Recent Storm Damage Posts

Storms increase awareness in Southeastern states

8/27/2020 (Permalink)

Gainesville Florida storm preparedness With Hurricane Laura hitting Texas and Louisiana, now's the time to check over your emergency storm checklist.

Advanced planning in the Gainesville-Alachua County area is key

With Hurricane Laura making landfall in Texas and Louisiana, the summer/fall storm season is ramping up throughout the Southeastern states and we need to be diligent in preparation in the Gainesville and Alachua County area.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a warning earlier in August stating an “extremely active hurricane season possible for Atlantic Basin” and urging preparedness as we enter the peak months.

At SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West, we take storm season seriously as we either travel to affected regions or stay in our home area of  North-Central Florida to respond to damage resulting from high winds, rain and flooding.

Like any emergency, you want to plan in advance. The State of Florida website offers a comprehensive list for kits, how to secure your home, and dealing with power outages that includes the following:

Hurricane Kits

It is important to create a kit of supplies that you could take with you if you are forced to evacuate. This kit will also be useful if you are able to stay in your home, but are still affected by the storm, such as through the loss of power. One common trend seen when hurricanes are approaching is a wide-spread panic. When this happens, people rush in large numbers to get all the supplies they think they need. However, if you prepare your kit ahead of time, you can alleviate a lot of the potential stress of a very chaotic situation. You should create your kit in a bag that you can easily take with you. Some recommended items to include are:

  • Non-perishable food (enough to last at least 3 days)
  • Water (enough to last at least 3 days)
  • First-aid kit (include any prescription medication you may need)
  • Personal hygiene items and sanitation items
  • Flashlights (have extra batteries on hand)
  • Battery operated radio (again, have extra batteries)
  • Waterproof container with cash and important documents
  • Manual can opener
  • Lighter or matches
  • Books, magazines, games for recreation
  • Special needs items: pet supplies and baby supplies if applicable
  • Cooler and ice packs
  • A plan for evacuation and for if family members are separated

Securing Your Home

Know how to secure your home in the event of damaging winds, storm surge and flooding.

  • Cover all your windows, either with hurricane shutters or wood.
  • Although tape can prevent glass from shattering everywhere, be warned that tape does not prevent the window from breaking.
  • If possible, secure straps or clips to securely fasten your roof to the structure of your home.
  • Make sure all trees and shrubs are trimmed and clear rain gutters.
  • Reinforce your garage doors.
  • Bring in all outdoor furniture, garbage cans, decorations, and anything else that is not tied down.
  • If winds become strong, stay away from windows and doors and close, secure and brace internal doors.

Power Outages

In the event a storm should leave you without power, there are a few things to consider and help you be ready and stay safe outside of your normal hurricane preparedness.

  • Gas: Make sure your tank is full far in advance of an approaching storm. Most people wait until the last minute, rush to get extra gas for cars and generators, and subsequently gas stations can run out early.
  • ATMS: Have extra cash on hand in the event no ATMS in your area are accessible or working.
  • Cell Phones: Charge your cell phone and limit use after power is out.
  • A/C: This can be the most uncomfortable side effect of losing power during a storm. Try to prevent as much light from entering and warming the house by covering up your windows on the inside. If you have back-up or battery-operated fans, don't run them unless you are in the room. Fans create a difference in perceived temperature but do not cool the room; instead, they create a cooling effect by dispersing the heat off your skin. It is said they can actually add heat to a room just by running.
  • Water: Fill bathtub and large containers with water for washing and flushing only.
  • Food: Turn your fridge temperature down and/or freeze any food or drinking water that can be frozen if you expect a power outage. Here is a guide on freezing food: Freezing and Food Safety. Have a cooler with ice packs prepared to cool your drinks and snacks after power has been out for more than 4 hours. 
  • Health/Safety: The CDC has a great guide on how to stay safe in the event of a power outage: Power Outages

And if tragedy strikes and your house floods, a tree crashes into your roof and exposes the attic and rooms below to water damage, or a power outage causes your HVAC to go out creating a possible mold situation, call on SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West at 352-374-6589. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to start working on your home or business disaster and make it "Like it never even happened."

Hurricane Isaias prompts call for storm preparedness

7/31/2020 (Permalink)

Storm preparedness Don't let the slow 2020 hurricane season to date keep you from being prepared at your business or residence.

With Hurricane Isaias moving toward Florida, it is a good time to check over your severe weather preparedness for the remainder of the hurricane season that begins June 1 and runs through November 30.

While it may be difficult to prepare for the unpredictable, there are steps you can take now to ensure you are ready when disaster strikes. One way to prepare your business for any type of disaster, is to establish an Emergency READY Profile (ERP). Contact SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West to learn more about the ERP and how it can help you.

Consider the following tips when preparing for an approaching storm for both your business and even your home. 

Before the Storm

  • Build an emergency supply kit and develop a communication plan.
  • Unplug any electronic equipment before the storm arrives.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.               
  • If you are outdoors, get inside a building, home, or hard top vehicle (not a convertible).
  • Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains.

During the Storm

  • Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
  • Avoid contact with corded phones. Cordless and cellular phones are safe to use.
  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords.
  • Unplug appliances and other electrical items, such as computers. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
  • Stay away from windows and doors.

After the Storm

  • Never drive through a flooded roadway.
  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.

Below is a recommended item for basic emergency supply list

  • Water (one gallon per person per day)
  • Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery operated radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Clothing
  • Dust Masks or bandanas
  • Plastic sheeting, tarps, garbage bags and duct tape
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Hygiene items
  • Important documents; copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account information
  • Cash
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container

Cleaning Up After A Flood

6/19/2020 (Permalink)

Flooded downtown When storms and flooding hit, call SERVPRO to make it "Like it never even happened."

Whether a flood is caused by heavy rain, creek overflows or a sewer blockage, it can leave your business or residence in North Central Florida crippled. During time of high waters, you may have to abandon your property until the proper authorities have deemed it safe to return. And after the flood, grey or black water has receded, you’ll be left with lots of cleanup. You can either do this yourself or work in tandem with a professional restoration company to help you figure out which contents of yours can be saved and how to go about content cleaning.

Take Time to Assess
After the water has been removed, you will have to assess each piece of content on its own. Some items may be too waterlogged or mold ridden to save because of the porous material used to create it. If this is the case, your only option may be to throw away the content and possibly replace it at a later date.

Other contents may only need a little love and care to be brought back to former glory. Pieces made of non-porous material are more likely to be saved. However, even some of these items could be beyond repair, depending on how long they were sitting in the water.

Start Content Cleaning
Once you have figured out what is worth saving, you need to start your journey of cleaning your possessions. The following steps may help you through this process:

  • Use proper personal protective equipment, including gloves, goggles, and masks.
  • Rinse off black water by using a fresh water source
  • Give the items time to dry by hanging them in the sun or using a dryer
  • Hand or machine wash items based on their cleaning instructions


These four steps can help you start the process of cleaning. However, more complex items could require more preparation before the actual cleaning stage is able to take place.

Find Help
Removing water and mold from your premises can be a long and grueling process. When you turn to the help of a professional restoration service like SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West, you take advantage of expert knowledge and top-notch equipment that may speed up your recovery. Call us today at 352-374-6589 if you need our assistance or have any questions.

The devastation of storms is not always a huge event such as a hurricane. Which is why we always are SERVPRO ready.

4/8/2020 (Permalink)

map of Santa Fe river basin with tributaries The Santa Fe River basin is prone to flooding caused by above average rain fall.

Floridians are no stranger to the devastating flooding caused in coastal and low-lying areas caused my tropical storms and hurricanes.  With our forecasting systems in place, we had ample warning to get out of harm’s way before landfall in most cases.  Unfortunately, there is a silent creeping storm that many in North Central Florida have experienced in the past, flooding from above average rainfall and thunderstorms in South Georgia and North Florida.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac’s long-range forecast, Northern Florida and Southern Georgia can expect a much wetter April and May extending into the summer.  As many long-time residents along the local rivers such as the Santa Fe, Suwannee, and Ichetucknee have experienced in the past, this can be the precursor for long term flooding of low-lying inland areas especially along the rivers themselves.  This type of flooding can be devastating as it can take the rivers weeks to crest and fall again as your home sits soaking in the black water. 

Once the flooding subsides it is important to call SERVPRO who is always storm ready!  We will send our technicians in to remove flood affected material and stick around to put it all back “Like it never even happened.”  We know what it takes to not only clean up the mess left by receding flood waters, but to do it correctly so that your home is safe once again for your family.

Take advantage of our free ERPs

3/27/2020 (Permalink)

ERP It's best to always be prepared and know where your shutoffs are before an emergency.

It’s easy to be reactive during times of tragedy when a storm or broken water pipe floods your property or a fire torches your home. But being proactive is even better to minimize the loss.

SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West uses the latest technology in order to accelerate the mitigation process, further increasing our value to our customers. Our no-cost assessment Emergency READY Profile is a tool for property managers and owners, both residential and commercial as we create a profile for your building.

By developing a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your home or business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your home or business. We locate your shutoff valves for electric, gas and water, along with list your emergency contacts, to reduce the damage to your facility.

Preparation is the key to making it through any sized disaster, whether it is a large fire or area flood, or just a minor water leak.  Having an Emergency READY Profile may help minimize the time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster.

We have restoration experts available 24 hours a day to get your business back up and running.  Our expertise includes restoration services for fire and water damage, including mold removal and document drying.  

Call SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West at (352) 374-6589 to help with your Emergency READY Profile and be prepared for whatever happens.

With impending hurricane season coming, get familiar with our possible guests for 2020.

3/27/2020 (Permalink)

hurricane names A list for the 2020 hurricane names.

Every year when hurricane season is in full swing, we have the chance to get to know the names and remember the destruction of a new set of super storms.  With names like Andrew, Irma, Katrina, and Michael we come to know them and remember them for years to come, but did you ever wonder just how they got their names?

Years ago, it was realized it was much easier to quickly identify storms in warning messages by names which is far easier to remember than technical terms or latitude and longitude.  It also heightened interest in warnings and contributed to community preparedness.  In the beginning storms were named arbitrarily.  An Atlantic storm that ripped off the mast of a boat named Antje became known as Antje’s hurricane, but then in the mid 1900’s the practice began of using female names for storms.  By the late 1900’s a more efficient naming system began with an organized list arranged alphabetically from A to Z.

Since 1953 Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center which are now maintained by the international committee of the World Meteorological Organization.  In 1979 men’s names were introduced to alternate with the women’s names.  Six lists are used in the rotation, so the list that was used in 2014 will be the list used for 2020. 

The only change to these lists is when a storm is so deadly or costly that for sensitivity reasons it is retired from the list and replaced.  If that occurs, at the annual meeting by the WMO Tropical Cyclone committees, the name is stricken from the list and another name is added based upon the region the list is derived from.  Infamous storm names such as Mangkhut (Philippines, 2018), Irma and Maria (Caribbean, 2017), Haiyan (Philippines, 2013), Sandy (USA, 2012), Katrina (USA, 2005), Mitch (Honduras, 1998) and Tracy (Darwin, 1974) are examples for this.

So, now that you know how hurricanes are named, here is the updated list for 2020:

  1. Arthur 2. Bertha 3. Cristobal       4. Dolly             5. Edouard
    6. Fay               7. Gonzalo        8. Hanna           9. Isaias            10. Josephine
    11. Kyle            12. Laura           13. Marco         14. Nana           15. Omar
    16.Paulette        17. Rene           18. Sally           19. Teddy         20. Vicky
    21. Wilfred

As memorable as some of these names may become, there is one name you need to remember when it comes to storm response and clean-up.  SERVPRO is the only name that can make it “Like it never even happened.”

Are you ready for the impending risk of severe thunderstorm spikes across central and eastern U.S. in the second half of March?

3/11/2020 (Permalink)

Extended Range Tornado Activity Forecast This photo shows the extended range forecast for tornadoes predicted to begin March 16th , 2020.

Here at SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West we are storm ready 24hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  That is because we are part of a global company that supplies backup to a network of storm teams all across the United States.  We constantly have our eye to the skies and have our own meteorologist to keep us up to date, but in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives most people don’t have time to constantly stay up on impending weather hazards that may or may not affect us.

Mid March 2020 has a high potential of having all of the ingredients of the start of the peak of our severe weather season which usually begins in April and extends into May and June.  This means that the potential exists for an extended severe storm season in some areas which increases the likelihood of damage from hail, tornadoes, strong winds and potentially flooding.  Florida is no stranger from such occurrences, but an extended season especially from run off from upper states can have the potential for flooding in low lying areas and around rivers and lakes coupled with the fact that 2019 broke records with 12 months of precipitation for the contiguous U.S.  This also means that if we have an active hurricane season in 2020 the potential for flooding becomes even greater. 

Being storm ready in Florida is important and the potential for damage seems to be great already coming into this new year.  Stock up on supplies and make sure that you have SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West on speed dial because we are “Faster to any size disaster”.

Flood Damage from Deteriorating Washing Machine Hoses

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

washing machine flood Storms are not the only thing that can flood your home.

Flood damage from a washing machine is one of the top five causes of home insurance claims

Most homeowners protect their homes against things such as storms, fire, and burglary, but water damage from malfunctioning or leaking home appliances often gets overlooked, especially when it comes to washing machines.

It seems unlikely, but flood damage from a washing machine is one of the top five causes of home insurance claims. More than half of these claims is from supply hoses which have burst or leaked, so make sure your Jacksonville home is prepared for such an event. Always have the number of a reputable restoration company handy, like SERVPRO, who is experienced in all kinds of flood damage.

Most washing machine hoses fail eventually over time, even when they have been installed properly. They can cause leaks or even catastrophic flooding when they burst. Failure can be due to several things such as installation error, age, poor design and poor-quality materials. Most of these hoses are made of reinforced polymer or rubber. The materials lose resiliency as they age, making them susceptible to leaks, cracks, and bursting.

Inspect Regularly
Many times, fittings and hoses that connect your washing machine to the water source are visible and easy to inspect each time you use the machine. If they are not visible, figure out how to gain access to them so you can inspect them once per month. Look at both the cold and hot water lines. Failures happen near the connection where the hose usually bends. Keep an eye out for:

Signs Of Imminent Failure
Obvious evidence of imminent failure or deterioration should be looked for, such as bulges, blisters, unraveling, cracks, kinks, discoloration, or crimps, especially close to the connections and turns in the hose.

Leaks
Look for drops, moisture, rust, leaks on, in, or around the connections or hoses or in a catch pan, or discoloration. Look at the connects to ensure they are properly tightened. Even a small leak can lead to imminent failure.

Right Positioning
Ensure the washing machine is located four inches at least from the connections, so the hose is not kinked or bent. Make sure the machine is balanced properly, so it is not “walking” when in use, which puts added stress on connections and hoses.

Lastly, aging or damaged hoses should be replaced right away, and make sure that the hoses are properly installed. Knowing where the shut-off valve is as well is important if a hose does fail. Then get in touch in SERVPRO right away so they can help you clean up the flood damage and dry out your home.

Three Steps to Address a Roof Leak

2/5/2020 (Permalink)

A severe storm or high winds can damage the roof of a building, leading to damaged roofing materials and the high probability of a leak. The following are three steps that building owners and managers can do to limit and prevent storm or water damage from leading to secondary problems, such as mold.

1. Tarp the Damaged Roof Until Repaired

As soon as it becomes apparent that a roof is leaking, a building owner or manager should determine the source of the leak. Hire roofing experts to tarp over the damaged area to prevent additional moisture from entering to the interior of the structure.

2. Mitigate Interior Damage

A roof leak can damage materials such as insulation and ceilings. Fiberglass insulation is not designed to withstand moisture and will need to be torn out and replaced. Ceilings may also need to be torn out. It is a good idea to hire an experienced mitigation and restoration company to take the necessary steps toward to prevent more serious problems down the line.

3. Repair the Roof and Restore Damage

Hire a roofer to repair roof damage. It may take some time for the portions of the interior exposed to water to dry out. Do not rush restoration prior to drying, as this may allow conditions conducive to mold growth to persist. Once the affected area is dry, restoration experts should install new insulation and replace all of the damaged building materials.

These three steps can limit the extent of damage resulting from a roof leak at a commercial building or residential home. Regularly inspect a roof after severe storms to look for missing shingles and other indications of damage and get any areas that need repaired addressed immediately.

And remember, SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West can do everything from start to finish in your project. 

Be Prepared for Flooding

3/27/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is prepared

Storm flooding is more prevalent now than ever. The year 2016 saw more floods in the U.S than any other year on record. With extreme rainfall comes the higher potential for flooding in your home or business. If you do have a flood situation, SERVPRO of Alachua County West will be there to help.

We are the drying experts and available 24 hours a day - 7 days a week - 365 days a year.

There are ways to protect your home/business from flooding. Here are some tips to get you started.

KNOW YOUR AREA

Be aware of your surroundings. There are certain places that are more of a flood risk than others.

  • Coastal Areas
  • Sewer Systems nearby
  • Next to a body of Water
  • Property at the Bottom of Hill

PREPARE

There are ways to help prepare your property for a flood. You can make modifications.

For example:

  • Installing check valves to help prevent sewer lines from flooding your drains
  • Installing sump pumps with a battery backup
  • Elevating valuable equipment (furnaces, electric panels, water heaters etc)

KNOW YOUR TERMS

Do you know the difference between a Flood Watch and a Flood Warning?

Flood Watch means flooding is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate.

Flood Warning means a flood is happening or about to happen. EVACUATE immediately if instructed.

SERVPRO of Alachua County West is here for all your restoration needs. We can’t stop the flood from happening, but when we are done cleaning it will be “Like it never even happened”

Call 352-374-6589 for more information or to schedule

Storm seasons for flooding are year round, know your flood risk no matter where you live.

3/25/2019 (Permalink)

Historic flooding near the Omaha NE area as seen by NASA.

There are many causes of flooding, which means that any time of year, depending on the weather and where you live you are at risk for flooding.  In 2016, the US saw more floods than any other year on record, and the stats for 2019 so far show that we may be at risk to break that record again.  Coming out of very active Hurricane seasons over the past few years with massive storm surges along our coasts along with record breaking precipitation such as rain and snow fall in many parts of the US, especially the Midwest, we have already started the first few months with normal and record breaking flooding.  The first thing you can do to prepare is know when to expect flooding based on where you live.

  • Coastal areas are likely to flood between the months of June and November due to hurricane activity.
  • Midwestern areas are likely to flood in the spring and summer due to heavy rains.
  • Northeastern and Northwestern areas are likely to experience flooding in the spring due to ice jams on streams and rivers.
  • Southwestern areas are likely to experience flooding in late summer months due to monsoons.

Your flood risk also depends on manmade and natural bodies of water around your home or business such as rivers, lakes, dams, levees and sewer systems.  Get to know the area you live in and the risks for flooding before disaster strikes. 

Storm Damage Tips

2/5/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage

Storm cleanup is different from regular, and even heavy duty, cleaning. There are hazards, health concerns and other issues that go beyond normal cleaning that require specialty products, tools and cleaning techniques, as well as protective gear and safety measures not required in regular cleaning. After a large storm and flooding, many belongings will be a total loss, but often there are unexpected treasures that can be can be salvaged with the right restoration company and process.

What to Do After Flooding

  • Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.

What NOT to Do After Flooding

  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
  • Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
  • Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't use television or other household appliances.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.

The storm rolls out, we roll in

2/1/2019 (Permalink)

Storm

Unexpected emergencies like severe weather call for immediate action. Immediate reaction to the disaster is important to helping you get your life back to normal.

We SERVPRO professionals are on stand by ready for your call! We will contact you within the hour, be on site within 4 hours and provide you with a verbal briefing of scope within 8 days! How is that for rapid service?

After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

Storms occur with little warning and can be especially devastating, so you’ll need the company that you can trust to rise to the occasion. Regardless of the type of storm, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can handle any size disaster. 

Winter is Here, Start the Year Off Storm Ready!

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

Winter preparedness in the Sunshine State

Welcome to Florida the Sunshine Sate with the most unpredictable storms! As we begin 2019, we would like to share some preparedness tips that will equip you and your family for unforeseen weather conditions.  General year-round preparedness is imperative to ensure safety. Below, you will find some useful tips and reminders.

General Preparedness:

  • Make a communication plan so your family knows how to reconnect and reunite when a disaster strikes.
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kits for home, work and your vehicle, include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies, for adults and children.
  • Create an emergency savings fund and keep cash on hand for emergencies
  • Download the FEMA App and set up local alerts.
  • Monitor radio, TV, or social media and follow instructions of local officials.

Financial Preparedness and Insurance Coverage: 

  • Plan for unexpected out-of-pocket expenses for lodging, food, gas and more
  • Be prepared for the cost of deductibles for insurance and medical co-pays.
  • Having insurance for your home or business property ensures you will have the financial resources needed to help you repair, rebuild or replace whatever is damaged.
  • Keep your coverage for flood insurance, even if your mortgage is paid off.

Protect the life you’ve built. Homeowners, renters and businesses recover more quickly when insured and are prepared ahead of time for unpredictable weather conditions in Florida and all over the world! 

Get A Kit, Make A Plan, Be Informed!

Don't let Florida Winters fool you, always be storm ready.

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

Sever storm weather hitting Florida early December 3rd, 2018

Florida is known for it's sunny weather, and mild winters.  Don't let all the snowbirds fool you as they flock south for the winter, Florida is no stranger to winter storm fronts.  Due to it's mild temperatures and relative humidity, Florida can experience violent storms as cold fronts move southward towards its sunny beaches.  This is evident as a cold front descended towards North Central Florida this morning creating severe thunderstorms and spawning tornado warnings across Suwannee, Columbia and Gilchrist counties that are expected to move south east towards Alachua County throughout the day.

Are you prepared for possible flooding and damaged caused by strong winds and fallen trees?  As a home or business owner you can prepare by keeping a watch on your local weather alerts such as the Alachua County alert page at http://www.alachuacounty.us/Depts/EM/Pages/AlertAlachua.aspx.  You will also want to keep the phone number of SERVPRO of Alachua County West handy for any storm damage needs that you may have, because we are "Faster to any size disaster."

Strong storms hit Gainesville in the early morning hours of 3/19/18… Were you ready?

3/23/2018 (Permalink)

A large tree fell on warehouse in Southwest Gainesville on March 19th, 2018.

Here in Florida, we are used to watching the weather stations in the days leading up to major storm events such as hurricanes, but we often get severe weather that sneaks up on us and does more damage than we expect in our area.  Violent thunderstorms can cause wind, hail, and water damage as well as cause tornadoes and microbursts.  Most of us know what thunderstorms and tornadoes are and what they bring, but a lot of serious storm damage occurs here in Florida due to microbursts.  Most people have heard of them causing plane crashes, but what exactly are they?

  • Micro bursts are mainly formed by single-cell storms (although airmass storms and squall lines can produce them).
  • Microbursts are caused by the rain falling from the cloud. As it falls, it pulls down air with it which starts evaporating the rain, cooling it.  Cooler air is denser than the warm air around it so it descends even faster causing a microburst.
  • There are two types of microbursts, dry and wet. Dry microbursts are more common and are caused when all of the rain evaporates before the air reaches the ground, which can be harder to see them coming and wet microbursts contain rain when they hit the ground.
  • Microbursts can hit the ground at up to 6,000 feet per minute and spread out causing a vortex ring around the outside of the microburst.
  • Winds from a microburst can reach speeds that are similar to an E1 tornado and can cause lots of property damage, such as:
    • Downed trees
    • Roof damage
    • Broken windows and punctured siding from flying debris
    • Destroyed buildings and structures
    • Damage to electrical poles and wires
    • Damage from accompanying hail and heavy rains

That’s why SERVPRO is the best choice in emergency/storm mitigation and restoration, we are always ready, and “Faster to any size disaster” than the competition.  We also have the backing of the largest restoration company in the world behind us, no matter how large or small the storm event is. 

SERVPRO celebrates National Red Cross month after the busy storm season.

3/8/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Alachua County West is proud to be a National partner with the Red Cross.

The 2017-2018 storm season has been one of the most active in recent memory, and as for any storm disaster SERVPRO is there to assist.  Another presence that is there to help others in need is the Red Cross, an organization that is made up of 90% volunteers and of which SERVPRO is a proud national sponsor.  In order to get an idea of what these volunteers which are comprised of our friends, family, neighbors and complete strangers have responded to this year lets recap our storm season.

The 2017 Atlantic storm season was especially deadly and destructive this past year.  The hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th because this is historically the period of the year that most tropical cyclones form.  Here are just a few facts about our 2017 hurricane season.

  • The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season featured 17 named storms.
  • It is the 5th most active season since records began in 1851.
  • All 10 of the active hurricanes this season occurred in a row. This has only happened once before since records began.
  • It was the costliest season on record with over $281 billion dollars in damages and most of the damage was due to 3 of the hurricanes – Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
  • This is season one of only 6 seasons that had multiple category 5 hurricanes.
  • The 2017 season is the only season on record to have 3 hurricanes that had an accumulated cyclone energy score over 40 – Irma, Jose, and Maria.

The 2017/2018 winter storm season has been equally devastating, creating storm scenarios all over the country.  Although, we are still not out of the official storm season, this is what we have seen so far.

  • The month of November began with the highest snow extent in over 15 years, covering over 1/4 of the United States.
  • An early December winter storm affected areas from the deep-south from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up to New England. This meant many areas such as Florida who rarely see snow were affected by extreme cold, ice, snowfall.
  • This December storm system left up to 400,000 people without power, closed schools and roads and left 3 people dead.
  • A post-Christmas early January cold wave left us with cities in Minnesota and Indiana having record breaking cold temperatures.
  • Times Square recorded the second coldest temperature on New Year’s Eve during festivities on record.
  • A severe blizzard swept across the country early January. This bomb cyclone dumped snow, freezing rain and caused coastal flooding which is attributed to at least 22 fatalities and cancelled 4,020 flights across the U.S.
  • Mid-January sent 2 more winter storms causing freezing temperatures, freezing pipes, and snow throughout the country. The city of Galveston had hundreds of pipes freeze and burst which depleted their water reserves to drought levels and bridges in Florida had to be closed due to ice after the 3 time of receiving snowfall this winter season.

These are just a few facts about our storm seasons this year, and they make us feel grateful for not only our self-less storm team members, but also our partners at the Red Cross who make up an amazing network of volunteers across the country. 

Are you prepared for the "Storm" if Phil sees his shadow?

2/2/2018 (Permalink)

Phil is watching the radar... are you?

Everyone is watching and waiting to see the groundhog's prediction for 6 more weeks of winter.  The winter storm season has already wreaked havoc on many parts of the United States slowing businesses, schools, and lives in the process. 

"Did you know that winter storms are the third largest cause of catastrophic losses, behind only hurricanes and tornadoes?"

Can we handle another 6 weeks of winter storms?  The answer is yes, with SERVPRO's storm team in action 24 hours a day 7 days a week, you can.  SERVPRO is the largest restoration company in the world and we take pride in having the largest support network and the most expertise in combating any storm, winter, spring, summer and fall.

So remember while Phil is hiding in his den scared of his own shadow, our technicians are braving the elements to be "Faster to any size disaster."

What is one thing that sets SERVPRO above the rest? STORM Team!

1/24/2018 (Permalink)

Winter storm Jaxson is just the newest winter storm of the season, and one of the many reasons our STORM team is ready at a moment's notice.

There are many restoration companies out there that offer many of the same services as SERVPRO of Alachua County West.  It can make it hard for a homeowner going through the throes of a disaster to make an educated decision on who to choose and why.  There are many factors that make SERVPRO the best choice, such as our state of the art Drying program designed and operated specifically by only SERVPRO franchises, or our products which are formulated specifically by and for SERVPRO, but our storm team may be one of the biggest reasons to call SERVPRO.

SERVPRO storm teams travel all over the United States to areas with a large disaster such as floods, hurricanes, blizzards, fires, and ice storms.  This has enabled our customers to have a veritable network of disaster restoration technicians at their fingertips with the large amounts of equipment needed to begin the restoration process while smaller companies are overwhelmed by the volume of restoration needed.  It also means that our technicians and production employees have knowledge way beyond a company that services one area who may see disaster infrequently and only certain types of disasters.  This knowledge is also used and compiled in training mandatory to all SERVPRO franchises.  During winter storm Grayson when Floridians actually saw snow and ice in parts of Florida, our technicians were well versed in dealing with the aftermath of freezing temperatures due to having assisted other SERVPRO franchises in other states during winter storm disasters.

Our STORM team is just one of the many reasons that SERVPRO is “Faster to any size disaster.”

Are you prepared for Winter Storm Grayson?

1/3/2018 (Permalink)

Satellite imagery of expected areas to be impacted by damaging ice from rain, snow, and freezing temperatures.

As Floridians are deep within the grasps of winter storm Grayson, it is never too late to think of winter storm safety for your family and your home.  Most people think of sub-tropical climates and sunshine here in the sunshine state, but Florida does have a past of winter cold and precipitation.

Florida Cold Weather Facts:

*The coldest temperature recorded in Florida was –2°F in Tallahassee on February 13, 1899. At the same time, snow up to three Inches deep was reported by several cities in the Panhandle.

*Snow has been reported numerous times throughout the state. On January 19, 1977, snow fell on Miami, Florida and was seen in Homestead, Florida (which is 22 miles south of Miami).

*The deepest snowfall ever measured in Florida (four inches), occurred in Milton on March 6, 1954.

The State of Florida Emergency Management office as well as the National Weather Service urges all Floridians to practice The 5 P's of Cold Weather Safety:

1.)Protect People - Dress in layers and wear a hat and gloves. It is important to try to stay out of the wind and to stay dry. Also, remember to check on young children and the elderly who are most sensitive to cold weather.

2.)Protect Pets - If cold weather is in the forecast, be sure to bring outdoor pets inside or give them a warm shelter to stay in.

3.)Protect Plants - Cover cold-sensitive plants to protect them from the dangerous temperatures.

4.)Protect Pipes - Cover exposed outdoor pipes and allow outdoor faucets to slowly drip to prevent from freezing and breaking.

5.)Practice Fire Safety - Use safe heating sources indoors. Do not use fuel-burning devices such as grills; they release carbon monoxide, which is a deadly gas. Also, make sure to use space heaters according to their instructions and be attentive to open flames.

Lastly, don't forget to have SERVPRO of Alachua County West's phone number ready in case your preparedness still leaves your home in need of emergency services from broken pipes, water damage, or fire.

Are you prepared for winter weather?

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

As your frozen pipes thaw, they crack and break leaving you with a disaster.

Many people who do not live in the Sunshine State have no idea that it can get cold, and even have freezing conditions here in Florida.  Due to our sub-tropic climate and mobile housing, proper precautions are often not taken when installing and weather proofing plumbing in and under our homes.  When we have freezing temperature and rains our plumbing is often exposed and can freeze overnight without a heat source or keeping water running through-out our pipes.  Although frozen pipes can be a hassle when you are tying to make that pot of coffee, or take that morning shower, but the real damage begins as the Florida sun comes out and the frozen water begins to thaw and expand within causing them to burst, and causing water damage to your home.  Be prepared for colder weather by weatherproofing your exposed pipes, placing a heat lamp at your well, or by leaving a faucet running as temperatures drop.  If these measures fail, make sure that you have SERVPRO of Alachua County West's number handy to quickly begin to mitigate any damage that occurs!