Recent Storm Damage Posts
Key Elements of Prepping for a Hurricane in South Florida
?If you live in South Florida, you know that hurricanes are a way of life. While we may not get hit every year, it's always best to be prepared. Staying informed, creating a supply kit, and knowing the evacuation plan are three key parts to better prepare yourself for a hurricane. Here's how to make sure you're ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.
Living in a region where hurricanes are a frequent guest means you need to keep an ear to the ground for the latest weather updates and advisories. The National Weather Service is like your lookout, issuing hurricane watches and alerts when these storms set their sights on your area. Think of a hurricane watch as a “heads-up” call that a hurricane is close to you. When such a watch or warning lands in your area, it's time to tune in closely to what your local officials advise. The thing about hurricanes is that they are masters of surprise, often changing their paths at the last moment. This unpredictability is why staying informed is not just helpful, but crucial. Which is also why having a Hurricane Supply Kit is an essential.
Hurricane Supply Kit
First, get to know your evacuation zone. The South Florida region is mapped into zones based on how close you are to the coastline. When a hurricane looms on the horizon, knowing your zone is key to determining your evacuation route and destination. Next, compile a list of must-haves. In the rush of evacuation, you'll want to have a ready list of essentials like medications, crucial documents, and clothes. This list is your quick-grab guide to ensure you leave nothing vital behind. Stocking up on supplies is also crucial. Before the storm hits, ensure you have a stash of necessities like food, water, and batteries. This prep work is your lifeline in case of power outages or if you need to make a swift exit.
Don't forget about your furry friends! If you have pets, their safety is paramount too. Prepare a carrier for each pet and know a safe haven where you can take them if evacuation is necessary. Lastly, keep your vehicle's gas tank full. In the event of an evacuation, a full tank can be your ticket to a swift and unimpeded escape. Stopping to refuel can delay you, increasing the risk of getting trapped in flood zones or high-wind areas. By following these steps, you can stand ready for whatever a hurricane might bring to South Florida. It's always better to err on the side of caution. Stay prepared, stay safe!
Preparing For Palm Beach’s Next Hurricane’s Aftermath
The aftermath of a hurricane can be an extensive and taxing time for homeowners. This is the reality many are living currently in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Many have a long road of recovery that includes phases of cleanup and assessments prior to restoration and rebuilding. While efforts are already underway on the West Coast of Florida, places like our coastal communities in Palm Beach have a focus on reviewing what hurricane preparation and recovery planning should look like. Here are some details to keep in mind when developing to employ a more effective disaster management strategy.
- Fully survey the exterior of your home for safety hazards prior to attempting to go inside
- Contact the insurance agency and begin the claims process as soon as possible
- Have the tools and safety gear on reserve to help sift through storm damage:
- Including but not limited to headgear, lanterns, gloves, N95 mask, rubber shoes
- Respond to water damage as soon as possible
- Unattended standing water and wet structures lead to secondary mold damage. Prioritize extraction and drying efforts as soon as possible.
- Dispose of unsalvageable items and clean, sanitize, and locate storage options for those that are salvageable.
- Hire certified and capable emergency storm damage restoration team
- SERVPRO of West Palm Beach has IICRC-certified technicians to collaborate with your insurance and provide you with the services you need.
- Remaining Patient Through the Process
- Lean on friends, family, and fellow community members during this time for both practical and mental health support.
- Utilize disaster assistance and nonprofit organizations
- Identify FEMA, American Red Cross, and local organizations and their process to access financial and personal assistance.
The sooner we can safely and properly assess storm damage, the quicker the restoration process can begin. Create and consistently revisit your emergency preparedness plan. Make sure everyone in your house is aware of it. Add a vetted restoration company number, such as SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, to assist with the storm damage cleanup and restoration. Access our free hurricane preparedness guide to help prevent some potential damage hurricanes could cause.
Caring for Pets in a West Palm Beach Hurricane
With hurricane season midway through we all are watching forecasts with the hope that West Palm Beach will be spared from any storm’s impact. When preparing for a disaster, pets can often be left with inadequate care or no plan at all. Here are some considerations for your animal friends that can assist with natural disasters and other emergencies.
- Find a safe location for them to stay
Coastal cities such as our home of West Palm Beach can be threatened by storm surge, flood waters and hurricane winds. If a neighborhood could experience storm damage effects, it is important to find a safe place for your pets to stay. For a list of boarding facilities, hotels and pet motels in the area that could take in your pet in an emergency, visit the Palm Beach County website.
- Arranging a caregiver in the case of travel and boarding limitations
If evacuation becomes necessary prior to a storm event, it is wise to choose to board eligible pets in a local boarding facility or shelter. However, if you find that there is limited availability for boarding or evacuating your pet, identifying a person who may have a safe location for them to stay could be a good solution. Do you have someone in your network or just outside of the West Palm Beach area that may be able to care for animals if your home has experienced storm damage or fire damage?
- Create an animal emergency supply kit
It is a good idea to assemble an emergency kit that is specific to the humans in your household and a separate one for any pets. This is because it can be easy to underestimate the essentials, medical items, and comforts that would be needed to help your pet through an emergency evacuation or to get through a short-term stay at a boarding facility. A well-rounded pet preparedness kit could include medications, food, drinking water, a can opener, a first aid kit, photos of your pet (in the event they are lost), feeding and medication schedules, and a copy of your veterinarian’s contact information.
Storm damage affects not only the home and residents but also domesticated and wild animals in an area. Taking inventory of what you can control will provide your family with more confidence and capability to respond during times of disaster. If you do experience storm damage or water damage this hurricane season, be sure to call the experts at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach to help. Check out the SERVPRO of West Palm Beach blog for more pet preparedness tools.
West Palm Beach Hurricane Watch and Preparations
September is National Preparedness Month, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As we move through the second half of the 2022 hurricane season. It is important to not only have a kit, but also to know your resources, and to have both communications and evacuation plans.
Family and community disaster planning experts are encouraging us throughout this month to limit the impacts that an emergency event could have on community homes. Always expect the unexpected. Check your kit, review your plan, and talk to your friends and family. Do this every few weeks or so, to stay prepared for a hurricane or tropical storm in West Palm Beach. As experts in emergency management agree on a few guidelines:
- Make a Plan
- Create a communications and evacuation plan for your family. Be sure to remember to factor in plan for pets.
- Review insurance policy and eb sure you are knowledgeable of how to document and report storm damage.
- Build an Emergency Kit
- Create and replenish emergency kits with supplies and comforts that could assist in the aftermath of a storm as well as in the case of an evacuation.
- Get Involved
- Research local shelters and organizations that have efforts supporting storm response. Consider donating time or resources and becoming familiar with their offerings in the event you need them.
- Create a list of vetted vendors who can respond to storm damage, water damage, and mold damage that we often see after a storm.
- Stay Informed with Reliable Sources
- Know your flood and evacuation zones.
- Sign up for weather event alerts through AlertPBC.
- Check the National Hurricane Center website for forecasts and updates on active storms.
Remaining proactive by staying informed from the Palm Beach County will enable your family to make the best decisions. If you feel your home has existing water or storm damage, seek guidance from from a certified restoration company like SERVPRO of West Palm Beach. We provide free inspections and offer 24/7 emergency response services to West Palm Beach Rseidents and those in surrounding areas.
For help preparing for a hurricane, reference the SERVPRO of West Palm Beach free and comprehensive hurricane preparedness guide.
2022 Hurricane Season Storm Count
Colorado State University’s tropical weather and climate research team recently announced their forecast for this year’s Atlantic Hurricane season activity.
The hurricane season begins officially on June 1 and lasts until November 20. The CSU forecast announced by the Colorado researchers indicates a storm season with above-normal activity.
Some of the earliest predictions for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season include:
- 9 Hurricanes
- 35 Hurricane Days
- 4 Major Hurricanes
- 9 Major Hurricane Days
- 19 Named Storms
A major hurricane ranks as Category 3, 4 or 5, and includes sustained winds of 111 mph or greater. When sharing the energy and impact of the season they noted the “measure of a named storm’s potential for wind and storm surge destruction defined as the sum of the square of a named storm’s maximum wind speed (in 104 knots2) for each 6-hour period of its existence.”
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center’s data suggests that the average Atlantic season has 14 named storms and seven hurricanes. The CSU researchers will issue further forecast updates on June 2, July 7 and Aug. 4.
Researchers warn that all residents in coastal communities should prepare for each hurricane season with the same thoroughness. To help our community prepare throughout the Palm Beaches, we have developed a step-by-step hurricane guide. This hurricane guide includes shopping lists, shelter information, check lists and emergency resources. Receive a digital copy of the SERVPRO of West Palm Beach free hurricane preparedness guide, by submitting a request here.
For highly-trained teams to assist with storm damage, you can rely on SERVPRO of West Palm Beach.
Wellington Prepares for 2022 Hurricane Season
Hurricane season 2022 is almost here. Forecasters at Colorado State University expect this season to include four major hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour (178 km per hour). This raises questions in the Wellington community and surrounding areas about preparation. SERVPRO of West Palm Beach unpacks a list of insurance and other preparation details you’ll need to brush up on before the first storm hits.
It may be better to have a local agent guide you through customizing your policy. GreatFlorida Insurance in Wellington suggests this because, without local perspective you could buy too much coverage or too little. Allow an agent in the community to help answer your questions and review your policy with them prior to storm season so that you can understand exactly what damage and claims would be covered.
According to Brightway Insurance, in Wellington, 25 percent of all Flood insurance claims come from non-flood prone areas in the U.S. Flooding is particularly threatening in the region of Wellington and greater South Florida. Some coverage could be available through The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which is managed by FEMA. However, it is important to assess your risk and consider purchasing excess flood insurance protection from a private, commercial insurance company. Some flood insurance policies can include a 30-day waiting period so it is important to secure this prior to a storm event.
It is a market trend in states that experience frequent hurricanes, such as Florida, for homeowners insurance policies to exclude wind damage. Be sure to review your policies and acquire any additional windstorm policy you may need to recover from a high-speed wind’s impact during a hurricane.
Free Hurricane Guide
Hurricane recovery is made a lot easier by proper preparation. Having a plan for your family, home and business allows or more peace of mind. A digital copy of the SERVPRO of West Palm Beach free hurricane preparedness guide is available to you by submitting a request here.
- Life safety issues: 9-1-1
- Small Business Administration (SBA): 1-800-359-2227
- FEMA Tele-registration hot-line: 1-800-462-9029
- Insurance company and agent’s contact information
- Village of Wellington Storm Updates
- SERVPRO of West Palm Beach for your water damage, storm damage and reconstruction services. Call 561-795-5410 for 24/7 emergency services.
Preparing Your West Palm Business For Hurricanes
With a vigorous hurricane season ahead, it is important for business leaders to ensure their West Palm Beach business is prepared. Hurricane preparation goes beyond protecting the physical dwelling and belongings within a business. Detailed communications, reinforcements and adjustments are needed to recover from a natural disaster event. Below are some ways to assist your business operation to continue through storm intervention.
Does your staff and business have the capability to operate remotely from another location? While it may be difficult to rely on a hybrid or remote workforce if there are power outages in the area, consider a plan for conducting tasks and teams remotely if the restoration of the office is delayed. Other tips surrounding the physical office include:
- Backup any data offsite to protect information including tax, payroll and other valuable information stored for your business.
- Store electronic equipment in a safe room on elevated areas that could keep the devices safe from flood waters.
- If operating under more mild storm conditions, like a tropical storm, consider hiring a qualified licensed electrician to perform surge protector installation.
- Make sure that inventory is accurate for any equipment and technology in the office. This will make insurance claims process simpler should damage occur.
Anticipate Needs of Employees & Customers
Navigating a storm and its aftermath is tough on the entire community. Consider procedures that would support your team through that time.
- Consistently check in on the health and safety of employees.
- Delegate tasks and assignments to team members who may be unaffected by storm impact
- Consider leniency on customer policies surrounding returns, payments, or applications which could be impacted by electricity or internet access.
Create A Disaster Plan for Disasters During Hours of Operation
If employees are on the premises during an emergency, ensure that they have access to a plan to respond.
- Keep checklists and kits available on site.
- Review commercial insurance policies with insurance agents.
- Predetermine a certified, qualified restoration company, like SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, to be the responder.
- Share a disaster plan with the team. The Emergency Ready Profile from SERVPRO of West Palm Beach can be used to clearly guide any member of your team through disaster response.
Preparing for South Florida’s Above Average 2022 Hurricane Season
Hurricane season is just over a month away and weather and climate researchers are beginning to make projections about the storms ahead. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will announce their official detailed storm tracking in May. While we wait to hear more about the named storm, we know it is important to reflect on what the community can do to properly prepare.
It isn’t overstated just how important evacuation and hurricane prep kits can be. The days and a couple of weeks preceding a major hurricane can create short supply, traffic issues, and general delays. Do you have an evacuation plan in place? If your evacuation plan requires driving, do you have a serviced and reliable car? Do you have a plan for any pets and animals? Plan beyond only having a first aid kit and flashlights, medicine, water, and food. It is helpful to consider the potential aftermath and things you need in a prolonged storm recovery period. Find your evacuation route. For help building a plan, use a digital copy of the SERVPRO of West Palm Beach free hurricane preparedness guide, by submitting a request here.
Review Your Insurance and Acquiring More
While most people have certain protections from storm damage in their homeowners’ policies, protection for your personal and real property can come in many forms. Consider acquiring additional flood insurance to add to your National Flood Insurance Plan coverage. The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that just one inch of water throughout a home could result in an average of $25,000. While it is important to understand every claim and water damage event will vary in cost and severity. When preparing for a storm, review your policy documents, take inventory of your real and personal property, and discuss your current coverage with an insurance agent.
Reinforcements & Resources
Don’t wait until substantial storm damage occurs to scramble for disaster resources. Locate numbers to local resources such as the Palm Beach County Fire Department, electric and utility teams, and county and state alerts ahead of a storm. Predetermine who can assist with water, fire, or mold damage. Select an IICRC-certified restoration and reconstruction team, like SERVPRO of West Palm Beach.
What to Know About SERVPRO
SERVPRO has a national Disaster Recovery Team to address major storm events. Teams are dispatched from all over the country during a large storm event to ensure that our community members are taken care of quickly and efficiently. We have the capacity and labor force to handle any size loss. We help ensure a more streamlined claims process. Remember SERVPRO of West Palm Beach’s 24/7 emergency services when planning this hurricane season.
What Flooding in 2022 Could Mean for South Florida Businesses
Flood risk and insurance are changing this year. South Florida residents and commercial businesses are encouraged to review existing policies.
Florida is a rapidly developing and changing coastal state. The South Florida region has growing flood complications each year. Florida sees more frequent tropical storm systems than any other state. The threat of extreme weather events and sea-level rise changes each year and requires consistent review by Floridians.
An organization called First Street Foundation and global engineering firm Arup published a recent report titled "The 4TH National Risk Assessment: Climbing Commercial Closures." According to the report, findings suggest that there are “currently 729,999 retail, office, and multi-unit residential properties at risk of annualized flood damage in the contiguous United States.”
Most Floridians understand that the risk of flooding brings with it lost days of operation, customer retention problems, and other unforeseen ramifications for commercial spaces. The report also mentions, though, that U.S. businesses could see spending around $13.5 billion nationally in 2022 on flood damage repairs and flood damage reconstruction.
With today’s changing landscape of hybrid and working-from-home business models, flooding to multi-unit residential buildings could also impact business operations. These considerations are becoming more centered now, as the insurance market and emergency management are changing how we look at flooding prevention in 2022 and beyond.
As flooding projections and risk ratings inflate, the insurance market is responding. The National Flood Insurance Program, offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has altered its rate structure. One implication of the Risk Rating 2.0 could be that commercial and residential properties are reclassified into a higher risk category. This change could create higher premiums on policies, possibly resulting in many policyholders transitioning to the private sector carriers later.
The susceptibility to flooding creates a need for more consistent maintenance and sophisticated planning for homeowners and property managers. A few general tips to navigate the changing Flood risk in South Florida should be incorporated into your yearly planning.
- Communicate with insurance agents to acquire a breakdown of how your commercial or residential property designation and coverage has been affected by FEMA’s changes in Risk Rating 2.0.
- Research and vet flood risk mitigation tactics for your property. This can protect property residents and business operations, and in some cases, reduce premium costs.
- Revisit commercial leases. Look for information on responsible parties and communicate rising premium costs with the leasing company.
- Continue to monitor local, state, and national government guidance on flood risk areas and activity.
- Update your business, building, or home’s emergency plan. Designate a restoration company with the capacity to handle 24/7 storm damage and flood damage services in Palm Beach County. SERVPRO of West Palm Beach provides service to commercial and residential buildings throughout the community.
Interactive flood zone mapping and other local flood guidance are available through the City of West Palm Beach website.
A Guide to Documenting & Reporting Storm Damage
A thorough inventory of damaged property can improve the insurance claims process.
While the 2021 storm season has been less active in South Florida than other areas, it has produced a couple of severe weather events such as Category 4 Hurricane Ida. It is important to always prepare for the possible threat of a damaging hurricane because storm intensity and trajectory can change rapidly. When water and storm damage impact your home, it is important to respond quickly with cleanup and restoration. A quick response prevents damage worsening, for example neglected water damage resulting in rampant mold growth.
Here is a short checklist to streamline storm damage assessment of your home and contents:
Photograph and label items one at a time
When taking photos, make sure that the area is well-lit, and the photo is high enough quality to properly show the damaged property. Record serial numbers of damaged property and if possible, track down the receipts for these properties. If it is possible to wait, don’t discard of damaged property until you have documented it and or filed a claim listing it. Take photos of damaged areas and items from multiple angles. Make sure to include both close-up and wide shots.
Assess one room or area at a time
It is a good rule of thumb to start with one area and only move on to another when you have completed documenting the first area. Take notes when sorting through damaged property. Include a description of the item, its age, and both the price at time of purchase and current market price. You may want to use tools such as chalk or wax pencils to mark specific areas of damage such as dented doors.
Enlist the help of a professionals
SERVPRO of West Palm Beach assists with contents inventory, which comes with photographing, if appropriate, storage of items. We also work directly with insurance companies to provide a streamlined claims process. During the stressful time of storm aftermath, SERVPRO can help manage the questions, insurance paperwork and protect your property from further damage.
Secure your home to prevent further damage
Arrange to have doors, windows and other areas secured against unauthorized entry. This also helps prevent further damage. If you need tarping, board-up, or sandbag services you can call SERVPRO of West Palm Beach.
Storm recovery can be a stressful and painful time for people. South Florida community deserve a well-trained team responding quickly to their storm emergency. No disaster is too large for our franchise because we can access resources from our Disaster Recovery Teams strategically spread across the country. For more information on hurricane preparedness, check out our storm preparedness blog.
2021 Storm Season Forecast and Planning for West Palm
Plan ahead with our free hurricane guide.
Storm season is in full swing as we move into August. While South Florida has not seen many storms or hurricanes yet in the 2021 season, it is safe to review your storm preparedness plan. According to the National Hurricane Center, no storm or tropical cyclone activity is expected in the Atlantic in the next five days. Track tropical cyclones and other weather information from the Miami center on their website.
The best time to refine your disaster response is when storm activity is minimal. SERVPRO of West Palm Beach has developed an extensive and free 2021 Hurricane Preparedness Guide to help our community stay safe. If you would like a copy of our guide, you can submit a request here. Due to our national storm resources, SERVPRO of West Palm Beach is faster to any size disaster. Add 561-468-5950 to your emergency contact list in case you experience storm damage.
It is important to stay informed about weather events across the Atlantic that could affect the surrounding area. The activity of La Nina and El Nino (ocean/atmospheric patterns) can strongly affect the development of storms. According to the Climate Prediction Center, when there is a La Nina “watch,” we can expect the Atlantic hurricanes to be more active.
Mid-season preparation to-do list
- If you haven’t done so yet, set up Wireless Emergency Alerts from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial public alerting authorities. This ensures that any urgent warnings and extreme weather information will be sent to your mobile device.
- Plan your evacuation by knowing your designated Palm Beach County evacuation zone. Find your zone and route by using the Palm Beach County Hurricane Evacuation Zone Look-up Tool and Hurricane Evacuation Zone Map.
- Review and replenish any hurricane supplies or build a new kit. Check the expiration date on any food and over the counter medicines and take inventory of water. Create an emergency plan for your pets and build a kit for them as well.
- Review your insurance policies to check for any hurricane coverage. Hurricane coverage could come from a combination of flood insurance, homeowners insurance and hurricane-specific policies. Understand how you will cover any potential storm damage repairs.
For more information on post-hurricane response services visit our storm damage cleanup and restoration page. For local emergency management information, visit Palm Beach County's Public Safety website.
24/7 Emergency Water Damage Services
Are you experiencing a water emergency? We are here to help you, no matter the time of day or night!
Don’t wait for the damage to spread throughout the home. We are faster to any size disaster. If water is present in your home call our team immediately! The long-term effects water damage could be worse than the event itself.
Call SERVPRO West Palm Beach at 561-795-5410 for immediate, local 24/7 response for your water damage emergency.
Do not hesitate or wait until morning. With SERVPRO of West Palm Beach we are available any time of day, helping you get ahead of the water damage before it gets worse.
Call us immediately if you are experiencing:
- A burst pipe
- Overflowing toilet, sink, or tub
- A water heater or dishwasher malfunction
- Sewage backup
- Or any other commercial or residential water damage emergency!
Call Us Now At – 561-765-5410
And our experienced team will be on our way to you.
REMEMBER, You Need IMMEDIATE Attention - to Your Water Damage Emergency
- Our water damage response team is available to you around the clock and will respond quickly anywhere in Palm Beach County.
- Our highly trained employees are IICRC-certified and provide prompt, professional service.
- Our experienced team uses state-of-the-art equipment to handle ANY water damage situation.
- As soon as we arrive, our team will immediately begin the water damage restoration process.
- The long-term effects of water damage can be worse than the event itself.
Call Us Now – Operators Are Standing By
You can always expect our team to:
- Work quickly and efficiently, ensuring your home does not suffer from any prolonged or secondary water damage
- Walk you through every step of the process and what to expect
- Work and communicate with your insurance company
- Be highly professional, understanding, and trustworthy
If you have a water emergency, give us a call no matter the time or day! We are available 24/7 to help anyone in the Palm Beach County area.
Can Residents Expect a Hurricane in West Palm Beach During the 2021 Storm Season?
Don't rely on chances - be prepared!
Last year West Palm Beach and Florida in general were spared from any major hurricane making landfall, during a year that not only brought a pandemic but one of the most active hurricane seasons we have seen.
Florida’s hurricane season in 2021 may not bring such luck. Conditions in both the Atlantic and Pacific, warm subtropical waters and the absence of El Nino, along with the a shift in the Bermuda/Azores air patterns, are all calling in favor for a major storm to hit the East Coast hard.
Many scientists, hurricane forecasters and local officials are concerned that Floridian residents may not properly prepare for this season, leaving them especially vulnerable to hurricane damage to their homes and businesses.
2020 Hurricane Season Recap
Though there were no major hurricanes in West Palm Beach that made landfall, Florida did have a few brushes with storms in 2020. In September, Hurricane Sally made landfall in Alabama, rains and winds severely impacted the Florida Panhandle, causing hurricane damage from 121 mph wind gusts and storm surge flooding. It took until November 8th , the last month of the hurricane season, for Hurricane Eta to be the first major storm to make landfall in Florida, mostly affecting the Florida keys.
What to Expect in 2021
As of April this year, experts are calling for an above-average season.
- 17 named storms
- 8 Hurricanes
- 4 major hurricanes
This season is definitely a lot less active than compared to 2020, which had 30 storms, though that does not rule out the 45% chance of a major storm making landfall in Florida and causing major hurricane damage. For this reason, experts and local officials are warning residents and business owners not to give in to a false sense of security and prepare now.
What to Remember
Peak season is not until July and the accuracy of how many storms we will actually get is not known until then. However, extra caution for this year should be taken especially after West Palm Beach residents have not only had to endure a pandemic but also being deemed the 14th place for one of the wettest and warmest years on record.
With rainy season starting May 15th, it is vital to begin preparations now for both your family and property:
- Create a disaster kit with enough non-perishable food, water, hygienic other safety items that will last for at least 3 days for your entire household.
- Start securing your property for potential hurricane damage. This includes checking for leaks during heavy rains or potential flood areas and begin mitigation.
- Have an evacuation plan in the case it is ever needed. Know what shelters are in your area.
- Create a list of important contacts that will prove useful before, during and after a hurricane in West Palm Beach. These contacts may include your utility vendors, insurance agent, local emergency departments, contractors like plumbers or damage restoration providers, neighbors, family , and friends.
After so many changes in 2020 to for West Palm Beach residents and business owners, 2021 is not the year to go unprepared for hurricane season. Make a hurricane preparedness plan today!
Storm Season Insurance Guide
Hurricane Season is from June 1st to November 30th, and we can’t stress enough how important it is to be prepared; for preparation is the best defense against disasters. As a restoration company we tend to stress heavily on physical preparation, such as checking your home for leaks, cracks, mold, or any hazards that can allow additional damage to occur should a storm hit. However another major preparation factor that NEEDS to be addressed is property insurance.
There are thousands of insurance policies out there, each with varying degrees of coverage and you’d be surprised at how few homeowners truly know their coverage. If you haven’t already, contact your local insurance agent and schedule a time to sit down and go over all of your coverage details- don’t wait till after you have a loss to check your insurance. When speaking with your agent, here are a few topics you should be sure to discuss and understand prior to storm season.
Understanding Your Deductible:
With property insurance there tend to be two different deductibles when it comes to storms. One is Hurricane deductible and the other is windstorm deductible. Insurers in every costal state include separate deductibles for hurricanes and/or windstorms in their homeowner’s policies.
A hurricane deductible is applied only to hurricanes, whereas a windstorm deductible applies to any type of wind. When speaking with your agent, be sure to understand how these deductibles affect your pay out, for it might be advisable to set aside additional funds incase you need to rebuild your home.
What Disasters Insurance Covers:
Its important to be knowledgeable of what disasters your insurance policy covers. Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies provide coverage for hurricanes, wind, theft, fire, explosions, lightning strikes, and many other disasters. However, all policies also list exclusions, with one of the more common exclusions being flooding. While many people might not feel flooding insurance is necessary, what they don’t know is that 90% of natural disasters (especially hurricanes) include some form of flooding. Living in Florida, flood insurance is a must.
Are Your Possessions Covered:
When analyzing your coverage, its important to make sure that your possessions are well insured. Your policy not only protects your home but all of your belongings, so be sure that your policy provides protection against loss or damage due to a hurricane. In order to ensure you have efficient coverage, we recommend that you determine the value of your possessions with a home inventory, so you know how much coverage you actually need.
Additional Living Expenses:
If a storm is to leave your home uninhabitable, its important to make sure that your policy provides enough coverage for additional living expenses such as hotel and food expenses.
Damage Mitigation Responsibilities:
Lastly but most importantly, if disaster is to strike your property you are responsible for taking necessary steps to prevent further damages. For example. should a hurricane cause roof damage or window damage allowing water to get into your home, you are responsible to do all you can to mitigate your losses. By performing such steps not only are the homeowners experiencing less of a loss, but it also reduces the expense that would be payable under the claim for insurance. If this step is not taken and you abandon your property after the storm and the damage grows worse due to your neglect, then you may find your claim denied by insurance which can result in a hefty out of pocket fee.
Prepare Your Waterfront Home For Storm Season
When you think of South Florida, many people imagine beautiful beaches, waterfront properties and sun year-round. Sounds like paradise, right? The Covid-19 pandemic, as we have seen, has resulted in a mass migration of residents from all over the U.S. to relocate to South Florida, with many investing in beautiful waterfront properties. While there are many benefits to living in South Florida, there are still some drawbacks that may be overlooked, such as hurricane season and what preparation looks like for those who own land with waterfront or ocean access.
For long time Floridians, preparation for hurricane season has become second nature. For those who are new to the South Florida area, here are a few tips and tricks to getting your home prepared for the 2021 season, because here at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach we believe that the best defense against severe storms is to be prepared for the worst.
Docks and Seawalls
- Inspect your docks for damage and handle any necessary repairs ahead of time. Doing this can save you from potential higher property repair costs should a large storm hit your location.
- Sea wall inspection is pertinent, as it may be the best line of defense against storm surge.
- Secure everything, such as ropes, chairs, flags or any other item that can easily come loose or get tossed around in hurricane winds. Not only will this save your property from further damage, but it can save you from the potential financial responsibility of repairing your neighbors property.
- Turn off the power and water to your dock. Although this may not be mandatory, it is highly advised and can save you from experiencing a high-water bill should a pipe burst or a fire as a result of an electrical short.
Boat Storage Options
- Land Storage: Storing your boat ashore on higher ground is the most recommended method during a hurricane. Be sure to tie your boat down by attaching straps with minimal to no stretch to eyes set in concrete or helical anchors.
- Water Storage: if you have to store your boat on the water during a hurricane, there are several things to keep in mind. Seek out tall pilings, as shorter pilings aren’t very forgiving during a storm surge. Also try to store your boat on a floating dock, which allows the boats to rise and fall with the water level without stretching or stressing lines.
- Boat Lifts: NEVER keep your boat on a boat lift during a hurricane. A storm surge could easily wipe out the entire dock and take your boat with it, resulting in costly damage to your boat as well as your property.
- Windows: Unless your home has been upgraded with Hurricane windows, hurricane shutters are the best option.
- Doors: Be sure to check that the weather stripping and thresholds of your doors are in good condition. If your home is in a low-lying area, sandbagging around the entrances can help prevent interior flooding and water damage to you home.
- Property: Be sure to place important documents, photos, and other irreplaceable property in a safe waterproof location.
In the event that you do experience any type of storm damage or flooding at your waterfront property, be sure to reach out to the experts here at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach. We have the knowledge, experience and trust of the community to handle all your mitigation and restoration needs. We promise we’ll make it look “Like it never even happened.”
The History of Storm Tracking
After a long and hectic 2020 hurricane season, it is evident that technology and our advanced methods used for tracking and watching storms help to keep us informed, allowing us to make decisions ensuring our safety and preparedness prior to landfall. If we look back to the late 1800’s before such instrumentation and methods were established, thousands of people would be left injured or killed because storms would arrive with little to no warning. Fortunately, we no longer live in the 1800’s but in order to truly appreciate where we are today, we must understand where we started.
The History of Hurricane Forecasting
In 1873, the first hurricane warning service was established in Cuba by a man named Father Benito Vines. He created a network of observation sites, allowing him to develop the first method to forecast tropical cyclone movement based off cloud patterns that would progress prior to hurricanes. While there were still flaws in his methods, he established a foundation that would only grow stronger.
A few years later after the hurricane of 1875, the U.S. created a warning flag system which entailed a pair of red flags with black rectangles in the center to be hoisted up in areas where hurricane warnings were in effect.
Fast forward to 1905, we begin implementing the use of radio from ships. This initiative provided significantly more information about the storm to those tracking the hurricanes. In 1909 the first report from a hurricane was received over radio and by 1935 we had received around 21,000 reports a year and it did not stop there. As the amount of data received continued to grow, so did our methods of acquiring it. In 1935 we sent out our first manned aircraft to gather data on hurricanes. This initial aircraft reconnaissance never penetrated the storm, however in 1943 Colonel Joseph Duckworth flew a single-engine plane into a category 1 storm after a bet. Since then, military weather reconnaissance plane missions became routine in order to gather meteorological data. These missions, along with the technological advances brought about post WWII with radar, provided us with a modern forecasting system and allowed us to forecast and issue hurricane advisories one day into the future.
The nest big technological advancement was in 1960 when NASA launched its TRIOS satellite, transmitting both visible light and infrared photographs. These images revealed the presence of tropical cyclones throughout the ocean, greatly improving forecasters’ situational awareness. After satellite surveillance grew to be a regular method of storm discovery, hurricane hunter aircrafts only flew into storm areas which were spotted first by satellite imagery.
Over the next few decades, technological methods and innovations were in constant battle, propelling our methods to where we are today. In 2020, the National Hurricane Center tracks the intensity, size and structure of tropical cyclones, storm surges, rainfall and tornadoes associated with tropical cyclones, using Satellites, reconnaissance aircrafts, ships, buoys, radar, and other land-based platforms. Through these advancements we can detect and track from the moment the storm forms to the moment it makes landfall, supplying ample information far in advance to allow for proper preparations to be made, ensuring our safety and well-being.
2020 Storm Season Recap
We can all agree that 2020 was a year for the history books. Not only did we experience a global pandemic bringing much uncertainty into everyone’s lives, 2020 also brought us the most active storm season since 1850. Prior to the start, Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, believed we would see between 19 to 25 named storms this season. This daunting prediction more than doubled the 1981-2010 historical averages and would later be surpassed.
Between May 16th and November 30th there were a record-breaking 30 named storms, 12 of which made landfall in the U.S. With the increased number of storms, the National Hurricane Center had to dive deeper into the Greek alphabet for names than ever before.
Of the 30 named storms we saw:
- 13 hurricanes (6 major)
- 15 tropical storms
- 2 were subtropical storms
Why Were Predictions and Numbers so High?
Two reasons for experiencing an extremely active hurricane season in 2020 was due to El Niño climate conditions and the record high ocean temperatures in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. When the two are combined, they create an environment suitable for storms to form, which led to the increased number of reported storms. Scientists also believe that the change in climate are aiding in our hurricanes increased strength and damage.
In the U.S., 6 of the 12 storms to hit were hurricanes which resulted in severe flooding and water damage, leaving many homes and businesses devastated. Overall storm damage, according to the CDP, are expected to exceed $41 billion.
While many storms remained in the Gulf this year, fortunately avoiding Florida, hurricane Eta (the 28th storm of the season) found a way to make landfall twice, resulting in more than $1 billion in storm damages.
When it comes to hurricane season and experiencing such devastating storm and water damages, the experts at SERVPRO recommend taking immediate action. Through acting fast you will not only minimize immediate damages to your home or business, but you will also help minimize chances of experiencing secondary storm damage long after the storm has passed.
What to Expect During Winter in South Florida
After months of rain and humidity, cooler temperatures and some breeze is very much welcomed in Florida. West Palm Beach and the rest of South Florida is not exactly known for sweater weather but the weather overall can be much more pleasant. Some days may call for a light jacket while others are still perfectly acceptable to spend at the beach. The winter months in South Florida can be confusing for those who are not used to dealing with it, so here’s what to expect in the coming months!
Though November is still technically part of storm season, large storm activities tend to slow significantly. Temperatures can range from the mid to high 70s which can be extremely pleasant weather to enjoy many outdoor activities. Low humidity, lower chance of rain and sunny days makes for an incredibly great start to the holiday season during November.
Unfortunately, December does not bring any colder weather than that of November. Some days may drop in temperature by a few degrees, though cold fronts are not long lasting and do not call for warmer clothing like the cold days that places in the Florida Panhandle might experience. Even the most southern tip of Florida, Key West, may likely only reach 65 degrees during a cold December day.
January’s weather pattern follows that of December as far as temperature is concerned in South Florida. January does tend to have less sunlight though and have days that are a bit cloudier, which can in turn make them slightly cooler, however sunshine filled days are still ever-present. January is part of Florida’s dry season so humidity levels tend to float around 80% in the morning and drop to the low 70s and high 60s as the day progresses.
Winter in Florida means a reprieve from cloudy, storm-filled skies. With cool days and plenty of sunshine, it is no wonder South Florida is the ultimate getaway during fall and winter!
Staying Prepared During Peak Hurricane Season
The Atlantic hurricane season has already been extremely busy. The NOAA just recently updated the anticipated number of storms to 25 names. Just within this week, there are two systems forming in the Atlantic with an 80% chance of developing. This is no surprise as August and September are peak months in the season. Now is when we may see much more activity in the Atlantic heading our way. Why is this the case?
Wind shear and temperature of the ocean can create the perfect environment for a strong hurricane. Wind shear is the difference in wind speed or direction. Strong wind shear is what impedes a tropical cyclone, hurricane or tropical storm, from becoming a major threat. Summer months like August and September mean warmer, moist air and warmer ocean temperatures. During peak season low wind shear combined with warm tropic oceans will help fuel any tropical cyclone. Some experts also believe climate change creates bigger and slower storms. A large, slow hurricane may mean that the storm can sit over a particular area for days with unrelenting rainfall and winds.
If you’re tempted to pack away your hurricane kit, don’t do so just yet. Local officials and experts urge residents and businesses to remain prepared and vigilant into these months. In fact, September is National Preparedness Month. Family and community disaster planning are encouraged through this month to limit the impacts that an emergency event may have. Even if you believe you are ready, we have all learned in the face of the current pandemic to always expect the unexpected. Check your kit, review your plan, and talk to your friends and family. Do this every few weeks or so, to stay prepared for a hurricane or tropical storm in West Palm Beach. As experts in dealing with disasters and storm damage we can agree with the National Preparedness Month theme: “ Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.”
How Hurricane Isaias Affected South Florida Businesses
Much anticipation was felt in West Palm Beach during Hurricane Isaias. The storm was expected to hit Florida’s eastern edge with heavy rainfall and powerful winds. As with all storms and their potential to change direction, Isaias spared West Palm Beach from storm surges, power outages, flash floods, and property damage. Why did the storm slow down and how did Isaias affect South Florida businesses?
The change in speed and course of a hurricane can be explained by its size. Smaller storms can quickly weaken from changes in the surrounding environment as they contain less mass. Wind shear, dry air, and land interaction are all affecting factors. During Isaias, Southern United States was still feeling remnants of the Saharan Dust Cloud. Mixed with the dry Saharan air and upper-level wind shear the storm dragged over the Bahamas and missed most of Florida. Had Isaias occurred in September, which is the second month of peak season, West Palm Beach and surrounding areas could have faced a much bleaker outcome.
The realization that Isaias could have been extremely damaging has forced the local economy to re-examine their business plans. Prior to Isaias changing course, many businesses were still forced to close, challenging an already fragile local economy. This need to close doors for a few days and amidst a pandemic, shed light on the number of business owners who feel and may be extremely unprepared. With a few more months left of hurricane season, being unprepared is a risk many cannot afford to take.
In an annual hurricane survey, lack of proper insurance to protect against business interruption is a big problem many face. The inability to operate after a hurricane can quickly lead to a bill that many businesses cannot foot. Property damage especially is one of the costlier disruptions in business flow. Business interruption insurance can range from actual hurricane coverage to having a plan in place in the case of a disaster. As many as 50% of businesses close after suffering storm damage; this number does not account for those that have suffered economic impacts due to the pandemic.
The fact remains that there is a large chance that another tropical storm or hurricane will soon form and possibly hit South Florida. However, there is still time for business owners in West Palm Beach to prepare for a hurricane. Understanding your insurance policy, ensuring you have the proper coverage and having an emergency plan in place for your business can all abate the stress of a tropical storm or hurricane.
What to Know About Tropical Storms in West Palm Beach
June to November are the most active months for storms in Florida. During this time many tropical depressions form in the Atlantic, some dying out before they are able to make any strides. There are some depressions that do become tropical storms once its winds have sustained 39 MPH.
The speed of wind even at 39 MPH can still cause significant damage, though some people associate a tropical storm with less urgency and less threat than they would a hurricane. This is a mistaken belief and can be a costly one. Tropical storms can be extremely destructive reaching winds of 73 MPH. Once over 73 MPH, they become a Category 1 hurricane. The ability to quickly become a Hurricane should be daunting and push many people to prepare.
Hurricanes and tropical storms are both types of tropical cyclones. The difference is the level of intensity in each. While tropical storms do not have as intense of winds and flooding, they do produce a lot of rain and their winds are strong enough to carry debris. Homes and buildings can still be subjected to damage during a tropical storm, so taking precaution can be necessary.
- Know your zone and whether your area is susceptible to storm surge or flooding.
- Strengthen your home for potential impact. This includes securing doors, windows, or loose items like patio furniture.
- Prepare your emergency kit now rather than wait until the last minute. As we have seen in recent months, many residents may panic buy, limiting availability of certain supplies.
- Track the storm and stay updated on local news. Some Floridians may feel a certain “been there, done that” attitude when it comes to storm season but as we have noticed nothing is typically in 2020. Keeping up to date is vital in ensuring yours and your family’s safety.
Tropical Storm Isaias is making its way to Florida in the coming days. As the path in which the storm will travel is still widely unknown, as is the damage it can cause, understanding the characteristics of a tropical storm and prepping for what may come is vital.
Types of Roof Damage Caused By Storms in West Palm Beach
The roofs of West Palm Beach homes go through a lot of wear and tear throughout the year. Between unrelenting sun, high winds during a hurricane, and heavy rainfall almost every day during the summer, it comes as no surprise that roof damage is so common.
Tropical storms and hurricanes can cause multiple types of damage to a roof, including wind, hail and water damage.
Strong winds from a tropical storm or hurricane have the ability to remove shingles from a roof completely. Shingles can easily be completely removed or lifted, minimizing the protection a roof provides to the rest of a home. Strong winds can also carry large debris that upon impact can damage a roof’s integrity.
Hail can be unpredictable, varying in severity and occurring without warning.The size of hail is inconsistent, meaning damage can be menial or it can have some serious implications for a roof. After a hail storm, the holes created by hail on a roof can automatically be a problem, leading to other secondary damage. However, it is possible for holes or dings to go undetected, worsening with each storm that follows creating extensive damage. Following any hail, a roof inspection should be conducted to mitigate any potential damage.
Rain is the most common perpetrator of roofing issues. A damaged roof riddled with holes or missing shingles, is bound to experience a leak and subsequent water damage. Rotting, mold or a compromised foundation are all results of water damage. Signs of water damage from a leaking roof include spots on a ceiling, wet walls, or if areas in a home feel damp and humid.
Roof damage can often be blatant, like missing or worn shingles. Often though, roof damage can go undetected for some time if the proper care is not taken to inspect and protect a roof. It is important to be mindful of more than the roof’s shingle condition; look for missing flashing or loose sealant. If serious damage is found it is best to a call repair company. It is highly suggested to also call a mitigation services provider like SERVPRO of West Palm Beach once a roof has been repaired. A company like SERVPRO can assess the interior of a home for water damage caused by the roof.
Roofs can take a serious beating throughout the year; being proactive can mean the difference of a simple repair versus a total roof replacement.
Preparing for Hurricane Season in West Palm Beach During a Pandemic
As many in West Palm Beach are already aware of, this year’s hurricane season will be extremely active. Weather forecasters are calling the number of storms and activity above average, naming a total of 19. Five days into the 2020 storm season, this is highly evident as there has already been three tropical storms, Arthur, Bertha, and Cristobal.
Though the number of hurricanes still range from three to six, making preparations now is vital for West Palm Beach residents. Having an emergency plan this season will be different even for the most experienced of Floridians. As we are still facing a pandemic, hurricane preparations may be challenging, requiring additional planning and considerations.
Include Personal Safety Items in Your Supply Kit
Aside from typical supply and safety items that should be in your hurricane kit including batteries, non-perishables, flashlights, water and more , be sure to include items that can protect yourself and your family. This includes face coverings, hand sanitizers, and bar or liquid soap, for each person. The limited supplies and resources in some areas is the perfect example as to why preparing for a hurricane with ample time is imperative.
Have an Evacuation Plan that Fits Within Social Distancing Guidelines
Hurricanes force people to flee their homes, gathering closely in local shelters or hotels. Due to the current pandemic, doing so would not be abiding by CDC guidelines to maintain social distancing. Local officials are revising their response efforts to provide basic needs, including shelter, while keeping communities safe and healthy. In previous years residents can seek refuge in hotels, however, due to the economic effects of COVID-19, local hotels may not be available either. West Palm Beach residents should consider having an evacuation plan with multiple shelter options.
Planning to leave upon the first signs of a hurricane, regardless of category, may be a solution. If possible, check in with family members or friends not in the hurricane’s path, who are healthy, have been social distancing and are comfortable with your stay.
The pandemic and its future effects are still uncertain, unfortunately. The potential of a major hurricane this season is pretty clear however. There is no wrong or right time to prepare, though doing so way in advance of any storm may ease worry and ensures your family is set should a hurricane come our way.
What to Expect in the 2020 Storm Season
Though West Palm Beach is still dealing with difficult and uncertain times amid COVID-19, hurricane season is around the corner, meaning Floridians will need to begin preparations. The Atlantic hurricane season beings on June 1st and will last until November 30th. Many forecasts are predicting this season will be an “above average” year, having already named 16 storms. There is close to a 70% chance that at least one storm, will be a major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S.
The number of predicted storms, 8 predicted as hurricanes, should be a reason for many Floridians to begin preparing. Here are a few recommended steps:
- Begin purchasing needed supplies including non-perishable foods, candles, flashlights, batteries and water. Have enough supplies that will last yourself and your family at least two weeks, if not more.
- Make any necessary home improvements to safeguard your home. If there are any leaks or holes in your home’s foundation or roof, make sure these are patched before heavy rains. If hurricane shutters are what you use to protect your windows, have those readily available for when the time comes.
- Organize and clean your home and any storage spaces in the case that any patio furniture or items outside your home will need to be put away.
- Make and seal copies of any important documents. Store them in either your supply bin or to-go bags that your family has prepared.
- Most importantly, have an evacuation plan for your family. Be sure to have at least on bag per family member packed in case your area is evacuated with a plan as to where you will stay until it is safe to return.
Ahead of any potential major storm, always be sure to pay attention to your local news and follow local authorities warning. Keep your family safe and prepared this 2020 storm season.
If you are in need of further preparation tips and want to learn about SERVPRO of West Palm Beach’s ERP for your home or business, call us today.
Spring Cleaning for Hurricane Season
Spring is the perfect time to get your home cleaned and organized. For residents in West Palm Beach this also includes preparation for hurricane season as well. Here are a few tips to help get your home ready:
Manicure Your Lawn
Broken or damaged branches make for the perfect debris during a storm that has heavy winds. Prune any shrubbery and trees around your home, trimming any branches that can easily break during the next storm.
Check Your Roof
Hurricanes can be especially damaging to a home’s roof. To avoid the use of a tarp, inspect your roof for any missing tiles, cracks, or holes. Even small damage can be exacerbated during a storm; you will thank yourself for being proactive and repairing your roof before the summer season.
Organize Storage Areas
If you have a garage or storage shed, organizing these areas will make storing any outside patio furniture much easier. While making a checklist of all items that will need to be stored, inspect, repair and clean each item as needed. This will decrease the hassle of storing dirty or broken items that will need to be attended to after the storm.
Check Your Vents and Rain Gutters
Leaves, sticks, and other matter can make its way into your rain gutters, creating blockages for heavy rains. Clogs can lead to an overflow of rain, flooding the perimeter around your home. Remove any debris that may be building up in your gutter, while looking for any breaks or potential leaks. Check your vents for damage, missing screens, or any other issues as well.
Preparing for hurricane season before it hits will help in mitigating damage and hopefully keep your home from sustaining damage from heavy storms.
Types of Floods and Risks for West Palm Beach Homes
West Palm Beach’s proximity to the coast along with the inclement weather it often experiences makes it extremely susceptible to flooding. Florida’s naturally flat, swampy terrain does not produce any benefit during heavy storm seasons either. Due to the inevitability of some form of flooding it is important to know why it occurs and risks associated with it.
Types of Flooding in West Palm Beach
Storm surges can happen during a hurricane or a tropical storm. Surges form when storms push the ocean water to the shore and beyond, at times measuring from one to twenty feet and beyond. Residents in areas prone to storm surge usually have ample time and warning to evacuate these areas. This event is a huge threat to your property as it can cause large areas to flood. It is also extremely risky to remain in an area that is being affected as drowning and other injuries from the force and amount of water is possible.
Inland flooding occurs when heavy rains pour over one area for hours or days at a time; the amount of time that it takes to flood really depends on how heavy the storm be. Often, gutter and sewer systems become inundated with the amount of water they are processing adding to the flood. Debris from the storm may cause blockages in these same systems lessening the amount of water that is filtering through. This kind of flooding can create severe damage to your property, usually infiltrating homes and affecting building materials. Walking or driving through a flood is not advised as hazards like down electric wires, sewage, wildlife or loss of control of a vehicle can occur.
Be Prepared for Any Flood
Doing your best to protect your home is still encouraged; even if flooding is not expected, you can mitigate as much damage as possible in the case it does happen. Install flood protection materials like sandbags or tarps. Add waterproof veneer or building materials to your home’s exterior. Be sure to raise and waterproof, if possible, any electrical equipment, including your HVAC system. Taking these small steps will make a big difference following the storm as there is no telling how long the water will remain and once gone how quickly your home can be dried out.
Every year storms are becoming bigger and stronger, bringing higher amounts of precipitation and more damage for homeowners. Most weather systems can track the amount of rain and possibility of flooding before it happens, giving homeowners time to prepare. Aside from having adequate insurance coverage, West Palm Beach residents are encouraged to know the types of floods, the facts, and the risks to protect their home and families before any event.
Tips to Prevent Storm Damage in West Palm Beach
Storms are inevitable, no matter the time of year or season. Storms are also unpredictable and there can be many types of storms. Minimizing risk of damage to your home requires work and preparation. Here are some tips on readying your home In West Palm Beach for storm season.
Clear Any Areas of Drainage
Gutters on your roof collect a lot of debris, including dirt, leaves, and branches. Over time these items can create serious blockages. While water from a small storm might pass through without any incident, major hurricanes can overload your gutter system with more water than it can hold or drain, if blockages are present.
Your home’s landscape may have areas that can block drain systems or flood easily. Consider the placement of grass, the material your driveway and sidewalks are made of, and if your home is on an incline or virtually flat. Landscaping or restoration professionals can both help assess problem areas that may affect your home in the future.
Secure Loose Items
Exterior design can be important to many homeowners, especially since many sunny Florida days are spent outside. Patio furniture is made to endure the harsh storm damage of West Palm Beach, though it is not always made to stay in one place during heavy winds. Finding a way to secure your patio furniture and other décor so they are not likely to move during a rough storm is important. Lugging furniture and décor inside your house before every storm is not ideal or realistic. Look for ways to anchor your furniture or choose quality, heavily weighted items.
Loose items also cover unstable branches, trees, or other shrubbery. Regularly trimming your trees and disposing of any branches or leaves, greatly decreases the possibility of drain blockages or even broken windows.
Purchase Impact Windows
Hurricane proof, impact windows are becoming increasingly popular and attainable for homes. Purchasing these specialty windows are an investment for your home and safety. Some home insurers may be inclined to lower your insurance costs if your home is equipped with these windows. Impact windows negate the need to struggle with putting shutters up. These windows make it near impossible for any flying debris or items to break your window, providing extra security during a storm
Routinely Inspect Your Home
At least bi-annually your home should be inspected. This means surveying the infrastructure for any holes, leaks, or breaks. Inspections can mitigate any bigger, costly problems. Hire a company or make your own checklist and set a date.
Keeping your home ready for anything that comes it’s way can take a lot of pressure and anxiety off of a homeowner. For more tips on preventing storm damage in West Palm Beach, call us today!
Categories of Hurricanes and the Damage They Cause
No matter the category of a hurricane, taking the warnings seriously and preparing your home is important to mitigate future storm damage.
Floridians are no stranger to all manner of storms. This fact makes the threat of a storm less worrisome for seasoned Palm Beach residents. In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, many residents do not always stir any fear or doubts of their safety. This is because we have weathered many storms before and understand their unpredictability. While this hunker down mentality is understandable it is not entirely applauded.
Even at a category 1, the winds from a hurricane can cause indirect damage to a home. Let's break down the types of wind and their associated damage for major storms.
Category 1 & 2
Category 1 produces 74-95 MPH winds. Category 2 winds are up 110 MPH. While these storms are considered less threatening there is still a huge potential of damage to roofs, gutters, and porches. Well-constructed homes are able to sustain these winds without major damage to their foundation; however, it is indirect damage this is possible. Flying debris, fallen trees, or down power lines can cause a ripple effect of damage.
Winds of up to 129 MPH classifies storms in this category as major storms. In this storm even well-built homes still have damage occur to their roof and windows. Other storm effects include numerous fallen trees blocking roads, flying debris will be larger, and power lines or water may be unavailable for weeks.
Category 4 winds are up to 156 MPH. These winds are so strong that is unlikely older homes will survive without serious structural damage. Buildings and homes that are newly built and up to code have a better chance at undergoing these wind forces though there is still possibility of serious damage.
This is the worst winds can get. These storms are catastrophic, seeing winds of 157 MPH or more. This hurricane knows no bounds and storms at this category have known to completely destroy homes and buildings. Many areas after going through this strong of a storm are demolished with buildings almost flattened or bare bones left of their foundations.
Regardless the category or the winds accompanying it, it is important to take any storm seriously and be prepared. Damage can happen from more than just winds; flooding is imminent in some areas as hurricanes bring heavy rains. In the event of a hurricane be sure to keep you and your family safe, taking all warnings seriously until the storm has passed.
Power Outages in Palm Beach County
Power outages are more common than many residents and business owners like to believe. Though we live in the 21stcentury where technology and infrastructure are advanced, power loss is still very prevalent. In fact, there are a few different types of power outages that can occur.
Likely to be the most familiar term, this form of power outage usually covers a vast area of total power loss. The duration of this outage can vary from a few minutes to even weeks.
Brownouts are not as severe in power loss as a blackout can be. A drop in voltage is what characterizes a brownout, with power usually quickly returning.
- Permanent Fault
These outages are caused by a fault in power line, like a shorted circuit. Permanent faults are far more detrimental in power loss than blackouts are, as power is unable to return until the fault is cleared.
- Intentional Power Outage
These outages are scheduled by power companies and vendors alike when they are working on or near power lines. To ensure the safety of their employees and surrounding area, power is temporarily disabled for a short period of time.
The possibilities of any of these power outages increase during Florida’s storm season.
Falling tree limbs, flying debris, or lightning can all lead to power loss. Due to the frequency of storms in Palm Beach County and the unpredictability of their severity, it is important to know the course of action to take when faced with power loss.
1. Inventory the items that absolutely call for a power source
Medical devices, appliances or other necessities powered by electricity may require you to keep a generator on hand. If you must use a generator be sure to do so at a safe distance from your house and those surrounding you.
2. Unplug appliances that are not needed and keep them close
During long periods of power loss there may be electrical surges that can harm your appliance. Keeping appliances closed is as important to avoiding damage as it is unplugging them. Power loss in the Florida heat can tempt anyone to grab cold items from the fridge or even bask in the cold air the freezer can provide. Not giving in to this temptation means saving yourself from spoiled goods later on.
3. Conserve energy and gas
Aside from checking for local updates and alerts on power restoration, conserve your phone’s battery. This goes for gas as well. Saving on your car’s gas will help in the case there is an emergency that requires you to evacuate to a safer area.
If your home or business experiences more damage than just a power outage after a storm, call SERVPRO of West Palm Beach.
The Most Hurricane Prone Cities in Palm Beach County
As it has been for the last few active hurricane seasons, there has been one hurricane that has been absolutely catastrophic to the areas it has hit. This year in 2019, Hurricane Dorian left many parts in the Bahamas, The Hurricane Capital of the World, devastated unfortunately. Dorian also had its course set to hit Florida as well. Due to the unpredictability of hurricanes, Dorian narrowly missed Florida, bringing only heavy rain and winds.
While Dorian long gone up the coast, hurricane season is still obviously here and Florida is not out of the clear. In fact, Florida has 8 of the 10 most vulnerable cities to hurricanes. The list includes many cities right here in Palm Beach County:
- Cape Hattaras, NC
- Delray Beach, FL
- Hollywood, FL
- Deerfield Beach, FL
- Boca Raton, FL
- Florida City, FL
- Grand Isle, LA
- Pierce, FL
- Miami, FL
- Lauderdale, FL
There are currently four systems in the Atlantic Ocean with Tropical Storm Humberto, the closest one aiming for Florida and the Bahamas. The other few systems are still in the premature stages of tropical depressions or storms.
Although it is too early to tell their impact or size, we are in the peak of season and within short distance of the most vulnerable, hurricane prone cities, it is important to remain prepared.
Having a solid plan in place for your family and home is necessary, whether you ride out the storm or evacuate. All too often many the residents that let their guard down, confident the storm will not hit them, experience more damage than they originally would have with a plan. Boarding up your home with shutters, stocking up on food and water, having sources of light or energy, are all precautions that must remain for the next two months.
During the storm season, here at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, we make sure to remain current on occurrences, hurricane or otherwise. It is important for our families, our community, and our business to remain alert and prepared.
Call our team today to discuss how SERVPRO of West Palm Beach can help you before and after the storms.
Will Florida See Any Hurricanes in 2019?
Will There Be Any Hurricanes in 2019?
The beginning of the 2019 hurricane season was quiet for the Atlantic Ocean. Many Palm Beach County residents question if we’re in the clear for the remainder of 2019, with no more to worry about than heavy afternoon rains? While this season has been tamer than most, August to September is actually the most active time for hurricanes. In fact, there are three storm systems in the Atlantic right now. While these systems are not posing an imminent threat to Florida, there is a chance that they can develop into tropical depressions or low-end hurricanes.
Even if the systems lingering off the east coast bring serious rains and winds, the question still remains as to where all the storms have been. Talk of climate change affecting hurricane season has been centered around the notion that we should expect quicker forming and more frequent hurricanes. 2019’s season has been quite the opposite of what was expected especially when looking back on the destructive season’s in 2018 and 2017.
2019’s low activity can be attributed to winds and dust stemming from the Sahara desert in Africa. Moisture and warm sea temperatures are what hurricanes thrive on. As dry air and dust begin to diminish over the next few weeks, systems formed in the Atlantic will no longer be inhibited.
Before breathing a sigh of relief just yet, Florida residents should remain prepared through to October at the very least. At SERVPRO of West Palm Beach we always suggest our customers keep their Emergency Ready Plan, or ERP, up-to-date and handy in the case that they will need it for their home or business. When the storms do hit, an ERP provides organization for customers amidst the chaos of a hurricane. Our crew is also available after a hurricane in the case that your home endures any storm damage. Our equipment and technology work to clean, mitigate future damage, and restore your home or business.
Call our team today to ask about SERVPRO’s ERP and how to stay prepared during the remainder of this hurricane season, 561-795-5410.
Different Types of Storms and Damage
Much like this roof damaged by a hurricane, storms can cause an array of damage both major and minor.
At SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, we’re somewhat of self-proclaimed storm chasers. At the first news of any storm, our crew is closely watching the storm's formation or path and is prepared the second it causes any destruction. In Florida, thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tropical storms are the most common types of storms to occur. For the rest of the United States, there are many more and many different kinds of storms.
Mid-day thunderstorms are ever-present during the summer months in Florida. Typical thunderstorms come with thundering clouds or lightening, high winds and adequate rain. The amount of rain that accompanies these storms is not usually enough to stir concern. However, lower lying areas that flood easily, can incur damage to properties or homes should there be an opportunity for water to seep in.
South Florida is also quite experienced in enduring hurricanes. Hurricanes stem from tropical cyclones with winds reaching over 74 MPH. Storm surges and flooding from heavy rainfall are attributes of a hurricane. These storms making landfall can be as destructive as tornadoes, though usually landfall helps to slow hurricanes down as they feed on low pressure systems over the open waters.
- Tropical Storms
Tropical Storms are the predecessor to hurricanes, seeing winds of 39 to 74 mph. These storms are slightly more dangerous and damaging than a common thunderstorm due to the faster winds and heavier precipitation.
- Ice Storms and Blizzards
In sunny Florida, ice or snow are not a part of the state’s seasonal changes. The exception to this is for the rare occasion Northern Florida sees small flurries or thin layers of ice on particularly cold mornings. For the rest of the East coast, especially in the Northeast, snow storms most certainly follow changing seasons. During the coldest points of winter, many states see inches to feet of snow, causing guttural and roofing damage to their homes.
- Hail Storms
From flying debris or potential flooding Floridians have a lot to deal with when protecting their property during a thunderstorm. Thankfully hail is not on that list. Hail storms form when updrafts during a thunderstorm are strong enough to carry water droplets high enough in which they’ll freeze. Once these droplets become frozen, the process then turns it into hail as numerous water droplets are added onto the one frozen droplet.
No matter the type of storm, when disaster hits South Florida, SERVPRO of West Palm Beach is there to make sure your home or business is back to preloss condition.
What to Expect of the 2019 Hurricane Season
2018 saw a higher than average hurricane season with two devastating hurricanes, Florence and Michael. Both hurricanes caused havoc on the Southern coastal states, causing $25 billion in debt individually. Hurricane Michael’s wind force hit Florida with winds of 155 MPH. This Category 4 hurricane was expected to hit the coast with immense strength and vast destruction, while Florence was not predicted to cause the amount of havoc it did. Florence’s inches of rain caused widespread flooding, leaving hundreds of residents with damaged homes or businesses. The aftermath of Michael and Florence is still very prevalent in many communities across the Southeast.
Similar to last year, this year’s hurricane season is anticipated to bring at least twelve storms, three being major hurricanes. While this season is being claimed as a near normal season, there is no telling the potential categories of each storm. Since the patterns and predictions of the hurricane season are based on the conditions of El Nino, and we are still fairly early into the year, the temper of the season has the ability to drastically change.
With the effects of 2018 still lingering as well as the category and number of storms we will face, weather forecasters and residents alike are preparing themselves for the busy 2019 season. Hurricane season officially starts in June, ending in November. Use SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Plan link or create a plan for your home or business now. Scientists are claiming for many people to expect quicker forming hurricanes in the coming years due to climate change. A solidified plan, especially for those in the areas that are most heavily impacted, allows for the hypothetical situation that there is less time to prepare for onset storms. When creating a plan, keep in mind the events that accompany storms, like flooding, tornadoes, or power outages. Even if your plan is to evacuate in the instance of a hurricane, your home or business will still need protection. Knowing your area and anticipating any of these effects allows you to incorporate any additional contingency plans or resources you may need.
In West Palm Beach, hurricanes are not a new phenomenon and can have devastating affects for many businesses and homes. SERVPRO of West Palm Beach urges our customers to make arrangements and plan prior to the start of storm season. Contact us today or visit our site for more tips on staying prepared.
History of Worst Hurricanes and Storm Damage in Palm Beach County
Storm Damage in Palm Beach County
Florida residents have experienced tornadoes, flooding, tropical storms and hurricanes with more storms hitting the state than any other. As all of Florida, especially South Florida has been affected by a hurricane or major storm, no area is immune to storm damage.
Some Floridians have experienced a storm shutter or two missing, even storm water flooding their homes. With each hurricane season, comes an array of surprises, some worse than others. Let’s take a look at some of the worst hurricanes and the damage they have caused over the years.
1928: Okeechobee Hurricane
This hurricane was one of the most devastating hurricanes recorded for Palm Beach. This storm made landfall with winds of up to 145 mph, destroying over one thousand homes. Many people were affected greatly by this storm, sadly losing their lives, along with millions of dollars in structural damage.
This hurricane, subsequent to the Miami Hurricane of 1926, proved to officials that buildings that were properly built and secured remained intact while those not made of steel or concrete were severely damaged. While the aftermath of Okeechobee Hurricane or the San Felipe Segundo Hurricane was vast and costly, it did bring a positive effect on building codes.
1947: Fort Lauderdale Hurricane
1947 brought two major hurricanes and various tropical storms causing significant devastation. In September 1947, a Category 4 Hurricane caused storm surge of up to 22 feet near Lake Okeechobee and 11 feet by Palm Beach and Boynton Beach. Many houses and buildings on the east coast were hit hard by waves and flooding, forcing many residents to flee their homes or seek higher ground. Structures abiding by improved codes fared well, while other older buildings were impacted with no hope of rebuilding.
One of the final hurricanes for that season, dropped inches of rain on South Florida, causing major flooding in the Miami-Dade county. This hurricane was one of the first that experienced government involvement, with attempts to drop dry ice to weaken the storm. These attempts were unsuccessful. The flooding from this hurricane was the worst recorded in South Florida so far with over eight feet of water in some areas and many houses nearly submerged.
1979: Hurricane David
Hurricane David was one of the next major hurricanes after about 20 years of relatively quiet seasons. Following the losses in the 1940s, David hit Florida as a Category 1 hurricane, bringing only two to four feet of storm surge along with it. Damages from this hurricane were minimal, with crop damage accounting for the majority of millions Palm Beach County lost. Even so, some resident’s failed to prepare, allowing blown in windows and torn roofs.
1999: Hurricane Irene
Hurricane Irene was one of the first hurricanes to remind South Florida residents of the 1940s. Rain of over 17 inches generating over $600 million in flooding and agricultural damage. Four tornadoes tore their way through Broward and Palm Beach County producing more damage and casualties.
2005: Hurricane Wilma
Hurricane Wilma was one of the strongest hurricanes seen so far, resulting in over 6 million Floridians without power, even though it hit Palm Beach County as a Category 2 hurricane. Lights and power lines scattered the streets, roofs were torn off and a mandated curfew of 9 p.m was put into place as the amassed $20.6 billion destruction of Wilma plagued South Florida.
2017: Hurricane Irma
After years of quieter hurricane seasons, sprinkled with a few tropical storms in between, Florida experienced Hurricane Irma. Prior to Irma, a Category 4 hurricane, Hurricane Hermine had made landfall the year prior causing river swelling. Irma proved to be a much stronger storm in terms of windspeed and pressure. Irma left behind over $50 billion in damage, higher than that of Wilma. Over 6.5 million Floridians were ordered to evacuate and the state saw just that exact record-breaking number of evacuees. Many homes and business were damages with more than 24,00 homes experiencing some form of damage.
No matter the expected intensity of an upcoming hurricane season, it is imperative that Palm Beach County residents prepare themselves for worst-case scenarios. Always ensure your home or business has a contingency plan for before and after a storm.
If your home experiences storm damage inflicted by a major hurricane or tropical storm, be sure to call the professionals of SERVPRO of West Palm Beach to help with any flooding, leaks, water or mold damage.
What Storm Season Means in Palm Beach, FL
Many Florida natives understand the preparation necessary when storm season begins. Certain areas within the state are accustomed to higher impact and destruction while some areas tend to be less vulnerable. South Florida, however, is usually right in the path of destruction receiving the brunt of the storm's strength. So, what does this mean for Palm Beach residents during storm season?
Palm Beach is located on the coast with some parts considered "barrier islands". This leaves Palm Beach extremely susceptible to natural disasters and damage. Coastal communities face larger threats than those inland. Due to Florida's already lowered elevation (345 feet above sea level), storm surge, accompanied by flooding, is an ever looming threat. Storm surge is a push of water inland from the sea. Mixed with the winds and rain of a hurricane, storm surge threatens loss of life and expensive loss to properties and homes.
Even with insurance, homeowners in Palm Beach should still take heed to all warnings and anticipate for worst case scenario. This includes safeguarding the home and property against storm surge, flooding, flying objects, debris, power outages and more. Accepting the reality of natural disasters and the destruction they bring, will be the difference in preparation and the aftermath damage.
On a more positive note the town of Palm Beach along with county associations, are taking bigger steps toward proactivity. The Civic Association of Palm Beach has decided to use past storm learnings as an opportunity toward improved emergency management planning.
During Hurricane Irma, much of Palm Beach County's traffic system was out of operation, causing delays, traffic accidents, and road rage. To increase readiness, traffic light inspections have increased and additional generators are purchased. Better review of staff assignment, re-entry to Palm Beach Island, and timelier damage assessments have also been enforced.
Officials and residents alike are aware of the coastal town's vulnerability and the necessary preparations. Pre-planning before the storm following adaptation during the aftermath are key to quicker, efficient storm recovery in Palm Beach.
Hurricane Michael's Impact on Residential Homes
The 2018 hurricane season predicted nine to thirteen storms and forecasted at least two major hurricanes. The southeast has seen just what was predicted. Two major hurricanes have torn their way through the South Eastern states, amassing thousands of dollars in damage and leaving many property owners as well as residents with a sense of despair.
Hurricane Florence, the first of two major hurricanes, began in September as a Tropical Storm. This particular storm had homeowners and residents unsure of it's path and strength. Florence went from a tropical storm to a Category 4 then back down to a tropical storm within a few days. September 10th 2018 was when Florence upgraded to a major hurricane. Aside from power outages and blocked roads, Florence left behind in it's path flooded homes, water damage, overflowing sewers and gutters.
Hurricane Michael began as a tropical storm as well, in early October. Michael's ascent from tropical storm to a major Category 4 hurricane, took much less time than Florence did. This hurricane has been dubbed as the third-most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the United States in terms of pressure. Hurricane Micahel's wind and storm surge left all within it's wake virtually destroyed. Many homes incurred roof and structural damage. Many more homes were in areas that flood causing a multitude of water damage to their homes. The fear of flooding, stagnant water with the potential to cause airborne and waterborne diseases for residents was a cause for concern also. Many homes were left without electricity, and cut off contact.
Hurricanes are an unfortunate natural disaster that affects the Southern East Coast year after year. The SERVPRO of West Palm Beach family has their thoughts and positivity with all of those affected by the storms. In times such as these, it takes more than just the professionals to help restore a home or building; it takes a community and every helping hand.
When Hurricane Season Ends and How to Continue to Stay Prepared for Hurricanes
The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1st until November 30th. While, the East Coast has had a particularly quiet season so far, West Palm Beach residents should not let their guard down just yet.
Hurricanes can be the most violent and damaging storms. For Palm Beach residents, hurricanes can cause water damage, including flooding and mold, and hurricane wind damage to homes.
With two months left of the 2018 Hurricane Season, Palm Beach county homeowners should remain hurricane ready as the effects of hurricanes can cause serious damage. At SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, we always provide our customers with tips we follow ourselves to prepare their home and families.
Tips for Hurricane Safety and Emergency Plans
- Have an evacuation plan for you and your family. Depending on where your home is located in Palm Beach, you may be in an evacuation zone and staying home may not be an option. Knowing where the appropriate hurricane evacuation routes in Palm Beach County and hurricane shelters in Palm Beach County are, is vital to your safety.
- Prepare your home to prevent as much storm damage as possible. Trimming trees on your property, clearing any rain gutters and placing hurricane shutters can help in safeguarding your home from hurricane damage.
- Prepare hurricane emergency kits for each family member. These kits can include:
- A gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
- A three-day supply of non-perishable food
- A battery-powered radio
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- A first aid kit and needed medicine
- Sanitary items
- Cellphone chargers
- Any important documents
- Keep a list of important numbers to call after the storm. These numbers can include your local power company to report any outages or fallen wires, emergency services, or local goods stores.
Assessing your home after a hurricane is just as important as preparing it for one. Any hurricane damage may affect the safety of your home and your loved ones. Rely on a professional company like SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, to help assess any water damage or flooding, mold, or fire after a natural disaster.
Call the professionals at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach at (561) 795-5410 if you experience hurricane damages this hurricane season.
National Safety Month Week One: Emergency Preparedness (Keeping Your Palm Beach County Home Or Workplace Safe In The Case Of A Tornado)
Spring is a highly active season for tornadoes in the USA. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tornadoes were responsible for 70 annual deaths from 1987-2016. 1,200 tornadoes make landfall in the USA each year. That's a whole lot of rain and hail. So how can you be prepared for a tornado in Palm Beach County?
Make A Plan
For any type of emergency, it's a smart idea to have a plan ready to help with any injuries, fatalities or any damage to properties if a tornado where to make landfall near you. OSHA makes it a requirement for most employers with 11 employees or more to be ready with a written and easy to understand emergency plan. If an employer has 10 or less employees, they are allowed to go over their plans orally with employees.
A director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's individual and Community Preparedness Division, Charlotte Hyams says employers should:
"Pay attention to local weather via media reports, notifications from weather apps or emergency apps such as the FEMA app, and/or a NOAA weather radio." Keep employees informed about weather conditions. Methods include text messages, emails or announcements over an intercom or loudspeaker. “A community’s outdoor warning sirens should never be your primary warning method,” said Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Norman (OK) Forecast Office. “Don’t rely on just one source for warnings.”
Develop a backup communication system in case the primary one fails, and test both systems regularly.
Make sure employees know where to seek shelter and assemble after a tornado passes. “That way, there can be people to take a head count and make sure everyone is accounted for,” Hyams Porter said.
Conduct regularly scheduled tornado drills. “It’s something that should be done on a routine basis. It’s not just a one-time-of-year type of drill,” Hyams Porter said.
Listen & Look
The most obvious sign there is a tornado nearby is the sudden appearance of a funnel. Other signs are:
Green/dark clouds or sky
Wall clouds appearing
Sudden and intense rotation around clouds
Persistent and strong rotation in the cloud base
Strong rain and hail followed by quick moving and strong wind shifts or a "dead calm"
A "train like" sound that doesn't go away
Floating debris by nearby grounds and just underneath clouds
Postpone travel if necessary, move to a sturdy building nearby if possible (bridges and overpasses are not good shelters: traffic can get congested making it hard for emergency vehicles to get through and debris can fly right through.), closets or restrooms are good hiding areas (a windowless room in the center of a buiilding). Covering your head with your arms and crouching face down is also a good idea.
Once the tornado passes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises the following:
Check workers for injuries. Don’t move anyone who is seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Instead, seek medical assistance right away. Begin CPR (if trained) on anyone who has stopped breathing.
Check apps and other sources for additional emergency weather information.
Proceed with caution through damaged areas, and watch out for hazards. Wear proper personal protective equipment when handling debris.
Cooperate with emergency personnel.
Part of an organization’s emergency plan should include how an employer plans to communicate with its employees after a tornado, Hyams Porter said.
“The better prepared the businesses are, the better prepared the employees are, and the higher their chances of surviving,” she said.
How Do Hurricanes Form?
How do hurricanes form?
Hurricanes are the most violent storms on Earth. People call these storms by other names, such as typhoons or cyclones, depending on where they occur. The scientific term for all these storms is tropical cyclone. Only tropical cyclones that form over the Atlantic Ocean or eastern Pacific Ocean are called "hurricanes."
Whatever they are called, tropical cyclones all form the same way. Tropical cyclones are like giant engines that use warm, moist air as fuel. That is why they form only over warm ocean waters near the equator. The warm, moist air over the ocean rises upward from near the surface. Because this air moves up and away from the surface, there is less air left near the surface. Another way to say the same thing is that the warm air rises, causing an area of lower air pressure below.
Storms that form north of the equator spin counterclockwise. Storms south of the equator spin clockwise. This difference is because of Earth's rotation on its axis. As the storm system rotates faster and faster, an eye forms in the center. It is very calm and clear in the eye, with very low air pressure. Higher pressure air from above flows down into the eye.
When the winds in the rotating storm reach 39 mph, the storm is called a "tropical storm." And when the wind speeds reach 74 mph, the storm is officially a "tropical cyclone," or hurricane. Tropical cyclones usually weaken when they hit land, because they are no longer being "fed" by the energy from the warm ocean waters. However, they often move far inland, dumping many inches of rain and causing lots of wind damage before they die out completely.
Tropical cyclone categories:
Category Wind Speed (mph) Damage at Landfall Storm Surge (feet)
1 74-95 Minimal 4-5
2 96-110 Moderate 6-8
3 111-129 Extensive 9-12
4 130-156 Extreme 13-18
5 157 or higher Catastrophic 19+
Satellites, built by NASA and operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), save lives by helping weather forecasters predict and warn people where and when these severe storms will hit land.
Call the professionals at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach at (561) 795-5410 if you experience hurricane damages this hurricane season. We're always here to help you make any disaster "Like it never even happened."
How To Make Sure Your Home's Roof Is Safe After A Storm in West Palm Beach
Checking your roof and ceiling can save you time and money. SERVPRO uses certain equipment to properly asses your home.
Hurricane seasons can been record breakers in their amount of intensity and property damage. However, homes in a storm tracks may not be the only ones who need a professional's attention. Catastrophic winds and flying debris have been known to take a toll on roofs all over the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast. Home and property owners should always be arranging for post-storm inspections whenever a storm passes by. This ensures that contractors like SERVPRO can provide any necessary repairs before the difficulties of seasonal changes begin.
Inside: If you have an attic and can get to it, start there during daylight.
- If you see any sunlight peeking through holes in the plywood, that's a good indicator of roof damage, which in turn could already have water accumulated.
- If you can't find any visible holes use a flashlight to find any dark stains or sagging, this could also mean moisture is present and in turn need attention.
Outside: By walking around the perimeter of your house you should be able to see most of your roof and inspect for the following problems that can cause water damage:
- Shingles that are missing
- Any deformed shingles that are cracked, bent, etc.
- Dark patches of shingles. These shingles could dry out over time and lead to water leaks.
- Debris. Something as simple as a tree branch can cause damage over time if not removed right away. It could also be hiding a hole in your roof.
If you find damage: Call a local, reputable roofing contractor right away and then contact SERVPRO of West Palm Beach at (561) 795-5410 to help with water damage.
The sooner you address any hurricane-season damage, the more secure your roof and home will be for the upcoming months.
Flood Damage Restoration Services Available For Residents In Palm Beach
SERVPRO has the equipment your home needs after a flood to help dry out any remaining water and get to work on restoration.
SERVPRO Can Help with Swift Water Removal Post Flooding to Mitigate Damages
Believe it or not, flooding can occur anywhere, anytime, not just in Palm Beach. Sure, we have more of a chance during hurricane season, where natural disasters can play a considerable role. However, it is far more likely to have a flood caused by a faulty appliance or broken pipe year round.
Whether you are facing fresh, or salt-water flood damage in your Palm Beach area home, there is help nearby to get you back on your feet quickly. With 24-hr emergency response teams available at a moments notice, we can have your situation handled far sooner than you might think possible.
SERVPRO provides you with fully certified IICRC technicians who understand how water affects various contents found in your home. We use services specifically designed to adjust to your unique situation, providing you with flood damage mitigation, some repairs, and full restoration solutions to any problem you may be facing.
If you have relevant documents, electronics, or a valuable art collection, SERVPRO's expert services can help. Our document restoration services stop damage in its tracks, helping you secure insurance paperwork, books, photos, artwork and more. We handle each item with care, providing only those restoration services that you approve. If valuable artwork or document restoration is beyond our scope of service, we can typically offer suggests from known, reliable companies.
As with most modern homes, you may have a variety of electronic devices such as DVD players, stereos, televisions, computers, laptops, tablets and a variety of countertop kitchen appliances. SERVPRO can help prevent additional damage and reduce many losses that often occur as a result of flood damage in your home.
We are a team of local flood damage and restoration professionals who carefully provide local members of our community with services they can count on to restore their homes the right way. Calling our office gives you access to restoration experts who do everything possible to provide you with quality, professional services; we want to help you find a solution.
Contact SERVPRO of West Palm Beach for professional cleanup and restoration services anytime, day or night. We are here to help you when you need help the most. (561) 795-5410
For information on coastal protection click right here.
Consider A Pre-Move Back Inspection Before Returning to Your Hurricane Irma Damaged Seasonal Home in West Palm Beach
Call on SERVPRO for Hurricane Help for Storm Damage Cleanup
While you were enjoying the final weeks of summer with family and friends north of your dream home in Southwest Florida, your beloved ocean view condo or lakeside estate was right in the path of Hurricane Irma. The high winds, rain, and storm surge may have taken a significant toll on your winter getaway. Without knowing if or how badly your vacation home was affected by Irma it is impossible for you and your family to look forward to another season in the sun.
The extreme weather pattern that defines a hurricane threatens West Palm Beach area houses, townhomes, and condos purchased by residents of cold weather states as winter retreats. You and your family richly anticipate the time you spend in the warmth and the sun now that you added a Florida retreat to your lifestyle. That joy is now tarnished by your fear that your hard-earned vacation home has been harmed by the force that was Hurricane Irma.
Winds exceeding 100 miles per hour can devastate roofs, exteriors, doors, and windows. SERVPRO tip: even less noticeable damage can allow rainwater and storm surge to invade your retirement refuge. Perhaps you have been in contact with neighbors or building managers and have been assured everything looks good on your property. You still need to take the possibility that rainwater may have made it into your Florida winter home seriously.
Relatively small quantities of water can cause significant damage, especially as you were not at your SW Florida home when the storm hit to ensure the water was removed and the structure dried. Your lifestyle allows you the freedom to enjoy more than one area of the country over the course of the year, but you do have to plan for some surprises when you move from one home to the other. If Irma’s winds and rains forced their way into your home primary and secondary water damage may challenge a happy homecoming.
Before you pack up for the seasonal move to Florida, SERVPRO advises you to consider making a quick pre-trip to preview how well your dwelling kept the winds and waters at bay. Another idea may be to reserve a room at a local hotel, so you have a fall-back position if you discover when you arrive that Irma and her rain-laden winds caused some damage to your house.
If Hurricane Irma caused water damage to your Florida winter property, contact SERVPRO of West Palm Beach for help. The quicker our company begins its recovery efforts, the sooner you return to your home enjoying the warmth and beautiful weather winter in Florida brings. (561) 795-5410
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What to Do In Your West Palm Beach Home After Flood Damage From a Hurricane
After the storm passes in West Palm Beach, SERVPRO will be there to help with any storm damage needs. Just look for the green van!
Be Prepared and Proactive--Then Call SERVPRO After the Tropical Storm Passes
In the aftermath of a hurricane, transportation infrastructure can be unusable, or restoration companies like SERVPRO may be otherwise incapacitated by the storm. Although we work quickly to get our services back online to help those in need, you should still be prepared to deal with the initial effects of flood damage to your West Palm Beach home on your own for the time being. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help mitigate damage and make our work more effective overall.
Air Out the Home
If the storm has passed and further rain seems unlikely, you may be able to help reduce flood damage in your West Palm Beach home by opening windows and doors. So long as no additional moisture can get in, opening your home to the outdoors allows for increased aeration, higher temperatures, and balanced humidity to start drying your home faster. If more rain approaches, however, you should close these portals back up to prevent excess moisture from reaching the interior.
Inventory Your Belongings
Take a few hours to catalog your belongings to find out what is missing, what has been destroyed, and what has been damaged. While SERVPRO offers a professional inventory service, understanding the scope of your loss in the immediate aftermath of disaster carries practical benefits both for your insurance provider and us. Hopefully, you photographed on your smartphone your structure and property, both inside and out.
Place Barriers Underneath Furniture
If there is no standing water in the home, you can help your furniture by placing each piece atop a set of blocks or other barriers between it and the floor. Your floor is probably soaked, and this water can work its way up into vulnerable furniture pieces. Elevate your furniture to increase aeration around it and prevent more water from soaking in.
SERVPRO of West Palm Beach is ready after every major hurricane to provide help to local homeowners in need. If your home flooded in the storm, call us at (561) 795-5410.
Surviving Storm Damage In West Palm Beach
This home's floors and baseboards suffered water damage after a severe storm flooded the home. Complete removal of the flooring materials was needed.
How to Survive West Palm Beach Storm Damage
When heavy weather rolls through the Atlantic shores of south central Florida, homeowners scramble to find the best storm damage restoration options “near me.” Severe seasonal storms overwhelm with water and wind damage that seems irreparable. Before you give in to despair, contact SERVPRO and find a partner to bring your home back to preloss condition.
The high-velocity winds tear apart housing structures, permitting damaging water to pour inside when storm damage devastates West Palm Beach homes. Extensive damage is a problem affecting whole neighborhoods in the path of the storm, adding to your post-storm anxiety. Will your home’s issues be resolved quickly? How long will it take to have your damage assessed? The commitment we have to our local customers is possible only because we are part of a larger, nationwide network of experienced and well-equipped restoration specialists.
Our SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Teams handle any size devastation, including the storm damage to your seaside home. We prepare for the unexpected, knowing that our area often faces catastrophic natural forces. Within hours after you contact our local dispatchers, a project manager arrives to assess your particular damage issues. We move swiftly to secure your home from further damage from the elements.
Water damage has the potential to destroy the integrity of your home, so we move fast to plan for water removal and repair. Saturated walls, ceilings, floors, and contents move quickly from a water removal problem to a more severe contamination crisis if we delay the response. Expect help to arrive within the crucial first 48 hours as we react to avoid secondary damage such as mold growth. We leverage teams of technicians and fleets of equipment from other SERVPROs to meet your and your community’s needs in the hours and days after the storm.
The initial priority is to remove the water, pumping and vacuuming first, followed by positioning air movers and dehumidifiers to complete the drying. Ridding the structure of water happens before structural repairs as the water has the potential to be so damaging. Restoration is the goal, with as few items removed and replaced as is safe and to applicable codes. Throughout the process, we work with your insurance company to minimize your out of pocket costs. You are in the communication loop at all times.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
Count on SERVPRO of West Palm Beach to exceed your expectations after a tropical storm. Compassionate dispatch staff awaits your call at (561) 795-5410.