Recent Storm Damage Posts

Learning About Damage Done by Thunderstorms

7/16/2019 (Permalink)

As warmer weather moves in during the spring and summer, it brings with it the chance for more fun in the sun. But it also brings with it the increased risk of thunderstorms.

Do you have a good understanding of these storms and why and how they form?

Here in the United States, there are typically around 100,000 thunderstorms per year with 10% of those that are considered severe. This is just a small portion of the estimated 16 million thunderstorms each year that occur worldwide.

The formation of a thunderstorm requires certain conditions, which include moisture and rising unstable air that is accompanied by a “lifting” mechanism caused by either hills or mountains that force air to rise, or where warm/cold or wet/dry air bump together, causing a rising motion.

Every thunderstorm has three main life stages—when it forms, when it matures and when it dissipates. It’s during the mature phase that most danger occurs, including things like lightning and hail.

There are many different dangers that result from storms, but one of the greatest risks is debris flying around as a result of high winds.

Wind speeds during severe thunderstorms can gust up over 57.5 mph. That is more than enough to createchaos and damage to your property.

These items could turn into dangerous projectiles in your yard:

  • Tree branches
  • Gravel
  • Mailboxes
  • Fencing
  • Lawn furniture
  • Garbage cans
  • Potted plants

Be mindful of this fact and make sure items in your yard are secured if there is a severe thunderstorm threat.

Thunderstorms can also produce the following damage besides wind damage:

Lightning damage. When lightning strikes a building, it can surge through the wiring, damaging appliances and even increasing the risk of electrical fire.

Tornado damage. While not common in all areas of the United States, these intense storms bring winds up to 200 mph, and all the danger you’d think would accompany such intense winds.

Hail damage. Did you know that according to NOAA, the cost of hail damage can reach $1 billion a year?

Flood damage. During the summer especially, an intense amount of rain can often fall within a small amount of time. This makes it difficult for the rain to saturate into the earth, causing flash flooding.

If a thunderstorm has resulted in damage to your home or business, know that the team at SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South is available 247 to help with cleanup and restoration.

Spring Weather Can Be Unpredictable. Are You Ready? | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

5/17/2019 (Permalink)

We have entered into the spring season, which means we also need to be aware of the weather Mother Nature may choose to send our way.

The Highs and Lows of Spring Weather

Spring, of course, means longer days and more sunshine, but unfortunately, it also means the threat of severe weather throughout the country. It’s an unpredictable season, which means the weather may change at moment’s notice.

The unstable temperatures of spring are the cause for the changing weather. They can go from warm to cold in just an hour, and that temperature change can result in extreme weather changes as well.

Thunderstorms become a more common occurrence during spring and are what can cause severe weather. A thunderstorm can occur whenever warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, which is most common in the spring and summer.

In a past study, one of the causes for natural catastrophe losses in the U.S. for 2017 were severe thunderstorms—and they were responsible for some of the costliest losses. Out of 50 events, there were 85 fatalities and an estimated total of $25.4 billion in overall losses.

Those storms can bring with them the threat of flooding, high winds and even tornadoes if the conditions are right. It has been found that in modern history, 10% of all violent tornadoes have occurred in March, with April, May and June taking the top spots at 30%, 24% and 15% respectively.

How to Be Prepared

Weather prediction is tricky, and while we may not be able to predict the weather with 100% accuracy, forecasters have the tools available to forewarn us that there is the possibility of severe weather. Advanced warnings, along with the right preparation, can greatly improve overall safety for your family.

Here are some things you can do to your home to prepare for the chance of severe weather:

  1. Clear out your home’s gutters, drains and downspouts.
  2. Trim trees of precarious limbs or branches that could break off in a storm.
  3. Secure or store outdoor belongings if severe weather is in the forecast.

Having an emergency kit on hand is always advised. These kits should include the following:

  • Battery-operated flashlight and NOAA weather radio, with extra batteries for both
  • Emergency evacuation or shelter plans
  • Important personal info, like telephone numbers of neighbors, family and friends, insurance and property info, numbers for the utility companies, and medical info
  • A first-aid kit with things like non-latex gloves, adhesive bandages, tweezers, sterile gauze pads, aspirin packets, adhesive cloth tape and scissors
  • 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Blankets or sleeping bag

Despite its unpredictability, there is one thing that always remains true of the spring weather season: It always happens. If your home or business is damaged in a storm, you can depend on SERVPRO® of Van Nuys Southto get the cleanup and restoration process started fast.

Tornado Safety Tips for Everyone | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

With springtime comes unpredictable weather—and knowing this means you should always be prepared for the chance of severe thunderstorms that lead to perfect conditions for tornadoes.

April and May have, historically, been reported to have the highest occurrences of tornadoes at 30% and 24% respectively, which means we are now in the midst of tornado season all throughout the whole United States. Included in this blog are some tips and information on tornadoes that can help keep your family prepared for the worst possible scenario.

These Conditions Can Cause Tornadoes

Severe thunderstorms, especially those known as “supercells,” are responsible for the roughly 1,200 tornadoes that occur in every state of the U.S. each year.

The formation of a tornado begins when changes in wind speed and direction create a horizontal spinning effect within a storm cell. This is then tipped vertical by rising air moving up through the thunderclouds.

You will most likely not see the tornado’s signature funnel cloud at first because it starts out transparent, but that funnel will become visible as water droplets from the storm’s moist air condense or when dust and debris are picked up.

A typical tornado can grow to be 660 feet wide and will move at 10 to 20 miles per hour, although larger and faster storms have been observed. Hail and intense winds of over 200 mph can accompany tornadoes.

Ideal conditions for tornadoes occur during the late afternoon hours in the spring and summertime as the air becomes unstable in the cooling temperatures. However, remember that tornadoes can occur anytime and anywhere and no state in our country is exempt.

Safety Tips

Get to know the difference between a tornado watch and tornado warning. A watch is issued when the conditions are favorable for tornadoes, while a warning is issued when a tornado has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar.

A tornado watch alerts you to be aware that the weather conditions are unstable and could change, but a warning for your area means you should take immediate action to find safe shelter, especially if you are in the path of the tornado.

Shelter options include:

  • Underground options like a basement or storm shelter.
  • The lowest part of your home, in an area that is away from outside walls, doors and windows. Interior closets and bathrooms can be ideal options.
  • If you are outside, try to get to a sturdy building. Mobile homes and trailers are not a safe option.
  • If on the road and no building access is available, do not get under an overpass or bridge. Instead, find a low, flat location and use your arms to protect your head and neck.

Equip your home shelter with working flashlights, a battery-powered weather radio and extra fully charged batteries. Also, when you are taking shelter in your home, use furniture items like couch cushions, mattressesor blankets to keep your head and neck covered and protected.

If you are caught out on the road during a tornado, NEVER try to outrun it! Instead, seek shelter or exit your vehicle and lay flat on the ground covering your head and neck.

Tornadoes leave devastation and chaos in their paths. While meteorologists and weather services can provide some advanced warning to potential threats, tornadoes can still occur with little to no warning at all.

If your home or business has been damaged by a tornado, know that SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South is ready and waiting to jump into action and get cleanup and restoration of your property underway.


3 Causes of Storm Damage in Hurricanes

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

Pacific hurricanes are not as common as on the Atlantic Coast, but they have been known to happen. Just in August, Hawaii was devastated by Hurricane Lane. California and the mild Los Angeles climate may be relatively safe from hurricanes, but if you were to travel to the East Coast, the Gulf Coast, or even Hawaii then the odds go up and it’s important to be prepared.

While hurricanes often get the most coverage, they are only one of ten common types of storm in the United States. The others are hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, snow storms, hail storms, thunderstorms, lightning storms, tropical storms, ice storms and Derecho storms.

Of the ten, Derecho storms are actually considered to be rare. Have you heard of a Derecho storm before? This storm occurs when several large storms create one giant storm that reaches speeds of 58 miles per hour (at least) and crosses 250 miles.

Hurricanes, even if more common in some areas than others, can reach far past the coast they occur on.Hurricane Sandy had a reach of over 20 states.

Since hurricanes cause so much damage, it’s vital to be familiar with the damage they cause even if they aren’t common to California.

So, how do hurricanes cause so much damage?First, by wind.

Wind accompanied by hurricanes can be linked to most damage caused by these storms. In some cases, the wind is so strong that it forms tornadoes. Wind speed commonly ranges between 74 - 155 miles per hour, strong enough to cause intense wreckage. The sturdiest of structures, even trees, are in danger from this kind of wind. Storm winds hoist up and fling debris of all sizes and shapes, which causes further destruction.

Second, by storm surge.

Have you heard of a “wall of water” caused by hurricanes? As a hurricane rages toward the coast, its winds are pushing water with it, disrupting the normal flow of tides. The winds push so much water toward the shore that it amasses high above the predicted tide level and it surges onto the shore and farther inland. As the water rushes inland, it has nowhere to drain and causes flooding. Storm surge also creates strong currents and the weight of the water is so heavy that it can cause severe damage.

Third, by flood.

As mentioned, storm surge is primary reason for floods during hurricanes. But this happens primarily on the coast. Hurricanes can cause floods 100 miles out from where the hurricane lands. This is because a hurricane is so powerful as to affect other weather systems, creating excess precipitation that is far ranging. This heavy excess rain often overwhelms an area and causes floods when it can’t drain properly.

Storm damage, caused by hurricanes or flood or otherwise, can be severe and difficult to clean up on your own. Call SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South for expert water damage restoration services.