Hurricane Categories and Disaster Restoration
Studying Hurricane Categories for Disaster Restoration Response
When a community is impacted by a hurricane, SERVPRO is quick to respond. Our company has access to over 1,700 franchises nationwide, and our storm response teams have decades of experience.
Hurricane Harvey was emotionally impactful for our franchise and all of Texas. The hurricane hit the Houston and Galveston areas in Texas in 2017. Thousands of homes were impacted, and the damaged cost well over $100 billion. Days before Hurricane Harvey hit, franchises nationwide were already preparing to deploy to Houston metro and Southwest Texas.
For our franchise in Dallas, our preparation was two-fold. Our first concern was to receive our friends and family members from Houston. When it became apparent that Harvey was going to hit as a major category storm and evacuations were going to be suggested, we needed to make sure our loved ones would be safe. Members of our team prepared their homes to receive guests all the while preparing themselves to dispatch to the storm itself. We understood that we would be traveling to both help strangers and our loved ones as well. For friends and family that chose not to evacuate, we made agreements to meet them at their homes to make sure their properties were safe.
The second part of our preparation was to study the meteorological reports. Understanding the category of hurricane helps us prepare for the amount of damage we expect to see. We take into the consideration the community that is impacted, how much water has fallen, how quickly its fallen, and wind conditions. All these factors tell us the amount of damage a typical home will have, which then tells us what tools and equipment we need to take to best respond to those that call us for help.
When our franchise is considering how to prepare for a hurricane, we take various aspects of the storm into consideration. One of them is the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Category 1 Hurricane
Dangerous winds are associated with Cat 1 hurricanes. During these storms, we expect to see damage to a home’s roof, gutters, and vinyl siding. We also expect to see some tree damage, especially branches falling atop of unshielded vehicled or falling onto homes. In this case, our franchise prepares expects to see some water damage and a large need for roof tarping.
Category 2 Hurricane
The winds in a Cat 2 hurricane are around 100 mph and will cause more damage than before. Even well-constructed homes have a large possibility of getting major damage to its roof and siding. We also expect to see trees uprooted and block roadways. Power outages are also extremely common. In this scenario, our franchise will take a large load of roof tarping materials and power tools to assist with debris removal for roadways that are blocked on the ways to homes in need. We also expect the need for our own power generators.
Category 3 Hurricane
A category 3 hurricane is considered to be a major hurricane. In a Cat 3 hurricane scenario, we expect to see major damage or even the removal of the roof decking. We also expect to see trees and branches uprooted and either block roadways or damage homes themselves as they fall. Electricity and water outage will likely be a factor. In this case, our franchise responds similarly as we do to Cat 2 hurricanes, which is by taking roof tarping materials, power tools to clear debris, and carrying our own generators. Due to the amount of fallen water associated with this category of hurricane, we also expect to not have immediate access to flooded areas of the community. If this is the case, we will wait for approval from first responders before proceeding.
Category 4 Hurricane
In a Cat 4 hurricane, we expect to see homes lose some or all of their roof and have damage to their exterior walls. Many trees, even those deeply rooted, will be snapped and often fall onto homes, vehicles, and block roadways. It’s not uncommon to see many homes cut off from emergency services due to debris. With the loss of electrical power and water plus the flooding and blocked roadways, the areas impacted with a category 4 hurricane may not be accessed for days or even weeks. In this scenarios, our crews are first helping the outer areas and assisting homes that are accessible as we wait for first responders to reach these areas and deem them accessible. Due to the time it takes the water to recede, our franchise expects major damage to homes and businesses. Flooring and a major portion of the walls in these properties will need demolition. Sanitation will be a major concern, and mold growth may already be present. Roof tarping and board up services will almost always be necessary to secure the property.
Category 5 Hurricane
In a Cat 5 hurricane situation, we expect to see many homes and businesses experience a roof collapse and damage to the exterior walls. Sections of a community will be flooded and not be accessible for weeks. Uprooted trees will also damage properties and block roadways. Our response to this category of damage is the same as in a category 4 with our franchise understanding that it will take a longer time for the flood waters to recede and first responders to allow restoration service workers to enter.
Storm Surge Scales
Storm surge threat is not as easily scalable as wind scales due to local conditions such as bathymetry. For this reason, our franchise pays close attention to meteorological reports that focus on the depth of inundation expected at the impacted areas. These storm surge warnings greatly help us know how to approach properties and prepare demolition, sanitation, and drying techniques. Depending on the time it takes for the waters to recede will also tell us how much, if any, of the contents inside a home or business will have a chance to be restored. This helps us know if debris removal will be necessary, and if mold remediation needs are likely.
Food and Lodging
When a storm is strong enough to call for evacuations, it’s often bewildering to see the green SERVPRO trucks head towards the storm when some are leaving. Our franchise has studied the storm and is heading to the closest but still safe destination. Our choice of lodging is either a hotel or another SERVPRO franchise location that is safe from the storm. Wherever we are able to stay, our crews will set up a command center, dispatch, and sleep. During Hurricane Harvey, we had both options ready. We set up a command center as close as possible to the open impacted section and began to help homes in that area. As first responders allowed more areas of the Houston metro to be open, we relocated closer to the city. Eventually, we traveled to other parts of Texas that were calling for help and were not receiving the saturation of help they needed. These areas included communities in Southwest Texas.
Hurricane Harvey and Texas Disaster Restoration
Hurricane Harvey was a devastating storm. SERVPRO franchises nationwide responded to Harvey and spent months in the Houston metro and Southwest Texas regions responding to calls. For our franchise, we were thankful that no one of our friends and family was injured by the storm. While some of their properties had only minor damage, others needed more extensive restoration and reconstruction needs.
By many accounts, Hurricane Harvey tested the resolve and preparation of Texas disaster restoration teams. We were personally humbled by the outpouring of support shown for impacted residents from the thousands of volunteers from across the nation that traveled to south and east Texas ready to help. We saw volunteers from almost every state come together and assist homeowners, and we were thankful for them. Texas Strong became a rallying cry that we will not soon forget.
Now, over a year after Hurricane Harvey hit, portions of Texas are still rebuilding. To learn more about the Rebuild Texas Fund, please visit: https://www.rebuildtx.org.
SERVPRO of North Irving’s Disaster Cleanup Services
SERVPRO of North Irving is a leader in the restoration industry and has the expertise to handle storm damage cleanup. We are based out of Dallas, TX, and we have helped restore communities in our home of North Texas for over 30 years. Our franchise has traveled to disaster locations such as Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey. We have performed restoration services in Dallas, Arlington, Garland, Plano, Waxahachie, Midlothian, and other North Texas communities for over 30 years. With our crews responding immediately to jobs, we are faster to any size disaster. We also have a Texas Mold Remediation Contractor License and offer free mold inspections.
You can trust us to handle your disaster restoration needs. We offer:
- Water damage restoration
- Debris removal
- Roof tarping
- Board up services for doors, windows, outer walls
- Roof replacement or repair
- Clothing and textile sanitation
- Carpet restoration service
- Moving services
- Read more about our storm damage services.
Our crews are available dispatch for 24 hour emergencies every day of the year. We can be reached 24/7 at (972) 986-7677. Call us any time!
We are a family owned and operated business. Learn more about us.
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