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Hurricane Joaquin May Bring Widespread Flooding to Parts of East Coast

Steady rainfall has already soaked much of the East Coast this week, flooding roadways, closing down schools and forcing some people from their homes. But forecasters are warning that the worst is yet to come as Hurricane Joaquin could make things much worse now through the first part of next week. The huge weather system is being forecast to dump large amounts of rain from the Carolinas up into New England as it affects the eastern portion of the country. Joaquin is now a Category 3 hurricane as it is bears down on the central Bahama islands. The hurricane is expected to take a track that will lead it to the eastern coastline of the United States by this coming weekend.

As of early Thursday morning, Joaquin was packing winds of around 115 miles per hour which extended over 30 miles from the center of the storm as it churned in the Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center predicts that the system will develop into a more menacing, larger storm over the next few days. North Carolina, Virginia, portions of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey are likely to see heavy rainfall over the next few days due to the storm.

There were numerous school closings Tuesday in parts of southwestern Virginia due to flooded roads. Dozens of people in Salem, VA were rescued from an apartment complex and mobile home park. A water rescue team in Montgomery County rescued school children from an elementary school bus on Tuesday due to heavy rainfall washing out a road.

Virginia’s governor’s office is urging state residents to keep an eye on the local forecast and to make plans for staying safe in the event of flooding. People in that state are being reminded of the dangers of driving in flood waters and are being told to turn around if they encounter flooded roads.

Hurricane Joaquin is the third hurricane of the Atlantic season. As the eye of the storm was passing over the Bahamas Wednesday night, people living on the eastern seaboard of the United States were being warned to prepare for the storm that may make landfall there sometime over the next few days even though the storm’s exact track is unclear. However, the National Hurricane Center says that Joaquin will likely impact the US East Coast by Sunday.

Recovery Effort Continues for Many Businesses After Extreme Cold

Scores of businesses across the US are struggling to return to normal following the arctic blast that broke water mains, cut off power and froze pipes. Small business owners in particular like those running cafes, bakeries and shops have had it rough following the historic cold snap that affected 200 million people. Many small business owners closed their doors during the bitterly cold temperatures due to lack of water, heat and lights. Many more found themselves forced to close down due to previously frozen pipes that expanded and burst to cause devastating water damage.

For many business owners that didn’t have problems to deal with like frozen or burst pipes, the recent cold’s real
impact may be felt when the heating bills start coming in. And, because many people simply were not out and about visiting local businesses during the dangerously cold temps, the struggle to pay bills at the end of the month with less consumer spending may be too much for many small businesses to bear.

A great many homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and nursing facilities in the Midwest reported gushing water following the extreme cold. As the temperatures warmed up quickly following the polar vortex, the thaw out has unleashed torrents of water from melting ice backed up on roofs, from overflowing storm sewers and from leaking pipes that split open during the bitter cold. And for those business owners without proper insurance coverage, the cost of dealing with these problems can simply be too overwhelming. While many businesses reported doing very well during the cold weather such as electricians and plumbers, others like restaurant and shop owners saw a sharp decrease in business.

The estimated hit to the US economy from the polar vortex that gripped much of the country is being estimated at $5 billion. But to the average small business owner who’s left to pay out of pocket expenses for flood cleanup due to no flood insurance coverage, the price he or she pays will be especially high. Now, all across the Midwest, friends and family members are pitching in to help small business owners clean up following water damage that resulted from burst pipes and leaking roofs.

Home and Business Owners In Colorado Face Many Hardships Following Flooding

Home and business owners affected by the epic flooding that took place in Colorado last week are facing the grim task of cleaning up and recovering. Colorado communities that were cut off for days by the massive flooding started to slowly reopen, revealing cabins toppled, homes knocked off their foundations and businesses filled with thick, brown flood water. Anxious home and business owners hurried to begin the cleanup work by removing what was salvageable as rescue teams took advantage of the better weather on Monday to continue airlifting stranded residents.

The good news out of all this is that the worst of the historic rainfall is most likely over in northern Colorado even though some light rains may fall early this week. The fast moving, mud-filled water has been deadly as at least eight people are confirmed dead. Over 600 more are still unaccounted for. Small business owners affected by the flooding were hoping they had flood insurance as they were surveying the damages Monday. Some business owners were lucky while others experienced devastation as the flooding caused them to lose precious inventory, documents and computers.

The first glimpse of how huge the impact was of this flooding was provided by emergency officials on Monday. It was estimated that around 1500 homes were destroyed while 17,500 received some type of damage.

Even business owners who were not directly affected by the flooding will feel its effects. For instance, in the small town of Lyons which was completely cut-off from the rest of the world by flooding, business owners there were forced to shut down. Elsewhere, evacuation orders have hurt small businesses as their customers simply cannot get to them. Business owners and homeowners were being warned to watch for scam artists who come knocking, promising to help in exchange for cash. People were being advised not to hire anyone who can’t prove their credentials and that legitimate flood damage services don’t send people knocking door to door.

Because there were many major roads washed away, small communities like Glen Haven were so badly affected that there’s nothing much left besides debris. Plus, important infrastructures like gas lines and sewer systems were completely destroyed meaning that hundreds of homes in just one area of that community could be uninhabitable and unreachable for up to a year. On Monday, the Office of Emergency Management urged people stranded by floodwater who couldn’t communicate by telephone to signal helicopters overhead with sheets, flares or mirrors.

Business Are More Likely To Survive Fire or Flood Disaster Through Pre-Planning

It doesn’t take a Boy Scout to know that when you have a business that you have invested your heart and soul into it should be taken care of. And taking good care of something as important to your future as your business should cause you to lay plans for any reasonable contingency in the event of a disaster such as a fire or flood.

Insurance–The First Step in Planning

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that opportunities that seriously affect our future are often not taken advantage of. A good example of this are the many people in society who have no insurance. What happens when disaster strikes? Naturally, they regret not having adequate insurance–a lack of planning.

Fortunately, planning can be done for good reasons. For example, having an insurance policy that adequately covers your property and belongings is an excellent first step when it comes to being ready in the event of an unforeseen event such as a fire or flood. The truth is, having insurance can be a critical part of any disaster planning since the first thing most often thought of after a disaster is, will my insurance cover this loss?

There are many other matters that should be planned for, of course, but too often the old phrase, “It can’t happen to me,” comes back to haunt us. The truth is, regardless of what the disaster is, it can–and often does–happen to virtually anyone. And taking into consideration where you live or have a business is a first step in determining what you might need in this eventuality.

First Things First

Even though certain disasters can be counted on to happen more often in certain places, such as hurricanes in the Gulf and Florida coasts, there can be other disasters that can occur practically anywhere. Even if a home or business is located in a desert, these areas are often the scene of terrific flash flooding due to runoff and levee breaks and other events which should be planned for. Beyond things like insurance in this case, sandbags should be located in the event they are needed to shore up rising waters.

Fires are another disaster that could take place virtually anywhere, and to anyone. Think you are safe? Can’t find any fire hazards in your shop? What about the guy next door? In the mid-1960s, one negligent storekeeper accidentally started a fire that eventually burned nearly a full city block. Almost everything was destroyed. And this is just one example.

Next Steps

It doesn’t take much to think through the planning you would need to do in order to be ready for practically any disaster that might come your way. If you do have trouble with this, you could contact your local fire department or the disaster preparedness office of your local government. Why reinvent the wheel since they have already done it. These officials are happy to share what they know with citizens since it often means less work for them when the problems come along.

All of these ideas should make preparing a good written comprehensive plan much easier to come up with. Even without these, coming up with a workable plan isn’t hard. It just takes time and a little educated guesswork. the business you save probably will be your own.

4th Of July May Bring More Potential Flooding Into East Coast

Thunderstorms and heavy rains can trigger more flash flooding problems and severe weather for those living on the East Coast as we head into the 4th of July weekend. The humid, moist weather that moved across the country last week will continue to provide more fuel for heavy downpourings of rain and thunderstorms for the East. Because there has been a lot of rainfall during the past few weeks in the East, it won’t take much more rain this week to cause flash flooding as the ground is already saturated across several eastern states including Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut.

June was the wettest June on record for Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE. New York City was just an inch short of doing the same. Philly got over 10 ½ inches of rain during June which broke the old record of just over 10 inches which fell during June in 1938. On Monday, the National Weather Service put a flash flood warning in effect until 1pm for several counties in the states of New Jersey and New York. The service stated that very heavy rain was due to fall over those counties that could total to more than four inches by afternoon. It warned that flash flooding could cause creeks, streams, urban areas, highways and streets to flood as well as areas with poor drainage or those in low-lying spots.

A flash flood warning means that flooding is sure to occur or is already occurring. The NWS has warned those people living in areas under flash flood warnings to move to higher ground immediately. It also warns travelers not to attempt to drive their vehicles through areas which are flooded as it’s nearly impossible to know who deep or fast moving the water is.

Litchfield County in Connecticut took the brunt of the heavy rainfall Sunday in that state and the same thing could happen again early this week. A total of five inches of rain fell in Sharon, CT Sunday, flooding many streets when local streams overflowed their banks. Work crews have been out in that community repairing streets that were damaged from the flooding. A town official said that Sharon couldn’t handle any more rain. There were numerous homes in Sharon which had basement flooding. There was also a local shopping center in the middle of town that had water inside following the heavy downpours.

In Bangor, Maine, flash flood waters destroyed an underground control system and ripped through a neighborhood, resulting in a lot of damage early Monday morning on Messinger Street. The flooding that took place there damaged the foundations of several garages and flowed down the street, quickly filling basements. All that was left when the water receded was mud and a lot of rocks, leaving affected residents with a load of cleanup work to do. Luckily, no injuries were reported as a result of the flash flooding in Bangor although several homes received significant damage. One family had to be rescued from their home when the flash flooding left their house completely surrounded by water, leaving them stranded.