Thunderstorm Facts & Causes
Severe Thunderstorm Facts
Thunderstorms are defined as storms that produce thunder and lightning. Severe thunderstorms may also produce:
- High winds
- Sleet or snow
It’s important to note that thunderstorms do not always produce moisture. A storm in which you see lightning and hear thunder but never feel a drop of water is known as a “dry” thunderstorm. Thunderstorms that produce hail and tornadoes are known as “supercell” storms. Storms occur either in clusters or lines; therefore, they may present as a single thunderstorm or as multiple thunderstorms hitting one after the other.
Thunderstorms are caused when moisture from the lower or mid-level part of the atmosphere mixes with warm, unstable air from the ground. Moisture and air then push upwards into the higher atmosphere to form clouds that produce thunder and lightning, as well as potential precipitation. Spring, summer and fall are most conducive to thunderstorms because the sun heats the ground and moisture is more perceptible in the air, especially in humid climates.
Thunderstorms must also be lifted to begin their formation. Some sources of lift include:
- More heat on the ground than in the air
- Changes in atmospheric conditions near mountains
- Weather front changes caused by clashing cold and hot air
- Drylines, or when moist and dry air clash
- Land or sea breezes
Any of these situations can immediately create a thunderstorm without warning, even in the middle of a clear blue day. In many cases, these storms will also be accompanied by lightning. Most will not come with hail or tornadoes, unless they occur in tornado-prone states such as Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri.
Winds can reach at least 300 miles per hour during a severe thunderstorm, which can rip siding off your home and exacerbate the pelting of your exterior with hail and debris as well. Wind damage repairs can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of the injury. While you can’t prepare for flying debris from other houses, you can minimize damage by curtailing debris in your own yard. To prevent wind damage, you can:
- Trim back tree branches to prevent fallen limbs.
- Secure window shutters to defend against debris.
- Tie down anything that could fly away and hit the siding or the roof.
If your siding is looking worse for wear, have a siding professional come out to repair it. It could make the difference in whether you’re left with an intact home exterior after a storm or not.
Tornado damage occurs following high winds from blowing debris. While you can’t do a lot to prepare your home for a tornado, it helps to trim tree branches back from your roof and windows. You can also reinforce your roof to better handle high winds:
- Shake roof: Add more nails.
- Slate roof: Seal down with cement.
- Tile roof: Place a steel strap over the tiles.
- Asphalt roof: Nothing can be done, but inspect after.
You can also invest in a storm cellar, which is built underground and allows great defense against high winds during a tornado. A storm shelter is built close to the home so you have easy access during a tornado and don’t have to run far for safety. A storm cellar door is built at an angle so that debris blows over the door. This allows for debris to roll over the door rather than trap it, so you can get in and out easily. The confines of a storm cellar for a family is around 8 by 12 feet with an arched roof. It’s made of cement blocks and rebar to ensure maximum defenses.
Flooding can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damages to your home. To prepare your home for potential flooding, ensure that the ground is sloped away from your foundation. This will defend your home against water buildup. Also, regularly maintain any storm drains, gutters and downspouts. Other tips include:
- Cleaning gutters regularly
- Check and clean storm drains on a bimonthly basis
- Clean the storm drain cover
- Check window wells and sump pumps
- Construct barriers to stop flood water from getting into your home.
- Raise your heating system to a higher floor level to avoid flood water.
- Seal cracks in the basement walls.
If you find yourself faced with flooding in your home, it is vital that you contact the right professionals right away, which should include emergency plumbers and water damage repair like SERVPRO of Catonsville 410-242-7370. Do know though that while an immediate reaction can help mitigate damage, it is just as important to give your plumbing system the care and attention it deserves.
Flooding In Your Home After A Storm
If your home is flooded following a severe thunderstorm, there are various steps you can take to recover your home. It’s going to be a long process, involve a lot of tearing up, remodeling and time, but your home will go back to its original state eventually. Some recommendations from the CDC include:
- Wear safety gear.
- Get rid of anything that can’t be cleaned (bedding, fabric flooring, upholstery, toys, linens)
- Throw away drywall and insulation that’s wet.
- Deep clean and scrub hard surfaces with hot water and dish detergent.
- Use fans, A/C units and dehumidifiers to speed the drying process.
- Wash all clothing touched by flood water with hot water and laundry detergent.
Be aware of electrical power lines, natural gas lines, frayed wires and any other hazards from flooding that could injure you. You should check with the gas company or the fire department before returning to your home to avoid injury. Do not return to your home during the day to avoid any accidents from being unable to see. You shouldn’t be allowed to return until the police or fire department say it’s okay. You should also not wade in standing water or around downed power lines, just in case.
If you need help with the big part of the recovery job — pulling up carpet, taking down drywall, removing appliances, so forth — you can SERVPRO of Catonsville to help you 410-242-7370. These professionals are licensed and experienced in handling situations like flood recovery and know where to start. They can also look out for disaster-specific issues like mold, foundation issues and the like.
Storm Safety Tips
Thunderstorm Safety Tips
To keep your home and family safe before and during a thunderstorm, it’s imperative that you take precautionary measures — especially if you live in an area prone to storms.
To prepare for a thunderstorm, we recommend:
- Putting together an emergency kit and family plan
- Removing debris and branches
- Securing outdoor objects that could blow away or damage the home
- Staying inside your home
- Closing all exterior windows and doors
- Unplugging all electronic equipment before the storm.
While there isn’t much you can do to prevent a severe thunderstorm, you can keep the damages to a minimum by securing as much in your home as possible and reinforcing the defenses around your home exterior. Tie down your roofing or seal it with mortar, call SERVPRO of Catonsville to clean up all the debris within and around your house.We are storm damage professionals who can come in following a natural disaster and help with the recovery. SERVPRO of Catonsville 410-242-7370
Facts About Flooding & Water Damage
Here are some interesting flood facts that might surprise you:
- Floods ranked #1 in the United States for natural disasters.
- Two feet of rushing water can easily carry a car away.
- Flash floods are known to bring walls of water 10 to 15 feet high.
- There is a risk of 1 in 4 chances of a flood damaging your home with a 30 year period in a high-risk area.
- Homes in high-risk flood areas are more likely to suffer from water damage than fire damage.
- Most basic homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage.
- Areas experiencing new land development are at an increased risk of flooding, especially if the construction changes the natural runoff paths.
- For the last decade, total flood insurance claims averages more than $3.4 billion per year.
Now that you know some interesting facts about floods, how can you prevent floods from damaging your home? Below are a couple of tips on ways you can prevent water damage from floods.
Check for dark spots and other signs of water damage under your pipes and inside cabinets. Check for water stains on ceilings and for toilets that aren’t secure. Take a moment to inspect your roof for missing or loose shingles. Repair any cracked caulking and check your windows and door frames for any damage or gaps.
If you find a leak and you put off fixing it, it could lead to an even bigger water damage disaster or even mold growth. Don’t delay addressing water damage – you may not be able to see the extent of the damage until it is too late.
If your property does suffer water damage, contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Catonsville to handle cleanup and restoration. We provide emergency response 24/7 and will respond quickly in your time of need. Contact us 410-242-7370
Most Common Causes of Fires in Commercial Buildings
Fires due to equipment failures might make headlines but 85 percent of the fires that occur in commercial buildings are due to human error or intent, reports Maine Municipal Association Risk Management Services (MMARMS).
Over 3,000 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occur every year in the US because of fire and fires consume $10 billion in property damage costs annually. MMARMS reports that 70-80,000 workplaces experience fire every year, causing disruption of public services and utilities and the loss of valuable property and information.
Arson is the leading cause of damage, death and workplace injuries that occur in commercial buildings. Arson doesn’t just financially affect a business owner or company, it injures or kills workers and fire fighters; it results in job loss for many; and fire can easily spread to other buildings and damage public utilities. The motive for arson might be a way to camouflage other crimes, it can be instigated by an unhappy worker or client, or arson may occur due to mental instability. Economic and political grievances may lie behind an arson attack and arson may be committed in cases of insurance fraud. Simple vandalism is another common cause of arson.
FM Global hazards manager George Capko points out that fires in warehouses are rare compared to those that occur in commercial buildings where people work. A smoldering cigarette, a forgotten coffee pot or a paper-laden computer are common causes of commercial fires.
Fire risk increase the higher the number of people that work in a building: it’s the use of equipment rather than the equipment itself that is usually the cause of a commercial fire.
If your property does suffer fire damage, contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Catonsville to handle cleanup and restoration. We provide emergency response 24/7 and will respond quickly in your time of need. Contact us 410-242-7370
Preventing Water Damage in a Commercial Building
According to disaster safety.org, here are some items to keep in mind to prevent water damage in a commercial building. When looking at your property, keep in mind that it isn't always the obvious that causes water damage.
Grounds maintenance and landscaping are major components of the interconnected systems that work together to protect a commercial building from water damage. In sometimes unexpected ways these outdoor activities and elements can have sudden and extreme impact on the building itself.
The Building Envelope
All buildings are different, but each is at risk for water damage. From a minor roof leak to violently destructive hurricanes, any unwanted water intrusion can significantly impact the value of a commercial property. Protecting the roofs, walls, windows, and other components of ‘the envelope’ are essential to reduce the likelihood of water damage.
Proper operation and maintenance of the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system is essential to reduce the risk of water damage to a commercial building.
SERVPRO Of Catonsville is IICRC trained and certified to clean up after all types of water damage. The quicker we get in to clean up, the less damage there will be and you can get back to operating your business!
Protect your Commercial Building from Water Damage
Water Damage and Your Business
Every day, thousands of commercial buildings experience water damage. In some cases, the damage is from storms or flash floods. In others, it is simply from a leak. Quite often the damage is from a fire being extinguished -- in fact, counter-intuitively, most fires result in more water damage than fire damage. Water is the most common type of damage that commercial buildings experience. When it is not dealt with promptly and effectively, the problem can rapidly grow from a minor issue to something costing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. SERVPRO of Catonsville can help.
Here are a few suggestions for how to best protect your business from water damage and minimize the fall-out when something does happen:
Prepare An Emergency Plan
Given how integral water is to all life and most industries, it is almost guaranteed that a commercial building will have to deal with water damage at some point. Thus, one of the best things a business owner can do is prepare for that inevitability ahead of time to keep losses to a minimum. Because water damage in Catonsville can grow exponentially if not addressed immediately, time is of the essence. Be prepared by having a company like SERVPRO of Catonsville on your speed dial.
Your emergency plan should include:
A blueprint is showing where the shut-off points are for water, electricity and gas plus a set of instructions on how to shut them down fast.
A conveniently located toolbox.
A list of emergency phone numbers, such as the fire department, plumbers, SERVPRO of Catonsville, emergency personnel, and police.
After you have an emergency plan in place for your commercial building, you should focus on prevention. Inspecting vulnerable areas is a good practice.
Inspect Your Roof Regularly
Check all rooftop penetrations, both interior and exterior.
Look for water stains.
Check all flashing, drains and seals.
Inspect Your Walls Regularly
Check wall joints around doors and windows.
Check flashing and sealant integrity.
Inspect Your Windows Regularly
Check for air seal integrity.
Test all locks and other mechanical parts.
Check flashing and joints.
Look for water stains or mold growth on window sills and interior walls.
Emergency plans and inspections are both measures to lessen any disruption to your commercial building.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
SERVPRO of Catonsville is locally owned and operated—so we live and work here too, and are proud to be part of the Catonsville community. We're Faster to Any Disaster.
We are just a phone call away to help.410-242-7370