Recent Storm Damage Posts

How to Prepare for a Winter Storm

12/14/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage How to Prepare for a Winter Storm How to Prepare for a Winter Storm

Winter is here! Now is the time to prepare so that you are ready when snow storms hit.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Make sure your home heating sources are installed according to local codes and permit requirements.
  • Make sure your home heating sources are clean and in working order.
  • Make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and window sills to keep cold air out.
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide an extra layer of insulation to keep cold air out.
  • Consider buying emergency heating equipment, such as a wood or coal burning stove or an electric or kerosene heater.

  • Stoves must be properly vented and in good working order. Dispose of ashes safely. Keep a supply of wood or coal on hand.
  • Electric space heaters, either portable or fixed, must be certified by an independent testing laboratory. Plug a heater directly into the wall socket rather than using an extension cord and unplug it when it is not in use.
  • Use a kerosene heater only if permitted by law in your area; check with your local fire department. Use only the correct fuel for your unit. Properly ventilate the area. Refuel the unit outdoors only, and only when the unit is cool. Follow all of the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Consider storing sufficient heating fuel. Regular fuel sources may be cut off. Be cautious of fire hazards when storing any type of fuel.
  • If you have a fireplace, consider keeping a supply of firewood or coal. Be sure the fireplace is properly vented and in good working order and that you dispose of ashes safely.
  • Consider purchasing a portable generator in case of power outages.
  • Consider purchasing flood insurance, if you live in a flood-prone area, to cover possible flood damage that may occur during the spring thaw. Homeowners' policies do not cover damage from floods. Ask your insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) if you are at risk.
  • Storm Emergency Kit

    12/14/2018 (Permalink)

    Storm Damage Storm Emergency Kit Storm Emergency Kit

    Spring is the time of year when many things change—including the weather. Temperatures can swing back and forth between balmy and frigid. Sunny days may be followed by a week of stormy weather. Sometimes extreme weather changes can occur even within the same day.

    Thunderstorms cause most of the severe spring weather. They can bring lightning, tornadoes, and flooding. Whenever warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, thunderstorms can occur.

    Because spring weather is so unpredictable, you may be unprepared when severe weather hits—particularly if you live in a region that does not often experience thunderstorms, tornadoes, or flooding. And when severe weather hits unexpectedly, the risk of injury and death increases. So planning ahead makes sense; prepare for storms, floods, and tornadoes as if you know in advance they are coming, because in the spring, they very likely will.

    Advance planning for thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, and floods requires specific safety precautions.

    Keep an emergency kit on hand.

    Some items to include are:

    • A battery-operated flashlight, a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries for both
    • An emergency evacuation or shelter plan, including a map of your home and, for every type of severe weather emergency, routes to safety from each room
    • A list of important personal information, including:
    • telephone numbers of neighbors, family, and friends
    • insurance and property information
    • telephone numbers of utility companies
    • medical information
    • According to the American Red Cross a first aid kit may include:
    • non-latex gloves
    • assortment of adhesive bandages
    • antibiotic ointment
    • sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes
    • absorbent compress dressings
    • tweezers
    • scissors
    • adhesive cloth tape
    • aspirin packets (81 mg each)
    • First aid instruction booklet (NOTE: Customize your first aid kit to meet your individual and family needs.)
    • A 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
    • Personal hygiene items
    • Blankets or sleeping bags
    • An emergency kit in your car

    Tornado Watch Vs Warning

    12/14/2018 (Permalink)

    Storm Damage Tornado Watch Vs Warning Tornado Watch Vs Warning

    During recent years, the spate of historic severe weather systems, flooding and tornadoes affecting much of the Nation has impacted rural America significantly. A storm is any disturbed state of an environment or astronomical body's atmosphere especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather.

    Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans, and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!

    Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately under ground to a basement, storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom).

    Hurricane Preparedness in Northern Virginia

    12/14/2018 (Permalink)

    Storm Damage Hurricane Preparedness in Northern Virginia Hurricane Preparedness in Northern Virginia

    WHAT IS A HURRICANE?

    Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over warm ocean waters and move toward land. Potential threats from hurricanes include powerful winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, tornadoes, and landslides. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The Pacific hurricane season runs May 15 to November 30. Hurricanes:

  • Can happen along any U.S. coast or in any territory in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.
  • Can affect areas more than 100 miles inland.
  • Are most active in September.
  • IF YOU ARE UNDER A HURRICANE WARNING, FIND SAFE SHELTER RIGHT AWAY

  • Determine how best to protect yourself from high winds and flooding.
  • Evacuate if told to do so.
  • Take refuge in a designated storm shelter, or an interior room for high winds.
  • Listen for emergency information and alerts.
  • Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.
  • Prepare NOW

  • Know your area’s risk of hurricanes.
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • If you are at risk for flash flooding, watch for warning signs such as heavy rain.
  • Practice going to a safe shelter for high winds, such as a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room in a sturdy building on the lowest level that is not subject to flooding.
  • Based on your location and community plans, make your own plans for evacuation or sheltering in place.
  • Become familiar with your evacuation zone, the evacuation route, and shelter locations.
  • Gather needed supplies for at least three days. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets.
  • Keep important documents in a safe place or create password-protected digital copies.
  • Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves in plumbing to prevent backups. Consider hurricane shutters. Review insurance policies.
  • Summer Storm Safety

    12/14/2018 (Permalink)

    Storm Damage Summer Storm Safety Summer Storm Safety

    Summer arrived with greenery and colorful flowers. However, the season can also bring severe weather. The American Red Cross wants everyone to know what steps they can take to stay safe if dangerous weather is predicted for their community.

    TORNADOES 

    Summer can be the peak season for tornado activity. Tornadoes occur mostly on warm days between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m. However, tornadoes can occur anywhere, at any time of the year, at any time of the day. The Red Cross has safety steps people should take now to be ready if a tornado warning is issued for someone’s neighborhood:

  • Know your community’s warning system.
  • Pick a safe room in your home where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. This should be a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
  • Prepare for strong winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
  • Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
  • Know the tornado danger signs – dark, often greenish clouds, a wall cloud, cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel cloud or a roaring noise.
  • THUNDERSTORMS 

    Thunderstorms are most likely to happen in the spring and summer, during the afternoon and evening. However, like tornadoes, they can happen anywhere, at any hour of the day. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people every year that tornadoes or hurricanes. The Red Cross has steps you can take if a thunderstorm is predicted for your area:

  • If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning.
  • Watch for storm signs like darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing winds.
  • Postpone any outdoor activities. Many people who are struck by lightning are not where it is raining.
  • Take shelter in a substantial building or a vehicle with the windows closed. Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Stay away from windows.
  • Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
  • FLOODING 

    Summer can be a time of year for flooding. Communities in the Midwest and south have already seen floodwaters inundate neighborhoods. Snow melt and heavy spring rains fill rivers and streams and flooding can occur. Flash floods occur suddenly when water rises rapidly along a stream or low-lying area. People should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and head for higher ground when a flood or flash flood warning is issued. Other safety steps include

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
  • What to do After a Winter Storm

    12/14/2018 (Permalink)

    Storm Damage What to do After a Winter Storm What to do After a Winter Storm

    You might be ready for the next winter storm, but after it hits, what is next?

    Here are some tips:

  • Continue listening to local news for updated information and instructions. Access to some parts of the community may be limited or roads may be blocked.
  • Avoid driving and other travel until conditions have improved.
  • Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of death during the winter.
  • Check on your animals and ensure that their access to food and water is unimpeded by drifted snow, ice, or other obstacles.
  • If you are using a portable generator, take precautions against carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution and fire.
  • Frostbite and hypothermia are cold-related emergencies that may quickly become life or limb threatening.

    Take these steps to avoid frostbite and hypothermia:

  • Be aware of the wind chill. Dress appropriately and avoid staying in the cold too long. Wear a hat and gloves when appropriate with layers of clothing. Avoid unnecessary exposure of any part of the body to the cold.
  • Drink plenty of warm fluids or warm water but avoid caffeine and alcohol. Stay active to maintain body heat.
  • Take frequent breaks from the cold.
  • Get out of the cold immediately if the signals of hypothermia or frostbite appear.