Category Archives: Flood

Home Inspections – Good Idea

Having a home inspection every few years is a great idea and can save a homeowner a lot of money and headaches, says Jason R. Hanson, president of Primo Coach, LLC, based in the metropolitan Washington, DC area.

Hanson adds that finding a “qualified” home inspector is tricky. “There are organizations out there such as The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors and The American Society of Home Inspectors that are reputable but others only require that you take a class and pay a fee to be a ‘home inspector’.”

In a nutshell, inspect your home and your home inspector.

Good tip!

Susan

15 Post-Flood Home Cleaning Tips

Clean up after a flood, hurricane or storm zaps you of energy and patience. Does it ever end?!

We’ve asked some folks who have lived through this (and, yes, there is a an end to the clean up) to pass on some tips that they used for cleaning – including advice on wood furniture, rugs, cooking utensils and more. Good stuff here.

Getting a professional home restorer is something to consider – talk with your insurance agent to see if your policy covers the service.

Duluth, MN is Flooding

I grew up in Duluth, so news of the flooding reached me quickly.

Duluth is situated on a hill; this really shows flash flooding can happen anywhere at anytime. With 8+ inches of rain overnight (and more in other parts of the region), it’s no surprise the city is literally overflowing. The picture in this post shows a street I used to walk on to go to school, which is down a steep hill on the left.

Unfortunately, the Duluth Zoo was hard hit. The LA Times reported at least 14 animals didn’t survive the night. There is a good news Zoo story though –  two seals, Feisty and Helen, swam away in the flood waters and ended up on a street where very good Samaritans rescued them. The seals are safe, and probably telling the other animals about their adventures.

Check out some of the flood images here from the Mpls. Star Tribune, there’s a seal image at the end.

We’ll keep watching the news – there’s more rain forecasted for the area.  As with all disasters, our thoughts are with everyone impacted by the rain and flooding.

– Susan

More US Flooding – Irene and Lee

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Thanks to Lee, 10-15 inches of rain are expected to fall from the central Gulf Coast to the Tennessee Valley according to CNN.

Lee is a Tropical Storm hitting New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle. Farther North, Vermont and surrounding states and recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

Here is flood advice from Hurricane Katrina survivors we spoke with.

Leave Your House in 3 Minutes – What to Take?

If you were forced to evacuate your home and you only had 3 minutes, what would you grab?

The Grab-and-Go kit came about after readers sent us what they wished they’d had after they had to evacuate. Here are 10 things you should have ready to go at any moment.

  1. Cash (at least $100 – ATMs might not work in an emergency), credit cards, checks, IDs
  2. Cell phone and extra charger
  3. Clothing for each family member for a week (grab extra items for winter)
  4. Extra set of house and car keys
  5. Family heirlooms, jewelry, art, anything else that has sentimental value and is “irreplaceable”
  6. Home videos and photos, digital camera memory cards
  7. Important papers (i.e. birth certificates, insurance policies, marriage certificates, house deeds, passports, address book
  8. Medications and other special needs (enough for a week or two)

WHN TIPS:

  1. Put these items in a backpack, duffle, plastic container, etc.
  2. Make sure it is sturdy and possibly water-proof in case of flooding or other water damage (i.e. water from fire hoses).
  3. Tell your family members about the location and importance of this kit and when to grab it!

Remember to update your kit or check on its  location at least once a month.

FEMA and WHN Offer Sound Advice about Surviving a Disaster

Tornado season is in full swing for parts of the country. Other natural disasters have been reported throughout the nation. Being prepared can make the difference between safely weathering the storm and becoming a victim of the disaster!

  • WHN TIP: Click here for a comprehensive list of natural disasters, preparedness, survival and rebuilding provided by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If you find this site challenging to navigate, visit the Natural Disasters section right here on the WHN website for advice, helpful links and forms to complete.

If you don’t already have a weather alert radio, this would be the perfect time to purchase one.  You can do a simple Google search for “weather alert radios” options and detailed explanations about the different types. You can also try a consumer search site for reviews and ratings of different models.

A good friend of a WHN reporter experienced a tornado firsthand during Memorial Day weekend in 2008. She was home alone in Hugo, MN when the EF-3 tornado with wind gusts of 136 to 165 mph hit the city. The tornado struck at about 5:30 p.m. on the Sunday of Memorial weekend, May 25, 2008 and tore a mile-long swath through a residential area. About 675 homes were damaged and 60 of those were deemed uninhabitable. (One 2-year-old child was killed. His sister, just five years old, was severely injured and still requires a wheelchair a year later.)

Our friend was in a townhouse complex with seven units, none of which have basements. She didn’t have a weather radio or a concrete plan outlining the best course of action. Luckily, when she noticed that the water in the toilet was splashing wildly, her first instinct was to get to the lower level and into a secure corner. The combined weight of the attached homes helped anchor them against the tremendous force of the winds. Her recount of the experience included the usual “it sounded like a freight train” and “I could hear deafening sounds of buildings being destroyed”.

After the storm had passed, she surveyed the damage to her home. Baseball-sized hail had crushed the master bedroom window and the floor was covered with huge ice chunks. Siding blew off some of the units, but the townhouses suffered little more than window and outside damage, even though nearby blocks were all but destroyed.

She used her cell phone to keep in touch with her parents in another city during the storm, but had to hang up during the worst of it due to the extraordinary amount of noise. She didn’t sustain any injuries.

Due to the holiday weekend, many families were away. This twist of fate proved to be a major factor in reducing the number of injuries and fatalities.

A year after the disaster, according to Hugo city officials, two of the ruined homes still have damage and three or four lots remain vacant and are on the market. The rest of the homes have been restored.

  • WHN TIP: Officials in cities with siren warning systems often remind residents that the sirens may not be audible inside a dwelling. Advisories may be broadcast many hours before a storm and should be your first warning to go through your survival plan. Conducting drills with your family is a great way to ensure everyone knows what to do in the event of a storm, especially if it arrives with little or no warning.

Review your plan while the weather is beautiful.  Your time will be well spent!

If you have questions or would like to share your experiences, please email me: Leann (at) WhatHappensNow.com.

Flooding in Red River Valley

The Red River Valley looks to flood again this year. Here is good advice from flood survivors, FEMA and insurance agents on prepping for possible floods.

One of the things we hear from readers is that mobile home owners are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters.  This is often because the homes have a tough time withstanding Mother Nature’s worst.

If you or someone you know is in a mobile home, be sure they know where at least three emergency shelters are located. Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross for information.

Then, be sure to ask when each shelters is open.  We have heard from many readers that their designated shelter was closed when they needed it.  Many times shelters are in parks or other public areas and with budget cuts, these places are not kept up or open (ah, the shrinking government….).  This is why having a list of public shelters near you is critical.

Why People Don’t Heed Severe Weather Warnings

Find Shelter Now
Find Shelter Now

This is interesting- NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) released information on why some people take cover during severe weather, and others opt to ‘ride it out’ and not take cover.

Their report looked at Super Tuesday (Feb. 5-6, 2008) where 82 tornadoes ripped through nine Southern states, killing 57, injuring 350 and causing $400 million in property damage.

Interestingly – the report found that 2/3rds of the victims were in mobile homes and 60% didn’t have access to shelter like a basement or storm cellar. We’ve got a mobile home prep article here.  If you know someone who lives in a mobile home, be sure to pass this on to them.

The report also said that on this Super Tuesday, many people didn’t think the tornado threat was bad (it was February, not a month known for storms…) so they didn’t take cover.  And then there’s what experts call the optimism bias, which is the belief that bad things only happen to other people.

Read all of NOAA’s Service Assessment reports here.

Evacuations in Iowa

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Over 10,000 residents in Cedar Rapids have been forced to evacuate their homes after a Cedar River levee burst. Waters are still rising and volunteers are doing everything they can to sandbag roads. 

Officials are also predicting major widespread flooding along the Mississippi River, which could be the worst flooding since 1993.

So what can you do now to prepare for flooding and flood waters that may head your way? Top tips from emergency preparedness experts:

1. Purchase flood insurance. Mind you this takes at least 30 days to go into effect. Learn more…

2. Know your vulnerability level. Buying a new home? Ask about past floods and water damage. Top steps you can take to prepare your home for disasters…

3. Know the routes to higher ground or out of your town. Get a map and highlight alternative routes to the main roads out of town. Next time you run an errand, pay attention and look to see where the highest points are – mark those on the map.

4. Want more? Top flood prevention and preparedness tips…

Your Office “To-Go” Kit

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I spend most of my week at work so chances are I’d be more likely to experience a disaster or emergency here than anywhere else!From severe storms to power outages, a number of things could happen while on the job. Here’s how you can get ready:

1. Review your company’s evacuation policies and emergency exit routes.

2. Find a backpack or something small to keep under your desk that you can grab in a hurry.

3. Add top survival items to the kit – flashlight, food, water, etc. (for a recommended list click here).

Want more? Top work preparedness advice from experts…

Already have a work “to-go” kit? What do you have in it? Share in the Comments section below!