It was all fun and exciting, but not for all as realized after I initiated a relief effort with the most popular D.J. in the area and set out to discover what had truly happened to so many.
We dodged a few hurricanes at sea while in the Navy and I have been through six hurricanes, three direct hits - in the eye - blasts of wrath and reality.
The satellite shot above does not appear so much different from Florence and whether it makes landfall in South Carolina, or not, we are going to be inundated with constant heavy rains for quite some time. And, we all know this area can go through many droughts and then some time in the year the bottom drops out for quite, some almost eternal time. Remember 2015?
Before I act like I have more knowledge or experience than Rick Santorum (he's good) of The Weather Channel, I'll hush.
Here are a few before and after actions you may want to consider in regard to Florence, some of which may be so obvious (not doing that) - stock up on water, batteries and bread. And, a good book to read by daylight or candle light for those of you fearful of helping and hanging out with neighbors you never knew.
Oh, before I go any further, if you have an issue with broken or downed branches, a totally or partially downed tree, debris from same, etc., after Florence, please give us a call. We make no claim to provide the same capabilities as the huge tree services in the area (We know of or know most of them.), but we will probably be able to assist you in most cases or provide recommendations. We use sound and safe pruning techniques and if unable to do so at the time, we will alleviate the safety or health issue and refer you to someone to care for such at a later date. The big tree guys are going to tackle the most damaging and largest issues first and you can't blame them - that's what they do. We will handle what we can for you at an affordable cost.
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- Clean out your gutters. Try to clear all existing debris by running water from the highest to lowest point (the downspout). If not able to do so, at least clean out debris by hand around the top of the downspout and check to see you have good flow through the downspout and its extension drain pipe if it has one.
- When you believe it is timely, rake or blow off the leaves and straw on your lawn. Yes, you will probably receive more, but this is much easier to do when such debris is dry.
- If the forecast calls for us having high winds, see what lawn furniture you can put indoors, secure loose gutter connections, take down bird nests and feeders, secure those fixed things around your home, if loose, by nail, or better, by screw - look around. (I got on my roof before Hugo and nailed any loose shingles and the chimney flashing, but this did nothing to prevent the other small holes I had in the roof. Damn it. The back second story deck was taken out by a tree, a tree branch came through a bedroom window and there were eight damaged trees in the yard.)
- If you have a sump pump in your crawl space, pour a substantial amount (you decide) of water into the collection area to ensure the pumps kicks on. If not, check the associated breaker or reset button, if it exists.
- You may want to close below-ground-level crawl space vents and open up those you believe will not be affected by flooding. This is a judgement call as many vents don't hold back accumulated water, but less water under your home and more airflow are only going to help.
- Most healthy small branches encroaching or touching your home are probably not going to cause a problem and even some of those larger, mostly dead (light) branches, unless they are substantially larger and become waterlogged and break, will not. Dead branches usually fall completely while other healthier ones may partially tear and pendulum downward. Either could be a personal or home safety issue.
- If you store critical things (in this case), such as generators, gas or electric power tools, outside or in a shed or garage, you may want to move them a few feet higher. All my power tools, gases and batteries are 4 to 6 feet above ground level. What you do with your live-in in-law is between you and their offspring, the one you married.
- Once you believe it is safe to go outside again (Wasn't part of a movie title?), which will probably be under a gorgeous sky and cooler temps, please go check on all those things you did, were suspect of or concerned with (If, you actually read the Before section.) before, but first...
- Look up. Okay, you will obviously notice any damage from above which crashed your new SUV, crushed your ornate blown glass water fountain or mangled your recently built pergola. But, take the time to look up (Unless, you live on a prairie.) at all the mature, even smaller trees on your property for broken or nearly broken branches, those above your roof or any other man-made structure and particularly those which could cause harm to you or your family.
- Most of my experiences with hurricanes is that the few hours after the last bands of the hurricane have left are as gorgeous as the quiet before the storm. Take this time to clear your lawn of whatever natural or otherwise debris was left behind. Most of our grasses are still growing or at least nowhere dormant and they still want to enjoy the sunlight and get some air.
- For the most part, other than what I suggested above, most of this after-the-fact is paying attention to (following up on) what you would have addressed before an event such as what hurricane Florence may unwelcomingly bring us. My personal experience and with those of customers, leads me to re-iterated, regardless of how much rain, moisture, flooding, etc. you believe you receive during such an event - get under your home, if able, with a flashlight, a pair of readers if you need them, a moisture meter, if needed, and see if your home's under-belly, already drenched by our humidous (I made that up.) climate, was further saturated. Other than flood waters which may have ruined your carpet, hardwoods or oriental rugs, this form of moisture, unattended, will possibly cause you more monetary and health worries.
Note: Many customers either discovered drainage issues they had after the 2015 flood or rediscovered ones they had ignored before. Actually, the four day rain event we had in the summer of 2016 caused more property owners to contact us. We have a good friend and associate we work with who has been solving such problems for over 25 years.