Recent Storm Damage Posts
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.