downspouts for proper water flow.
Purchase flood insurance: Most standard homeowners' and business insurance policies unfortunately do no cover flood damage. In the event of a flood, you would be responsible for covering the full cost of repairs and replacing items damaged.
There is help close by should you experience an unfortunate event with your home or business. Contact FRAMINGHAM or SERVPRO NEWTON/WELLESLEY. We are trained storm specialists who will come in and quickly get your home or business back to a safe and healthy environment. We have the specific training and certifications to handle your restoration needs provided by an Applied Microbial Remediation Specialist, a Water Damage Restoration Technician, and an Applied Structural Drying Technician. We provide emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays. You can expect an immediate response time, day or night.
In a Jam with Ice Dams
Although icicles do look like pretty prisms dangling from your roof, they are also a sign of big trouble. This is because the same conditions that create icicles -snow covered roofs, freezing temps and cold winds- can also lead to ice dams. Ice dams are thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the overhang of your house. Ice dams grow heavy and tear off gutters, damage windows and siding, loosen shingles and cause water to back up and pour into your house. As a result you could have peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings and dreaded mold! When a harsh and lasting winter storm hits with heavy snow and extremely frigid temperatures this kind of damage is almost inevitable.
However you can stay ahead of the game with a few simple tricks. Keep an eye out for icicles, check for backflow under the roofs shingles, and watch for interior leaks. Heated cables can also be used to fight ice dams. By attaching the cables with clips to the roof in a zigzag pattern, it will help control the roof's temperature and prevent damage. Or you can place a box fan in the attic and aim it at the underside of the roof where water is likely to leak inside. This targeted dose of cold air will freeze the water in its tracks and stop the flow of water. Invest in an aluminum roof rake and remove snow immediately before it begins to build up on the roof. Another trick is to use a pair of panty hose filled with calcium chloride/ ice melter placed on the roof so it crosses the ice dam and overhangs the gutter. This will create a channel for water to flow down into the gutters and off the roof.
Unfortunately we can’t prevent storms from happening so when you need emergency help because of storm damage, call SERVPRO Framingham or SERVPRO Newton/Wellesley. Our 24 hour service is specialized and ready to come to you for cleanup and restoration of either residential or commercial property. Whether you are dealing with the aftermath of a storm, a fire or have smoke or water damage, give us a call. We know catastrophes don’t always happen conveniently during business hours so we are available 24/7.
We are also ready to help when you need to mitigate mold and mildew from your home or business. The main goal of SERVPRO of Framingham and Newton/Wellesley is to help minimize the interruption to your life and as quickly as possible make it "like it never even happened."