Hurricane Irma has Weakened – What is the Impact of the Storm

As of Monday, Hurricane Irma is still lashing through Florida but it is becoming gradually weaker. At first, it was a Category 4 storm but it is now a Category 1 storm with winds traveling at a speed of 75 mph. It could later be downgraded further into a tropical storm. The storm has brought hide tides in several places including Tampa and St. Petersburg. Irma will continue to stay in Florida for a few days before it heads to the nearby states. More than 320 shelters have been prepared for evacuees who don’t have places to go. These shelters are located outside the Florida Keys. When it reaches Georgia, the hurricane should have already weakened down to a tropical storm. Georgia can expect rainfall of up to 20 inches.

Hurricane Irma has swept through the U.S. Virgin Islands and caused a lot of damages there. Buildings have collapsed and many houses has been turned into piles of rubble by the storm wind. There are at least four deaths that have occurred on the St. Thomas as a result of the hurricane. St. Thomas is a vacation destination that has attracted a lot of tourists. And now, because of the storm, there is no more hotel as they are all damaged. It is going to take a few months for the crew to restore back the island back to the condition where tourists will want to come and take a vacation there.

The hurricane has caused difficult circumstances for the people on U.S. Virgin Islands and the residents there are asking for help from those on the mainland. The roof of Roy Schneider Medical Center has torn apart from the roof frame because of the hurricane. There is currently no electricity in the entire city and there is also no ferry service between the islands and the mainland. Some residents on the U.S. Virgin Islands told reporters to send out the message to the mainland to not forget them and send people to help them as they are also part of the USA.

The damages that Hurricane Irma cause may have an impact on the economy of Florida. When people know that Florida is vulnerable to a dangerous hurricane like Irma, they will no longer choose to take holiday in Florida. People would also move away and this can result in a drop in the population growth and subsequently affect the economy. Florida is a leading producer of citrus crops like sugarcane and watermelons. The farmers are working on draining all the excess water from the fields. They have also stored all the equipment in a secure place. The central and south Florida has the most number of citrus farms. The farmers want to make sure that they have done all they can to protect their farms from the hurricane.

Hurricane Matthew Hits Islands in the Caribbean and Florida

The first Caribbean island to be hit with Hurricane Matthew is Haiti. Haiti was hit by the heavy rainstorm from Hurricane Matthew at Les Anglais in the western part of Haiti on Tuesday morning. It is regarded as the most powerful hurricane storm that leave serious damages after Hurricane Cleo which struck Haiti in 1964. The next target is Cuba, where Hurricane Matthew made the landfall about 12 hours later. As the hurricane wind travel from Haiti to Cuba, the wind speed slowed down to 130 mph.

Bahamas is the third in line that will be hit with Hurricane Matthew. The weather forecast station has tracked the storm to be moving in a region that is in close proximity to the Florida east coast. Hurricane warning has been issued in Haiti, and the eastern part of Cuba. It has also been issued in the southeast and metropolitan part of Bahamas. The strong wind that is blowing in several regions in Florida have been upgraded to a hurricane at night on Tuesday.

Because of this, it is possible that there will be hurricane storms in the areas that are being watched in the morning hours on Thursday. There is a hurricane watch in Camaguey in Cuba. Tropical storm warning has been issued in several regions in Dominican Republic including Barahona and Puerto Plata. Residents at the Turks and Caicos islands have also been alerted by the tropical storm warning.

According to the hurricane center, it is predicted that there will be at least 15-25 inches of rainfall in the southwestern region in Dominican Republic. The remote areas in Dominican Republic could receive up to 40 inches of rain. Rainfall is expected in the southwestern and northwestern regions of Haiti. The high amount of rainfall in the deforested regions of Haiti could cause dangerous conditions such as mudslide and flood.

Some parts in the east of Cuba is expected to receive at least 8-12 inches of rain. There will be an increase of the water level in Bahamas from 10-15 feet. For Haiti and Cuba, the water level may increase from 7- 11 feet. The government in Florida claimed that there are a lot of life threatening flood in the east coast of Florida.

Forecasters in Florida has made available to the public the storm watch warning at the government site. You can visit the site to assess the hurricane risk in your area. The US National Hurricane Center reported that the Category 4 hurricane has downgraded to Category 3. The fluctuation is normal and there is no certainty that the wind won’t upgrade to a more dangerous category. If you live in Florida, you and your neighbors can help each other to get prepared before the hurricane storm starts.

Tropical Storm Erika May Eye U.S East Coast by Next Week

Tropical Storm Erika is now centered about 300 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, and it is moving quickly to the west at 17 mph. As far as the next couple of days goes, Erika will continue to make its way into an environment that has a strong wind shear and dry air; both of which are inhibitors for strengthening of any tropical system.

This system will possibly face a lower magnitude of wind shear and dry air than Hurricane Danny did, but with counterproductive conditions and a potential track over land in the Caribbean can complicate the intensity and track forecasts.

The Air Force has been closely monitoring the situation, and data does indicate that the surface pressure has dropped and the convection has been pulsing near the center, which is typical behavior during the nighttime for a tropical cyclone.

Erika is a fast moving system, and it is predicted that it will arrive in the northern Leeward Islands Wednesday night or early on Thursday. Storm-force winds and heavy rain will be the greatest risks with Erika, and this has prompted some tropical storm warnings to be issued for the northern Leeward Islands. This is the second time in less than three days that a tropical storm will make its way into the Leeward Islands, as Tropical Storm Danny did earlier this week.

More than likely, more tropical storm warnings will be issued throughout the day on Wednesday; especially if Erika continues to strengthen as predicted. No matter what track this storm takes, it will definitely bring the rain and wind to drought-stricken Puerto Rico, as well as the Virgin Islands by Thursday.

tropical storm Erika Florida restoration pros

When talking about a longer term forecast, it is still uncertain due to the fact that this system has the potential to track over land in the Caribbean, will possible interact with some wind shear, and the fact that there is an upper-level flow near the eastern U.S as we move into next week.

The southern dip in the jet stream in the East that is responsible for the cooler dry air in the Midwest and Northeast would certainly curl any tropical system away from the U.S East Coast. Unfortunately, that pattern does not look like it is going to hold.

This southward dip will be replaced by a northward-migrating stream into eastern Canada and northern New England. Any leftovers of the southward dip will be much weaker and farther to the West, meaning that it will not impact Tropical Storm Erika much if at all.

There is also a Bermuda high taking place southwest of Bermuda, and this isn’t necessarily a pattern that will keep Erika away from U.S shores next week. If this system continues to strengthen as planned, it could get pulled to more of a northwestern track, and could be susceptible to a potential steering pattern.

If Erika starts to weaken, it would track farther to the west and south along the southern edge of the forecast path and may get broken up as it moves over land. Or, what could happen is that Erika downgrades to a tropical wave due to wind shear, as was Tropical Storm Danny.

We are still about five days out (or more) from any potential for Erika to hit the U.S East Coast. The average forecast track error of a National Hurricane Center five-day forecast is about 241 miles. It can also be difficult to track the intensity of tropical systems such as this, and we saw this exact situation with Danny.

If you are interested in monitoring the progress of Erika, keep up with The Weather Channel or AccuWeather for live-streaming updates.

Mold Growth Becomes Problematic For Property Owners With Moisture Issues

Mold can become a large problem this time of year, and it is important to know some of the places that this fungus can come into form. Mold likes to hide out in bathrooms of homes and businesses, and it can occur anywhere where moisture is present. Here are some steps that can help you find hidden mold in bathrooms and restrooms of commercial buildings:

1) During your search, the person who is inspecting the area (whether it is a manager, employee, tenant, or property owner) should wear an N-95 breathing mask. This mask runs about $3 dollars at your local hardware store. The inspector should also wear eye goggles with no holes, which can run about $5, to keep mold spores out of the eyes. The last thing that the inspector will want to wear is disposable vinyl gloves.

2) Use a high-powered flashlight to help you pinpoint areas that could possibly have mold.

3) Look for visible mold growth in the following areas of the restroom:
– Inside of the toilet tank. Mold grows fairly quickly with a consistent source of moisture present, so the toilet bowl would make it the perfect place to hide.
– Both sides of the shower curtains.
– Inside of the exhaust fan vent pipe.
– Inside of the cabinets underneath the sink, especially if there are leaks in the drains or pipes.
– Inside the drain pipes of sinks, bathtubs, and showers.
– In the grout of ceramic tiles and flooring (make sure to check for coloration, especially black, in the grout. Also, if you can smell a musty odor, it means that mold is more than likely in that area).

4) Use the Scotch Tape “lift sampling” to collect some samples of the surface in the areas that you are inspecting to send to a laboratory for both mold and bacterial analysis.
Some people are embarrassed because they believe that if you have mold, your home must be dirty. But, this is quite far from the truth. All homes contain mold spores in small amounts, but it becomes a problem once there is enough moisture for the mold to growing sporadically. Mold affects all types of homes, both expensive and average-priced.

5) After you have completed the “lift sampling” in the areas that were specified earlier in the article, you will also want to repeat this process in other areas of the home such as the top of the window trimming, and also light fixtures.

6) Use a moisture meter, which can be found for about $50 dollars at your local hardware store, to scan the walls and floors for elevated levels of moisture. High levels of moisture can only mean one thing: You either have a leak, or the humidity in the area is very high as well. If there is a high level of moisture present, then you know that your search efforts were not in vain; mold thrives off of moisture, and a heightened level in the area usually means that it is present.

7) You will want to then use a hygrometer (about $50 online) to check the humidity of the bathroom. If the indoor humidity level exceeds 70%, then chances are you more than likely have a mold issue that you should address in a timely manner.

Southern States Will Experience a Stormy Christmas Eve

If you live in the South, you already know that a white Christmas isn’t in the cards. But, a very stormy Christmas Eve is. Rain and some thunderstorms, some that are capable of producing severe weather or tornadoes, will affect the South from now until Christmas Eve.

Even though this week is officially the first week of winter, it feels more like early fall or late spring for the South, because now they are receiving a large surge of warmer air that is accompanied by some thunderstorms.

These storms and plenty of rain will be produced by a Christmas Eve storm that will continue to gain strength to lift to the north. About 20 million people that reside in the South are at risk for undergoing severe weather as this cell shifts into the East as we near Christmas Eve.  According to a chief Meteorologist with the AccuWeather team, the most likely impact will be damaging winds with the possibility of a few tornadoes.
If you are planning to travel throughout the South this holiday season, driving along Interstate 10 from New Orleans and Lake Charles through Mobile and Tallahassee will experience very poor visibility and excess water on the winds due to the heavy rain that will pound the area today. The threat of severe weather on Tuesday will extend inland as far as the I-20 corridor from Jackson, MS to Birmingham, AL.

The worst of this system will begin Tuesday night and will extend into Wednesday throughout southeastern Georgia and northeastern Florida.  Heavy rain and thunderstorms will still make their way through the I-85 corridor as well, affecting Atlanta, Charlotte, Augusta, Columbia, and Raleigh. Travel by airline or vehicle may be difficult during this time, and if you are flying than you can definitely expect to encounter some delays.

As we move into Wednesday, the risk of torrential downpours and severe storms will move into the I-95 corridor from central and northeastern Florida to the coast of the Carolina’s and southeastern Virginia. Cities anywhere from Daytona Beach, Charleston, Wilmington, and Virginia Beach could be the target of gusty winds and downpours.

There is a second pocket of thunderstorms that will begin developing on Wednesday from the north-central Kentucky region to western New York state, and then onto southwestern Ontario.

As this warm air continues to move to the north along with the storm, some residents may also be surprised by some incoming thunderstorms on Wednesday night that pop up in the coastal Mid-Atlantic and southern New England, and then northern New England on Christmas Day.


Tropical Storm Arthur Has Potential To Turn Into A Hurricane

There is a storm system brewing off the coast of Floria, about 100 miles east of Melborne, that weather officials caution could develop into a tropical storm. The storm is developing in an closed area of low pressure, the winds are near tropical storm strength already, although not quite there yet, due to the fact that there is not enough thunder storm activity to classify it as a tropical storm or a tropical depression yet. While there is thunderstorm activity developing, it is just below the threshold needed to qualify it for a tropical storm.

The Air force is monitoring this system with special reconnaissance planes,
designed to send back data showing the storms potential. The reconnaissance plane did note however that the potential tropical system seems be getting better organized, with winds of up to 35mph, only lacking the traditional thunderstorm development for now to qualify as a tropical storm. The National Hurricane Center predicts an 80% chance that the system off of Florida has a 80% chance to develop into a tropical storm or depression with in the next 24 to 48 hours and also and 80% chance to develop into the same during the next 5 days. Arthur is the first named storm of the season if this system moving of the coast of Florida develops into a tropical storm, so we are potentially looking at Tropical Storm arthur. National Hurricane Center computer data shows the likely path of the system moving south, then curving up to the north, then east along the Atlantic coastline.

As far as the weather impact for now goes, Florida and Georgia can expect showers and some rough waves along the coast. Midweek showers will happen for the coast of Carolina and the mid Atlantic coast towards the end of the week. The brunt of any adverse weather so far is likely to hit the Carolina coastline mid week. If you are flying or traveling along the eastern coast for the holiday weekend, do be advised to keep an eye on the weather and any impact it may have on your travel plans.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the environmental conditions are rife for this systems development into a tropical storm. Only a very slight increase in it’s organization and some elevated thunderstorm activity is needed at this moment for it to form a tropical depression. The Air Force and National Hurricane Center continue to monitor the situation. The system is moving southwestward right now at about 5 mph, and it is highly expected to turn west later tonight and then northwards by Wednesday when it will be nearer to the coast of Florida. Officials caution if the system develops into a tropical cyclone, a tropical storm watch could be required for the coast of Florida and possibly Georgia. The system is expected to turn towards the southeastern U.S. coast by Thursday afternoon.

Already the system is the cause of some foul weather in Florida. It has brought stormy conditions to Brevard County, and will continue to do so until Tuesday night. residents along the Florida coastline should expect winds of anywhere from 20-25 miles, with wind gusts that could exceed tropical storm force. For those traveling to Florida to enjoy the beaches for the 4th of July weekend, beach goers are warned of the potential for rip currents along the coastline due to the storm system.

Third Named Storm of 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Could Strike US

The third named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season took shape Sunday night and is threatening to make landfall in a few days along Florida’s coastline. The storm which is named Chantal is traveling quickly at around 28 miles per hour and is packing winds of about 40 miles per hour. There is a hurricane watch in effect for portions of the Dominican Republic and a tropical storm warning in effect for Puerto Rico, the coastline of the Dominican Republic and the entire coastlines of Haiti, The Turks and Caicos as well as for the southeastern Bahamas.

The National Hurricane Center out of Miami stated late Tuesday that Chantal could impact the state of Florida and the southeastern portion of the United States. The center warned that while the storm was a bit disorganized Tuesday that it is still a very significant threat to the Caribbean over the next few days and must be monitored closely for a potential impact on the US late this weekend into early next week.

By afternoon Wednesday, the tropical storm will have strengthened somewhat as it passes over Hispaniola which is usually rough on tropical storms with its high mountainous peaks that reach 10,000 feet in some areas. If Chantal makes it across Hispaniola without breaking apart too much, it could grow stronger by mid-day Thursday to pose a very real threat to Florida and possibly the Gulf Coast and eastern part of the United States.

Tuesday afternoon, the NHC in Miami said in an advisory that the tropical storm was 330 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico and was moving west-northwest at around 30 miles per hour. It also stated that the storm was probably going to move away from the Lesser Antilles Tuesday evening and continue over the eastern Caribbean Sea. Chantal is being forecast to be over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday where it will be close to hurricane strength.

Whether or not Chantal will strike Florida depends on if it’s able to survive the trip over the high mountain peaks on Hispaniola and upon the development of a high pressure system north of the storm. If the mountains do calm the storm down and weaken it, it could rob it of the moisture it needs to maintain it’s power. While many tropical storms do rip apart over these mountains, many do come pass overjust fine and continue building strength as they take aim on Cuba and the southern United States.

Tropical Storm Andrea Marks Official Start Of Atlantic Hurricane Season

The first day of June marked the official start to the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. While this year is far different from the beginning of the season last year when there were already two named storms by the end of week one, there is concern over a system that’s developing in the southern Gulf of Mexico and northwest Caribbean.

While the system is not yet very well organized, all the right ingredients are in place to pave the way for it to become a tropical depression or tropical storm sometime over the next few days. One thing that is for sure about the unstable weather in the southern Gulf is that it appears to be on a bee-line for the state of Florida. At the very least, the Sunshine State will see a whole lot of rain, flooding and even the chance of twisters forming out of the unstable system over the next three or four days.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from the 1st of June to the last day of November from Texas up to Maine. The peak of the season runs from mid-summer through mid-fall when most storms form and chug across the Atlantic Ocean. NOAA has predicted that this year will be an active season with anywhere from thirteen to twenty named storms of which between three and five will become major hurricanes.

The water temperatures need to be warm in order for a hurricane to form. While water temps are a bit cooler now than they were last year at this time in the Gulf, they are going to warm up soon and quickly. Right now there’s a current of warm water in the Gulf just south of the Louisiana-Mississippi border that is worrisome. Something very similar was blamed for the intensification of hurricane Katrina in ’05. This is something that forecasters are keeping an eye on even though it poses no threat yet.

So where will the hurricanes of 2013 make landfall in the US?
A few forecasters are saying that the most vulnerable part of the country this year will be an area stretching from eastern Louisiana to Florida’s east coast. That however, is nothing more than a prediction as weather is very difficult to predict, especially this early into the season. The best thing to do if you live in a hurricane-prone area is to be ready for the possibility that your area will be impacted by a hurricane. Put together a hurricane kit, make a family emergency plan and check with your insurer to see if you’ve got storm and flood coverage.

Soot and Smoke Damage Requires Specialized Cleanup

If you have ever dealt with a fire in your home or business, you know just how messy the cleanup can be. If your building was not a total loss, you have a long road ahead of you in terms of returning your items to their original condition. You need to do everything in your power in this regard to make sure that you do this, so that your home or office can be a positive dwelling space once again. That process begins when you choose which products to use in order to remove soot, smoke and other damage from your items.

Never use standard, over the counter products!

Too often, a person’s first instinct is to run to their local hardware store and grab the first spray, solution or cleaning product that they come across. This should never happen, because the work of removing smoke damage and soot is too involved for a standard product to ever handle. You need to take the proper steps to make sure that you are getting the most of your cleaning job, so that you can enjoy the condition of your furniture or other items every step of the way. When this is what you are looking for, make sure that you get in touch with a company that can either do the work for you, or provide you with the cleaning products that you need to handle the job. You get back what you put into the job, so if you want your building returned to its normal, pristine condition, it will take a diligent effort in order to get rid of the smoke and soot damage caused by the fire. Never take this for granted, and spend your money wisely when it comes to picking up the pieces in your home, office or other building.

Hiring a restoration company

In most situations, your best bet is likely to hire a company that specializes in fire damage restoration. When you hire these companies, you are giving yourself the best shot at success and getting your building back to normal, regardless of what took place. If this is what you need, there are plenty of companies and contractors in your local and surrounding area that would love to help you out with any work that you need. By leaving the work to the pros, you give yourself a much higher chance at success every step of the way.

Whenever you look to hire a professional fire and smoke damage restoration contractor, always make sure that they are licensed and insured. You should ask to see a current and valid license, and make sure that they have a liability insurance policy that will cover them for any type of work. When this is what you are looking for, get in touch with only the best. Your home depends on it, so make sure that you spend your money wisely and do everything in your power to get everything back in working order as quickly as possible.

How Much Does the Typical Flood Insurance Policy Cost

The cost for flood insurance is based on many factors. Rates are determined in a similar way to policies issued for residential homes. The cost will vary based on coverage amount, flood zone, and the deductible. Review some of the main factors that are used to calculate the cost of a policy before contacting an insurance agent about coverage.

Flood Zone

A flood zone is a designated area based on the likelihood of flooding. Three main categories make up a moderate to low-risk flood zone map. However, some flood zones have subcategories. These include A, V, B, C, and X.

Homes in a city or town with a river or stream will typically be in zone A. Zone A is considered to be a high-risk zone as the overflow of a river or a small creek and result in major flooding.

Properties that are near the ocean are classified as zone V. Zone V is at the highest risk for flooding due to storm surges from hurricanes and tropical storms.

A home that is located in zone B is less likely so have any flooding. These areas often have a Preferred Risk Policy that can be purchased at much lower rates. One thing to keep in mind is that low-risk areas are also susceptible to flooding.

Coverage Limits

The coverage limits for flood insurance vary depending on how much insurance is needed. The highest amount for a residential home is $250,000 and non-residential buildings have a limit of $500,000. The contents coverage also has a limit. Residential homes have a limit of $100,000 and buildings that are non-residential have a limit of $500,000.


The deductible for flood insurance works the same way as automobile and homeowners insurance. The coverage kicks in after paying the deductible. A deductible of $500 and $750 is available. Selecting the higher amount will lower the amount of premium paid for the policy. One thing to keep in mind with a flood insurance deductible is that is applies to both the building and to the contents. This means paying two deductibles for the same flood.

Average Cost

Homeowners will typically page an average of $535 per year for flood insurance. This amount goes up or down depending on zone, coverage amount, and deductible amount. The total cost will apply for the building and the contents. The average cost for a building in zone B, C, and X is about $370. The costs for contents will be around $180.

The average amount of coverage that is provided for a residential home is $35,000 and contents will be $10,000. However, coverage amounts of $250,000 for a building will cost about $1,800 per year.