Recent Storm Damage Posts

Tornadoes and Flash Flooding: A Double-Barreled Storm Damage Threat

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian helps homeowners and businesses prepare for, survive, and recover from a tornado and a flash flood property damage event.

When a weather system spawns heavy thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flash flooding, the team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is ready to provide flood and storm damage restoration services 24/7, 365 days a year, including on holidays and during severe weather. The team quickly and safely restores the damaged structure, enabling the homeowner or business owner to return to normal life without delay.

In tandem, tornadoes and flash flooding create a double-barreled threat of storm damage. According to Physics Today, “Tornadoes and flash floods pose substantial threats by themselves, but when they strike simultaneously, the danger is compounded. Another concern for overlapping tornado and flash-flood events (TORFFs) is that the procedures recommended for dealing with each hazard are contradictory: Tornado safety practice advises taking shelter in the lowest central room of a building, and flood safety protocol recommends moving to higher ground. Those conflicting instructions can increase confusion over what to do.”

This confusion is illustrated during an incident that happened during a tornado in Oklahoma in 2013. Prior to the lethal tornado, the storm system also caused flash flooding, which proved to be even more lethal than the tornado. The investigation conducted after the tandem disasters uncovered that many people did not comprehend the significant threat from flash flooding, even though ample warnings were issued by authorities. One survivor reported she remained in her shelter until the flood water left her no alternative but to flee the shelter, hoping the tornado threat had passed.

The Challenges to Meteorologists

A TORFF event (tornado and flash flood occurring simultaneously) also challenges meteorologists tasked with identifying the warning signs that point to a TORFF. The challenge arises from the fact that the early warning signs for a tornado differ significantly from the warning signs of flash flooding.

Tornadoes are spawned by fast-moving storm cells, but flash flooding is usually caused by a slow-moving storm cell.  Forecasters must closely monitor weather conditions, watching for the overlapping of characteristics that can produce both flash flooding and tornadoes in the same weather event.

Safety during a TORFF Event Depends on Several Factors

Real-time knowledge of changing weather conditions accompanied by an appropriate and timely response to the alerts posted by weather forecasters can save lives and avoid personal injury.

Weather forecasters must:

  • Closely monitor weather conditions and identify the early warning signs of both tornadoes and flash flooding
  • Accurately predict both the path and development of a storm cell which has the potential for both tornadoes and flash flooding
  • Promptly communicate the appropriate alerts to the affected communities
  • Swiftly notify communities of any changes in predictions and alerts

Communities potentially impacted by the impending weather must:

  • Pay close attention to weather forecasts
  • Swiftly respond to alerts issued by the National Weather Service for their areas
  • Remain aware of and instantly respond to changing weather conditions

Practical Tips for Weathering Severe Weather

Listed below are some practical tips to help Midlothian, TX residents survive severe weather involving heavy rain, tornadoes, flash floods, power outages, and storm damage to a home or business.

Always Be Prepared for Any Size or Type of Disaster

Have an emergency plan that includes but is not limited to:

  • first aid and personal hygiene supplies
  • food and water
  • flashlights and batteries
  • stocked knapsacks for emergency evacuation
  • phone charger (solar-powered)
  • weather radios

Businesses Can Execute an Emergency Response Plan

SERVPRO offers an Emergency READY Plan at no cost. The plan minimizes business interruption in the event of a disaster and guides the business owner or manager through an assessment of the facility that generates a concise profile of critical information needed in the event of a property damage disaster. Also, the plan outlines a clear, fast path to recovery. It establishes the local SERVPRO as the dedicated disaster mitigation and restoration provider. Facility details, including shut-off valve locations, priority areas, and essential contact information, are identified and archived. The plan also helps streamline the insurance claims process. With an emergency plan in place, a business only needs to make one call to secure professional property damage cleanup and restoration services when a disaster strikes.

For more information about storm and flood damage restoration, call SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian at (972) 935-0827. The office can also be reached by emailing acarey@SERVPRO10932.com

How Does “Act of God” Flood Damage Affect Insurance Coverage?

7/16/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian helps customers understand the term “act of God” and how the “act of God” classification could affect flood damage recovery.

The technicians at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian have the training, experience, equipment, cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved products to handle a storm damage and flood damage restoration project. Locally owned and operated, the team of IICRC-certified professionals can arrive on the scene in about an hour to inspect and assess the damage. An estimate with detailed documentation needed for the insurance claims process is provided to the customer. The cleanup and restoration process begins immediately because any delays allow for advanced secondary damage. A rapid response enables many items, such as carpeting and rugs, to be salvaged rather than discarded. Removing the water and dehumidifying the damaged areas deal with mold before it can gain a foothold. Technicians clean, disinfect, sanitize, and deodorize the flood-damaged home.

A Confusing Insurance Term

In the insurance industry, the term “act of god” can be a source of confusion and frustration for current policyholders and homeowners seeking adequate storm damage and flood damage insurance. The odd term generates a flood of inquiries to insurance agents and insurance claim attorneys because of the confusion surrounding the concept. People ask questions such as:

  • What are the factors surrounding a flood that result in the disaster being treated differently than other natural disasters?
  • Why is not every natural disaster referred to as an “act of God?”
  • Why are some events “acts of God” while others are not?

A formal, legal definition of “act of God” is as follows: “…an overwhelming event caused exclusively by natural forces whose effects could not possibly be prevented (e.g., flood, earthquake, tornado).  In modern jurisdictions, ‘act of God’ is often broadened by statute to include all natural phenomena whose effects could not be prevented by the exercise of reasonable care and foresight.”

Within the insurance industry, an “act of God” involves several factors:

  • The event is unpreventable and destructive.
  • Natural causes alone account for the event.

Within these parameters, many floods, other severe weather events, and natural disasters may technically be regarded as an “act of God.”

Insurance Coverage and “Acts of God”

Not every unpreventable and destructive event qualifies as an “act of God.” Every “act of God” may not be covered by every insurance policy. Some caveats and exceptions apply. “Act of God” coverage offered by a specific insurance company depends on what is outlined in detail in a specific insurance policy. The solution to avoid any confusion is to read the policy carefully. Look for the exact phrase “act of God.” Seek to fully understand how the term “act of God” is used in the policy. Upon gaining a comfortable understanding of what is contained in the policy, consult the agent issuing the policy to ensure that a proper understanding has been achieved. Do not be overwhelmed by the legal terminology. A competent agent can bring clarity to the situation.

Events Often Not Covered in Standard Policies

Standard home insurance or business insurance policies do not cover flooding. When seeking to obtain a suitable home policy or a business policy, be sure to ask two crucial questions:

  • Is flooding covered under this policy?
  • If some types of flooding are covered under the policy, which types of flood damage are and are not covered by the policy?

Be able to accurately identify any and every exclusion in the policy. A misstep in this area could cost a homeowner or business tens of thousands of dollars in losses. By understanding exclusions in a general policy, the homeowner or business owner can add riders to the policy to ensure proper coverage. A homeowner residing in an area with a history of flooding may need to purchase flood insurance separately through the National Flood Insurance Program.

When Is a Flood Not an “Act of God?”

By definition, an “act of God” is an unpredictable event. If a flood has occurred near the home or business or if the structure has been damaged by a flood in the past, flooding may not be considered an “act of God” under the policy. If a flood occurs, it is not technically an “act of God” since there was a prior history of flooding. For example, if the structure is located near a river or in a valley that has suffered a flood in the past, a flood event may not be technically identified as an “act of God.” Do not be one of those homeowners or businesses who is shocked to learn that the flood damage disaster was not covered by the existing policy. Consult with an insurance agent or an attorney for clarification.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the local area since 2000. Being centrally located in Ellis County means they are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. The team of restoration experts specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

For more information about flood and storm damage cleanup, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com

How Straight-Line Winds Can Cause Devastating Storm Damage

4/12/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian alerts homeowners to the dangers of straight-line winds and offers advice on how to recover from an encounter with these powerful weather events.

Most people associate severe weather and storm damage with heavy thunderstorms, flash floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. These weather events can cause devastating property damage and inflict serious personal injury. However, another weather event, straight-line winds, is a common cause of storm damage. Straight-line winds are often mistaken for other types of windstorms, particularly tornadoes, and do not receive the attention they deserve. Knowledge of what straight-line winds are, the conditions under which they form, and the damage they can do to structures will help homeowners protect their homes and themselves from straight-line winds.

The National Weather Service defines straight-line winds as “thunderstorm winds that have no rotation, i.e. as a tornado.” The experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration highlight the signature characteristics of straight-line winds: “Straight-line winds are often responsible for most of the wind damage associated with a thunderstorm. These winds are often confused with tornadoes because of similar damage and wind speeds. However, the strong gusty winds associated with straight-line winds are unlike the rotating winds of a tornado. If you were to survey the damage pattern left by straight-line winds, you would see debris such as uprooted trees laid out in nearly parallel rows.”

NOAA weather experts distinguish another type of straight-line winds: down-bursts. “Down-bursts are one example of damaging straight-line winds. A down-burst is a small area of rapidly descending rain and rain-cooled air beneath a thunderstorm. Wind speeds in some of the stronger down-bursts can reach 100 to 150 miles per hour which is similar to that of a strong tornado. The winds produced from a down-burst often travel in one direction, and the worst damage is usually on the forward side of the down-burst.”

A Closer Look at the Dynamics of Straight-Line Winds

Condensation in the form of precipitation causes cooler, dryer air to form inside a thunderstorm. As more moisture condenses, more cool air is produced. Straight-line winds develop when the cooler air is forced downward by powerful dynamics inside the storm as set off by the differences in the weight, temperature, and density of the warm air and the cooler, dryer air. When the cooler air collides with the round, it spreads out horizontally. These fast-moving straight-line wind gusts may reach speeds of over 100 mph. The downward movement of the cooler air is sometimes referred to as a downburst.

Why Straight-Line Winds Are Often Confused with a Tornado

People often confuse straight-line winds with a tornado. The intense winds generated by both the straight-line winds and a tornado produce a loud roaring noise. Both weather events have similar storm damage consequences. The damage pattern of a tornado is twisted and circular due to the rotation of the funnel. In contrast, straight-line winds leave a damage pattern of debris that is straight or strewn about in a fan-like shape.

Storm Damage Caused by Straight-Line Winds

Tornadic winds create havoc and destruction but are soon passed. Straight-line winds may not reach tornadic intensity but may last twenty minutes or more. Sustained winds of 58 mph to 165 mph can cause severe property damage.

Roof damage may include damaged or dislodged shingles. The strong, sustained wind can roll up shingles, underlayment, and sheathing like a bedroll, exposing the attic to severe water damage. Other property damage effects include:

  • Ripping gutters from their moorings
  • Breaking the seal around windows, doors, and roof vents
  • Crumpling unreinforced garage doors
  • Peeling siding off the exterior of the home
  • Sending outdoor furniture and equipment crashing into vehicles and the home

A home may erupt leaks in the roof, around windows and doors, and in the garage. Ceilings may collapse. Walls and floors may buckle and warp. Excess water may flood the HVAC air ducts. The moisture and warm weather foster mold growth.

Cleanup and Restoration

When straight-line winds damage a home, a quick response and a rapid cleanup and restoration are crucial to prevent advanced secondary damage such as mold infestation, warped and buckling walls and floors, and wood rot. The team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian is dedicated to helping customers whose homes have been damaged by severe weather and suffered a serious water intrusion. The SERVPRO professionals utilize the best and most efficient equipment to remove any bulk water, and commercial-grade dehumidifiers and rapid-spin fans reduce the humidity to acceptable levels. Once the water is removed and the structure is stabilized for safety purposes, the storm damage restoration process can proceed. The customer is provided with a detailed estimate documented with images and video, and SERVPRO can manage the insurance claims process from beginning to end.

To learn more about SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian’s flood damage restoration services, email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com or call (972) 935-0827.

Why Homeowners Need to Have the Proper Flood Insurance before Severe Weather Strikes

3/7/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian urges homeowners and business owners to have adequate flood insurance before a storm damage disaster occurs.

The cost of flood damage restoration without homeowners insurance or adequate flood insurance can be financially devastating. Structural damage to the roof and the resulting water damage can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair. Most typical homeowners policies cover this type of storm damage. However, flood damage from a localized flash flood or a micro flood may be exempt from a homeowners policy, and the homeowner may not have been required to have FEMA flood insurance. The time to find out which coverage is needed is before, not after, a disaster.

In advance of the Atlantic hurricane season, homeowners and businesses are urged to review their insurance coverage situation. Efforts to recover from a flood with no or inadequate insurance coverage can be expensive.

The cause of storm damage may be related to wind or water. In either case, the homeowner with insufficient coverage will realize that recovery is difficult, painful, and may not be financially feasible. Some property owners are lulled into thinking adequate coverage is too expensive and not essential. How often does a “hundred-year flood” occur? Once is enough to cause devastation.

Localized Flooding: A Growing Problem

A rise in temperatures and humidity levels in the atmosphere produce intense storms. When these storm cells stall or linger over a community, massive amounts of water are dumped onto roads, parking lots, and neighborhoods that lack the drainage infrastructure to manage the torrential rains. The increased frequency of these isolated yet powerful storm cells is causing flooding in small neighborhoods, large planned residential communities, and municipalities that previously were unaffected.

Most homeowners have a typical homeowners insurance policy. However, the standard policy usually has a hurricane deductible and does not cover flooding. These two features can be financially catastrophic when flooding is the cause of the property damage.

An insurance policy covering flooding is a separate policy and can be obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program. Some private carriers offer flood coverage. Lenders typically do not require flood insurance unless the property is located in a specially designated flood zone.

Help for the Uninsured

Some assistance from government programs might be available for uninsured homeowners who have suffered flood-related damage. FEMA grants and Small Business Administration loans might be available to some homeowners. However, this aid is not guaranteed. The funds, if available, will likely not be sufficient to repair all the damages. The weather event must be declared a disaster area for both FEMA and the SBA to get involved. Homeowners can apply for SBA loans approaching $200,000 but only on the primary residence. Repayment of the loan is in addition to the mortgage payment, which continues even though the structure may be uninhabitable. A bank or other private lending institution may offer a home equity or construction loan for the rebuild.

Four Ways a Homeowner Can Prepare for Flooding or Storm Damage

Here are a few practical tips to help homeowners prepare for and respond to severe weather conditions that might result in flood damage and storm damage.

1. Create a family disaster readiness plan.

This plan includes:

  • Basic first aid supplies, medications, and vital prescriptions
  • Basic survival food and equipment such as flashlights, batteries, weather band radios, walkie talkies, matches, candles, water filters, and water
  • Critical data in hand and on the cloud
  • Pre-qualification of a reputable property damage restoration company specializing in storm damage, flood restoration, water damage, fire and smoke damage, and mold remediation

2. Prepare ahead of time when severe weather is in the forecast.

Place lawn furniture, toys, garbage cans, and any gardening equipment in a secure location. Close the garage door.

3. Take action to mitigate losses if flooding occurs. 

Safety must never be compromised. Relocate furniture, artwork, electronic equipment, computers, and other valuables to a second floor or to a location in the home that is less likely to be inundated by rising waters.

4. Call in the professionals for storm damage and flood cleanup and restoration. 

Delays allow for advanced secondary damage to take place. Swollen baseboards, warping in floors and drywall, and mold infestation can be avoided when bulk water is quickly removed. Dehumidification and applied structural drying can prevent further damage and speed up the timeline to recovery.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the area since 2000. Being centrally located in Ellis County means they are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. This rapid response is crucial in a property damage disaster involving a water intrusion from flooding, storm damage, or a burst supply pipe.

To learn more information about storm damage cleanup in Red Oak, TX, contact the office of SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian by phone at (972) 935-0827 or by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com

The Negative Impact Hailstorms Can Have on Midlothian, TX, Homes

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian explains the impact of hail damage and storm damage on houses in Midlothian, TX, and surrounding areas.

Each year, thousands of hailstorms impact homes, vehicles, businesses, and farm crops, piling up billions of dollars in property damage. The Insurance Information Institute reported the following statistics: “Hail-related insured losses between 2000 and 2019 averaged between $8 billion to $14 billion a year, according to Aon. There were 4,611 major hail storms in 2020, according to the NOAA’s Severe Storms database. State Farm paid out over $3.1 billion in hail claims in 2020, according to an April 2020 analysis by the insurer. Texas was the state with the most hail claims paid for auto and home insurance, with $474.6 million in losses, followed by Illinois ($394.2 million), Minnesota ($259.2 million) and Missouri ($236.9).”

During some years, as much as 70% of storm damage insurance claims stem from hail damage. Hailstones can impact a home with the destructive force of a small rock. Force impact is determined by the size and descent velocity. As mentioned above, damage from hail is one of the most prevalent reasons for homeowners’ claims. Estimates are that each year one in 35 homes report a claim.

Contact points susceptible to hail damage

Any exposed area is vulnerable to damage from hailstones. Hailstorms can dent, crack, or pierce shingles, wood shakes, asphalt roofs, gutters, aluminum siding, and vinyl siding. Vinyl siding is engineered with the flexibility to withstand high winds and relatively large hailstones. However, some hailstones are so large and travel so fast that the impact cracks the vinyl siding. In 2017, there were over 10.7 million insurance claims for hail damage in the United States.

Tips on what to do when hard-hitting hail starts to fall

Listed below are several tips on how to prepare for damaging wind and hail.

  1. Practice regular maintenance and routine inspections. Immediately repair minor defects that make the roof more vulnerable to further roof damage when the next severe hailstorm strikes.
  2. Consider installing an impact-resistant roofing solution during initial construction or when the roof needs replacement.
  3. Proper tree care and maintenance can prevent limbs or trees from falling on the home during a severe hailstorm.
  4. When severe weather threatens, restrain or store lawn furniture, toys, garbage cans, and yard equipment to avoid impact damage from wind-driven debris during harsh winds.

How to detect the damaging effects of hail on a home

After severe weather involving hail, homeowners need to assess any damage to their home and determine whether filing a claim is warranted. Conduct the inspection only when conditions become safe, and the lighting is adequate. Check for the following signs of damage to the home:

  • Dented downspouts and gutter
  • Siding and window sills with buckling, warping, dents, or cracks
  • Unusual or uneven gaps across or between layers of siding
  • Broken, cracked, or shattered glass in windows and doors
  • Damaged decks, patio covers, sheds, and vehicles

If damage is discovered in any of these areas, the likelihood of extensive roof damage is very high. Contact a licensed professional roofing contractor to inspect the roof. The damage may not be evident to the untrained eye.

What to do if a hailstorm causes water damage

A water intrusion from a roof that has been pierced by a limb or fallen tree can allow hundreds of gallons to pour into a home. A broken window or door can result in significant water damage. Homeowners need to be aware that dents in the siding may allow water penetration. Hail can cause tiny dimples or divots in the roofing. These depressions may be small piercings that allow moisture and water to seep under the shingles. The water intrusion can cause wood rot in the sheathing, framing, and attic support beams. Water intrusion in the attic insulation can promote mold growth.

When a severe hailstorm has caused a water damage disaster, avoid advanced secondary damage by entrusting the flood damage restoration project to the professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian. The team of knowledgeable, experienced, and certified water damage mitigation and restoration technicians have the equipment to extract the water, dry the structure, and remediate any mold issues that may have arisen. Repairs, tear-outs, and rebuilds can be managed by SERVPRO. The company streamlines the process, reduces confusion, increases efficiencies, and reduces costs. The SERVPRO staff can handle the insurance claims from beginning to end, eliminating headaches for the customer.

Contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com to learn more about flood damage restoration services in Midlothian, TX. The office can also be reached by phone at (972) 935-0827.

What to Do When Storms Cause Trees to Fall and Inflict Property Damage on the Home

11/24/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian offers tips on how homeowners can safely deal with a fallen tree and storm damage in Red Oak, TX.

Severe weather can strike at any time, causing homeowners and businesses to need flood damage restoration in Red Oak, TX. The team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian urges residents to be prepared. One area of preparation often overlooked by homeowners and businesses is the treescape.

Trees are an asset to any landscape. They provide shade from the hot Texas sun while adding beauty and value to the home. According to an article at HGTV, “Towering trees on your property provide more than beauty — they increase the value of your home. Several recent nationwide surveys show that mature trees in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by 7 percent to 19 percent.”

Like any asset, trees must be maintained to preserve their value. Diseased portions of the tree must be pruned, and dead limbs need to be removed. Occasionally, an entire tree or cluster of trees must be removed to preserve healthy trees and protect people, pets, and personal property from being harmed by falling limbs or trees.

In some instances, the untrained eye can spot dead or diseased limbs. A stiff breeze or mild thunderstorm will bring down debris that, when examined, is obviously diseased, dead, or rotted. Sometimes, a tree’s health issues are hidden under a lush cover of grass or thick bed of mulch. Without warning, the tree may topple when the circumstances overpower the ability of the root structure to hold the tree in place. A sudden, strong gust of wind, a thunderstorm, tornado, or hurricane can destabilize the tree, causing it to fall in the yard or on the house. A mature hardwood tree with a trunk width of 26 inches may weigh in at four or five tons. A tree this size can cause significant damage if it falls on a roof.

What to do when a tree falls in the yard

#1. Stay safe. Ensure that everyone is unharmed.

#2. Assess the situation carefully but cautiously. The fallen tree may have downed power lines or damaged other trees, which may fall over or lose limbs and branches without warning.

#3. Call in the appropriate professionals to restore utilities and remove or prune fallen or damaged trees.

What to do if a tree topples on a home

When a tree falls on a home, the disruption can be stressful, inconvenient, and costly. Personal safety is always of utmost importance. Here are some steps to follow in the event of storm damage caused by a tree that has fallen on a home.

  1. Immediately evacuate the area damaged by the impact of the tree.

In a two- or more story dwelling, move to the main or ground floor as quickly and safely as possible.

  1. Take a headcount and check for injuries.

The chaos can be stressful and disorienting. After regrouping, re-evaluate the situation for hazards. If needed, relocate to a safer place in the home.

  1. Dial 911 for emergency assistance from medical or fire first responders if needed.

Physical injuries or shock may require emergency medical services. If the power is still on, damage caused by the tree could increase the risk of fire. In this case, the fire department and the utility company should be notified.

  1. Contact the property damage cleanup and restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian.

A crew can be on the scene in about half an hour to assess the situation and install emergency tarping to prevent further water intrusion.  The abatement of the water intrusion can greatly reduce the amount of water damage inside the home, reducing the time and expense of the storm damage restoration project. The team will inspect and assess the damaged area and present a detailed estimate with documentation, including images and video. The SERVPRO staff can manage the cleanup and restoration from beginning to end, including handling the insurance claims process.

  1. Protect personal belongings from further water damage while waiting for the SERVPRO team to arrive.

If conditions inside the home are safe, move furniture and personal belongings to safe, dry areas. Items that cannot be moved should be covered with a tarp or plastic sheeting. Secure any valuables such as jewelry, art, firearms, electronic devices, and important documents.

  1. Contact a licensed, bonded, and insured arborist.

The company should be experienced in removing trees that have fallen onto a structure. Tree removal is complex and requires expertise, the right equipment, and appropriate safety measures to prevent further damage to the home.

The team of technicians at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian are available 24/7, 365 days a year, and are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any home or business in Red Oak, TX, and surrounding areas. For more information about the storm damage restoration company, email SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com. Staff can also be reached by phone at (972) 935-0827.

Three Tips to Help Ellis County Homeowners Prepare for Power Outages Caused by Winter Storms

10/26/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian offers lifesaving tips to help homeowners be prepared for power outages and storm damage resulting from winter storms.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian provides water damage and storm damage restoration 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. An experienced, trained, and certified crew can be on the scene in about half an hour when a disaster strikes. Winter storm disasters can strike unexpectedly, as was the case in February of 2021. The record-setting cold blast disrupted life, causing stress and worry for many North Texas residents. The team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian lives and works in this community and experienced the hardship and inconvenience with their neighbors. When neighbors suffered a property damage disaster related to the cold snap, the dedicated SERVPRO team rose to meet the challenges.

Electricity is vitally essential for nearly every home activity, from cleaning to cooking to communication. Most people do not fully realize their dependence on electricity until an outage occurs and the many amenities powered by electricity are suddenly unavailable.

The 2021 cold wave that blasted much of the United States illustrates the need for winter storm preparedness. By far, Texas suffered the worst from the effects of the cold wave. On February 16, the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport noted a record low temperature of −2 °F (−19 °C), the coldest temperatures in North Texas in over 70 years.

The failure to sufficiently winterize power equipment in preparation for the possibility of extended periods of cold weather left the electrical infrastructure vulnerable. The unusually cold temperatures caused widespread power outages affecting hundreds of thousands of North Texas residents. Seventy percent of ERCOT customers lost power. For some residents, power was out for over two weeks. The power grid failure interrupted the flow of water and natural gas.  Many residents struggled to stay warm, locate bottled water, and obtain food.

An article in the Texas Tribune cited a study conducted by the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston. The study sought to accurately assess the impact of the winter storm on the affected population. According to the study, “The storm also endangered Texans in the ERCOT service area indirectly as they struggled to stay warm. Despite the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, a quarter of those who lost power from the main grid used their gas ovens or stove cooktops to stay warm, and 8% turned on a grill or smoker indoors. Nine percent of those who left their homes while trying to escape the cold stayed in their cars.” As many as 4.5 million Texans were left without power at the height of the outage.

While weather conditions are beyond human control, preparation for a winter storm power outage, storm damage, or water damage is not. Every homeowner or business owner can make preparations that will help to weather a winter storm and manage the storm damage.

Tip #1: Begin winter storm preparations immediately.

A power outage at any time of the year is inconvenient and can have serious consequences. A winter power outage can be hazardous, especially when temperatures are at or below 0 °F and the home has no alternative heat source, such as a fireplace, ventless gas heater, or wood stove. Snow, sleet, or ice can hinder or prevent safe travel, making last-minute preparations impossible. Clogged highways, long lines, empty shelves, and hot tempers further complicate last-minute preparations. Insulating exposed pipes and exterior faucets is a task that should be at the top of the list.

Tip #2: Stock up on flashlight supplies.

Replenish the supply of batteries and flashlights. The stockpile of batteries is constantly being depleted and needs to be regularly replenished. A top brand alkaline battery has a shelf life of from five to ten years. Make sure the stockpile includes batteries for flashlights, emergency radios, smoke detectors, and clocks. Keep rechargeable batteries fully charged.

Make the transition to LED flashlights. An LED flashlight powered by 3 AAA batteries will last from 18-24 hours, many times longer than the traditional flashlight. The LED device is smaller, lighter, and burns brighter longer. While checking the battery supply and flashlights, inspect the emergency radio and consider purchasing a backup radio. Information and light in the darkness of a winter storm power outage can prove to be a lifesaver.

Tip #3: Fill up the gas tank.

When the power outage occurred in February of 2021, one in twelve residents affected by the power outage sought refuge in their car to stay warm. If weather reports predict hazardous weather conditions, fill up all the family vehicles.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the area since 2000. The company is locally owned and backed by a nationwide system of qualified franchises. Because SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is centrally located in Ellis County, the team is within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. The restoration experts specialize in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

For more information about Midlothian, TX, storm damage restoration services, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com

How Red Oak, TX, Homeowners Can Take Steps to Prevent Property Damage From Hurricane-Force Winds

8/18/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian explains how to protect Red Oak, TX, homes from storm and water damage during hurricane season.

Water damage and storm damage in Red Oak, TX, and the surrounding area are sources of stress for homeowners. The professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian regularly witness the impact of a property damage disaster on homeowners and their families. Technicians are ready 24/7 to respond rapidly and provide cleanup and restoration services in the aftermath of a tropical storm, hurricane, or other form of severe weather.

North Texas is no stranger to hurricanes, tropical storms, and other regional weather events. Local residents are often reminded by urgent weather alerts that the threat of severe weather requires property owners to take measures to protect their homes from storm damage during hurricane season.

What do weather alerts mean?

The National Weather Service defines the three types of tropical disturbances as follows:

  • A tropical depression has maximum sustained surface winds of up to 38 miles per hour. At 25 mph to 31 mph, a strong breeze causes large branches to sway continuously. Near gale winds are rated at 32 to 38 mph. At this point, entire trees are in motion, and walking against winds with this sustained velocity is uncomfortable.
  • A tropical storm has maximum sustained surface winds from 39 mph to 74 mph. The term “tropical storm” can lead property owners to underestimate the power of this tropical disturbance. At 39 mph to 46 mph, gale-force wind litters the ground with broken twigs and small branches. Walking is impeded and can be dangerous for people who have difficulties with balance. Strong gale winds at velocities ranging from 47 to 54 mph cause structural damage. Roofing tiles are blown off, and light residential flag poles and TV antennas may sustain damage. The ground is littered with many small twigs and broken branches. At 55 to 63 mph, whole gale winds cause substantial structural damage to roofs. Small trees may be toppled and uprooted. Storm force winds at 64 to 75 mph cause widespread damage. Larger trees are toppled, potentially damaging homes, sheds, and vehicles. Personal injury can be caused by flying debris, falling limbs, and hail traveling at high velocity.
  • A hurricane has maximum sustained surface winds of 74 miles an hour and above. Hurricane-force winds cause severe and extensive property damage and put lives in danger. Entire roofs can separate from a structure and cause severe collateral damage to other homes, vehicles, and buildings. Windows shatter from debris impact and the sheer force of the wind against the panes. Trees are snapped off at the trunk or are entirely uprooted. RVs and small mobile homes are overturned and destroyed. Moving vehicles can be forced off of the roadway.

How to prepare for hurricane season

The key to being prepared for hurricane season is to take one step at a time. Otherwise, the effort may grind to a halt under the weight of everything that needs to be accomplished to prevent property damage. Begin by making the landscape hurricane-proof.

At velocities of 75 mph and above, hurricane-force winds can make dangerous missiles out of landscaping materials. Once launched by the fierce winds, these “missiles” can shatter windows and doors. The bulk of the property damage from hurricanes is caused by rain entering the structure through broken doors, windows, and openings in the roof. Upgrading the home to protect against hurricane damage is expensive, but it can be accomplished in affordable stages.

Steps to protect against property damage from a hurricane

  1. Remove rock or gravel landscaping material. Airborne gravel and rocks can not only break windows, penetrate siding, and damage doors, but they can also damage vehicles. Instead, use bark mulch which is lighter and less likely to cause as much damage.
  2. Hire a certified, bonded, and insured arborist to remove weak or dead branches and trees and to maintain the overall treescape. In addition to improving safety, well-manicured trees can also add as much as twenty percent to the overall value of a home and should be treated as an investment.
  3. Install storm shutters to protect windows from breakage. Plywood panels cut to fit each window can be installed in advance of an oncoming storm or hurricane.
  4. Reinforce exterior doors so that they are hurricane-proof. Doors should have three hinges and a deadbolt lock that is at least one inch in length.
  5. Cover sliding glass doors with plywood during a storm.
  6. Replace older garage doors and tracks with wind-rated and impact-rated products to protect the contents of the garage from water damage and to prevent massive structural damage to the roof from wind pressure.
  7. Seal outside wall openings such as outdoor electrical outlets, vents, garden hose bibs, and other openings for pipes and cables. A high-quality urethane-based caulk is best to prevent water penetration.
  8. Securely anchor boats, canoes, or kayaks so that they do not become dangerous projectiles. Review the boat insurance policy for the terms and conditions of coverage. Transporting the boat to another location may be the best solution.

Since 2000, SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian has been serving the community, and the company is locally owned. Centrally located in Ellis County and backed by a nationwide system of qualified franchises, the water damage restoration company specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

For more information about storm damage restoration in Red Oak, TX, contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com

Dealing With Water Damaged Insulation After Storm Damage

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian explains how to deal with wet insulation from a roof leak caused by storm damage.

Storm-related water damage in Midlothian, TX, can often strike without warning. When severe weather leads to a water damage disaster, the SERVPRO professionals can quickly restore the damaged property. The restoration experts specialize in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

How to deal with wet insulation resulting from storm damage in Midlothian, TX

If insulation is exposed to water and moisture from a leak or roof damage, it loses its insulating capacity. The same wet insulation also becomes a health hazard. If the water intrusion is allowed to continue, the insulation can retain enough water to collapse ceilings and weaken the structural integrity of the home. In most cases, when a roof leak saturates insulation, the insulation almost always requires replacement.

Wet insulation harms the roof, the building, and its occupants

Attic insulation is situated immediately below the roof. A leak permits water seepage through the roof’s outer membrane. The saturated insulation has the potential to cause the roof to deteriorate on many fronts.

  • Water-saturated insulation puts a heavy burden on the entire structure. Over a long duration, the constant weight causes warping and other structural damage.
  • Moisture trapped in insulation gradually degrades the entire roofing system. The damage will not stop at the decking but will spread to the rest of the structure, compromising the integrity of the entire building.
  • Long-term exposure to moisture causes roofing fasteners to corrode. Steel studs and wall ties begin to rust, crack and break. The resulting loss of structural integrity reduces wind-uplift ratings in the roof. In severe weather, the results could be catastrophic.
  • Wet insulation is a prime breeding ground for mold and bacteria, which can cause health effects.

Wet insulation negatively impacts R-value and the energy efficiency of a home or business

Dry insulation functionally repels energy. Hot air stays outside. Cool air stays inside, or vice versa. Wet insulation conducts energy. In other words, the wet insulation fails to perform its intended task. Heating costs will reflect the loss of efficiency. Summer cooling costs will also reflect the price impact of the lost efficiency.

Water-logged insulation will have a diminished “R-Value.” The “R-value” gauges thermal resistance. Insulating materials with a higher R-Value are more effective at resisting heat transfer. Water-saturated insulation forfeits up to forty percent of its R-Value. The increase in energy bills can be dramatic and financially painful for the bottom line.

How do different types of insulation respond to water intrusion?

Insulation types vary widely in cost, application, efficiency, and response to water saturation.

  1. Wood fiber insulation, for example, can soak up surrounding moisture and compromise a wide area of a roof.
  2. Isocyanurate, a rigid thermal foam insulation, can be dried out and put back in place.
  3. Open-celled foam insulation, which is relatively economical, contains tiny cells that are not entirely closed. This insulation contains minimal trace chemicals and performs well as an air barrier. Best for interior applications, it is often found in walls due to its sound-reduction qualities. Because of its sponge-like texture and absorption qualities, open-celled foam insulation is inappropriate for exterior applications.
  4. Closed-cell foam insulation has a more compact structure that provides an excellent barrier to both air and moisture. Roofers favor this type of insulation because it withstands the elements without compromising R-value.

What if storm damage leads to water-saturated insulation?

A water intrusion incident can create a nightmare for the homeowner or business if certain types of insulation are involved. These tips will help property owners navigate their way through a storm damage disaster that results in wet insulation.

  1. Know the types of insulation in the structure, how each type responds to exposure to moisture, and whether or not the insulation can be restored.
  2. After severe weather, inspect the roof for damage from high winds, hail, debris, and perforations from fallen limbs or trees.
  3. Inspect the attic for subtle roof leaks that may have introduced water and moisture into the attic insulation.
  4. If water or moisture intrusion is detected, enlist the services of a property damage restoration company with the knowledge, expertise, and equipment to mitigate the water intrusion and appropriately manage the wet insulation.

Hidden water and moisture that is left untreated can slowly undermine the structural integrity of a home or building and lead to a mold infestation that can put residents, employees, and customers at risk for health effects. Each roof has its own set of unique insulation requirements. Among all these variables, one thing is certain when a roof leak is discovered: wet insulation must be addressed as soon as possible.

For more information about water damage restoration services by SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian, contact the water damage restoration company by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

How Hail Can Cause Roof Leaks That Lead to a Water Damage Disaster

3/3/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian explains how relatively small-sized hail can lead to large-scale water damage that requires the services of a water damage restoration company.

The water damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Waxahachie /  Midlothian know that a water damage disaster can strike at any time and often without warning, such as during severe weather. When water damage occurs, life is suddenly filled with stress and worry. The SERVPRO professionals are the premier cleanup and restoration company in the region who can quickly restore the damaged property.

How Hail Can Cause Roof Leaks and Water Damage

Hail can damage a roof, leading to leaks and serious water damage if left unrepaired. What might be a small issue, in the beginning, can spiral into a major water damage disaster requiring both roof repair and water damage restoration for a Waxahachie home or business.

According to roofing experts, “The average hailstorm lasts only five minutes, but the hail damage they leave behind totals about $1 billion a year, according to the National Weather Service. When hail hits, it can damage the roof of your home as well as other personal property… Hail damage on a roof looks like indentations and/or fractures on the shingle’s surface. Hailstones vary in size, shape, and hardness and can create a random pattern of dents or depressions.”

Hail size impacts roof damage.

Generally, the larger the hailstone, the greater the damage it can inflict. However, other factors come into play when dealing with hail damage, such as the shape of the individual hailstone and the speed at which the hail impacts the roof.

Hailstones form when warm updrafts carry water droplets to high altitudes where the temperatures are frigid. The droplets freeze and combine until they are heavy enough to escape the updrafts. At about one-quarter inch in diameter, hailstones begin their downward plummet. Amazingly, hailstones can range in size from a small pea to larger than a softball and can weigh as much as one pound.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the largest hailstone on record in the US measured over eight inches in diameter and weighed over a pound. While small, pea-sized hail rarely damages a roof, dime-sized and quarter-sized hail often severely damages a roof.

Shape can impact hail damage.

The hail formation process creates hailstones of various shapes and sizes. On rare occasions, some hailstones can develop sharp points or edges. When that is the case, small hail can cause great damage. Homeowners should be aware that small hailstones with jagged edges can puncture shingles that have been recently installed. A roof inspection after a hailstorm is a wise course of action.

Hail speed impacts roof damage.

Hail begins its descent from as high as 30,000 feet and will gather speed until terminal velocity or top speed is reached. Wind direction and speed can influence a hailstone’s speed. Wind-driven pea-sized hail impacting a roof at high velocity can compromise the shingles’ ability to keep out moisture. Hailstones the size of baseballs or larger can reach speeds greater than 100 miles per hour. Most roofs are no match for such a fierce barrage.

Roofing materials impact hail damage.

The highest quality thirty-year laminated roofing shingles act as armor in a hailstorm. Best quality shingles can still sustain damage under the onslaught of large, jagged hailstones impacting the roof at high speeds. Other roofing materials such as metal, tile, slate, and synthetics are durable, but the impact from a four-inch hailstone traveling at speeds over 100 miles an hour will at least inflict a measure of cosmetic damage to even the toughest of roofing materials.

The age of the roof impacts hail damage.

A 3-tab asphalt shingle will last from 12-15 years. A well-maintained metal roof will endure for sixty or more years. Architectural laminated shingles are rated at thirty years. All roofing materials will lose durability over time. Homeowners with older roofs should be vigilant in their watch for roof leaks after severe weather, especially weather involving hail and high winds.

The Danger of Small Hail Damage

Small hail damage may require a trained eye to spot. Small damage can lead to small leaks that, if left unrepaired, can cause big problems such as rotted support beams, mold-infested insulation, ceiling stains, and damage to items stored in the attic. The advanced secondary water damage will only worsen if not treated promptly by a skilled water damage restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian.

For more information about water damage restoration in Waxahachie, TX, and Midlothian, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.