Archived Storm Damage Blog Posts
The Weather Outside is Frightful
Winter can put your home at risk for damage.
Winter. You either love it or hate. While snow is beautiful and puts us in the holiday spirit, there have been winters in the past where it was a little too extreme. Snow storms are a big reality for us in the Chicagoland area and they have potential to do large amounts of damage, as much as a storm during the warmer months. We at SERVPRO of North Elmwood Park would like to share some tips for protecting you and your home according to the American Red Cross.
- Prevent pipes from freezing by opening doors and cabinets where they are to expose them to the houses heat. Letting water run through pipes can also prevent them from freezing.
- Double check that your heat source is clean and in proper working condition.
- Cover windows with a plastic layer to provide an extra layer of insulation to keep heat from escaping out of cracks.
- Consider purchasing an emergency heater and a portable generator in case you lose power.
- Have an emergency kit with food, water, medication, and medical supplies.
We can’t control the weather but if you have water damage from frozen pipes and snow melting or you roof collapsing from snow, call us. We have 24/7 emergency services here to help you.
Tornado Safety Information
Tornadoes are a scary event that are best to be prepared for.
Here in the Midwest, we are no stranger to the weather conditions that spring and summer bring. From extreme heat waves to damage inducing thunderstorms, we have seen it all. At some point you may even be unlucky enough to experience the conditions perfect for creating a tornado. Whether you are at home or out and about, it is smart to know some information for tornado safety.
Watch vs. Warning
When you see an alert that says ‘Tornado Watch’ is means that the conditions outside are favorable for a tornado to happen. See it as you need to ‘watch’ the weather closely but one has not formed yet. A tornado warning means that one has been spotted or indicated on a weather radar as about to form and immediate action needs to take place. It is a ‘warning’ that one has formed and is close to you.
If you are under a tornado warning, it is best to get to the basement or storm cellar. If you don’t have one, get to an interior room in the house on the first floor. Make sure to stay away from any windows or doors as they could shatter and harm you. It is smart to have an emergency kit with water, flashlights, batteries, and first aid supplies available.
On the Road
While driving on the road and a tornado warning is happening, it is safest to not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a flat location or ditch to lay low in. Flying debris can cause severe injury so use your arms to protect your neck and head.
Tornado's are dangerous and can cause serious injury or death, so if one is happening, take it seriously. If your home is affected by tornado or wind damage, call SERVPRO of North Elmwood Park at (708) 483-8636.
Common Types of Storm Damage
Putting a trap over where the storm damage is to protect inside the home.
Even with forecasts, we know weather is not always 100% accurate and it can seem like severe storms will come out of nowhere. When storms blow through your town, they bring all sorts of conditions with them. Here are just a few of the basic types of damage a storm can cause to your home or business:
Storms bring strong gusts of wind that can harm your house in different ways. It can lift the shingles off your roof leaving it more exposed for further damage as the storm continues. Winds can also carry debris. When the debris comes in contact with your home at high speed, it can cause cracks and holes in siding or windows.
Heavy rain fall can cause flooding in the streets as well as inside your home. Water can find its way into your home from the ground level or even a crack in the roof. Water damage that sits too long can pose threats to your home’s structural integrity and potential hazard issues with mold.
Damage done by hail is quite similar to when it is done by wind. The main difference is that hail melts away so the next day it might be difficult to identify the cause. Hail damage can cause cracks and holes in siding or knock away roofing materials. It is also common for hail to shatter or cause chips in a home’s windows.
Storm Power Outage Safety Tips
In the Chicagoland area we experience our fair share of storms. In early August we had a derecho roll through and it brought thunderstorms, tornadoes, and high-speed winds across the Midwest. Many people had damage to their roofs from tree limbs and other flying debris. Even more people were left without power, some for more than a week after. If you don’t already have a generator, it could be wise to think about getting one. They are a handy tool during storm seasons just in case you lose power. The American Red Cross and SERVPRO of North Elmwood Park would like to give you a few safety tips for power outages.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space, or any partially enclosed area.
- To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use it in wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.
- Run the generator every few months to make sure it is still functional.
If you experience water or storm damage, call SERVPRO of North Elmwood Park at (708) 483-8636.
Tips for Preparing Your Home for a Storm
Some people love to watch storms roll in, while others get nervous for a variety of reasons. You might be thinking about hail hitting your car that is parked outside or what debris the wind is carrying that could damage your house. As much as we wish we could, we cannot control the weather to make it sunny and 75°F every day. Let us give you some tips on how to make your home more prepared for storms to come.
Seal Your Roof
Making sure that your roof is in good condition is an important first step in keeping your home safe from potential storm damage. Roof seams could be sealed with a ‘peel and stick membrane’ or with a polyurethane foam to prevent cracks and leaks. Keeping your roof in good standing now is in investment in your home and the things inside of it.
Secure Your Windows and Doors
High winds put your windows and doors at risk. Doing annual checks for rusty hinges and missing or loose screws can prevent serious damage. Also making sure that your door threshold is in good condition can prevent water from getting into your home through the front door. If you live in places where hurricanes, tornadoes, or other extreme storms can happen, it is wise to invest in impact resistant windows.
If you live in a home that has fencing, or you are thinking of putting a fence in, it is important to consider how storms may impact them. You need to consider the strength and resilience of the materials and how they are installed. Fences can be struck down by strong winds or debris. Even though the less expensive option for fencing seems like the best choice right now, it might end up costing you more later.
Have an Emergency Plan
Preparation is key when it comes to minimizing loss during a storm. This goes towards your home and your family. Creating a plan with members of your house on how to stay safe can go a long way. Know what the safest place in your home is. Have a kit with batteries, food, and medical supplies. Know important phone numbers. And if you have pets, factor them into this plan as well.
Be Mindful of Loose Objects
After storms, you can usually look out on the street and see trash cans or other miscellaneous objects knocked over on the ground. Anchoring loose objects in your yard such as trampolines, grills, bikes, patio furniture, umbrellas, or inflatable above ground pools will keep them from becoming a risk that could damage your house or your neighbors.
Common Weather Alerts and What They Mean
Keeping up with weather forecasts can help you anticipate storms and be ready for any kind of alert.
Throughout the year, you will see all sorts of weather related information pop up. Alerts used to just be sirens or banners on the bottom of a television screen. Now with so many people having access to smart phones and technology, we are being exposed to more types of alerts. If you get an alert about thunderstorms, or tornado watches and warnings, do you know what they actually mean? If not, no problem. Here are some common alerts we might see in the Midwest during the summer and what they are telling us.
Watch vs. Warning vs. Advisory
The first important thing to understanding weather alerts is to know the difference between a watch, a warning, and an advisory. If you get a weather alert saying something is a watch, it means that the current weather conditions are looking like that weather event is likely to occur. A weather alert for a watch means that the weather event is currently happening or minutes away from happening. An advisory is used for when a weather condition is not as serious as needing a warning but it still likely to occur.
- Severe Thunderstorm: There is 1’’ hail and/or winds faster than 58 mph are being produced.
- Flash Flood: Heavy rain fall is causing rapid flooding of small rivers, streams, creaks, or urban areas.
- Tornado: Severe thunderstorms are occurring that are producing optimal conditions for a tornado funnel to form.
- Excessive Heat: Daytime temperatures are reaching above 105°F to 110°F for more than three hours. If happening for multiple days, it is not uncommon for widespread power outages.
You can find more information on the kinds of weather alerts on the National Weather Services website at weather.gov. If you experience damage from severe weather, give SERVPRO of North Elmwood Park a call at (708) 483-8636 and we will make it “Like it never even happened.”