Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dozen Days of Downpours... plus a few Dozen more!

This past month had a few dozen days of downpours.  A few dozen or so roads closed. A few dozen inches of rainfall...  Several dozens of disasters.   If you are dealing with the fallout of flooding and rain damage, the Bin There Dump That Dumpster Diva is here to help.   

July ended with 4.77 inches above normal rainfall, and if you have wet carpets, a flooded carport, water damage in your yard or around the foundation or other rain-inflicted destruction, you need to take action.   The City of Tampa has been giving away sandbags, and residents have to exercise caution in leaving home, as many roads have been closed, flooded and/or damaged.   Flood warnings were issued, and the Anclote River rose more than two feet above flood stage on Aug. 3.   Flooding can occur days after rain has stopped.

Unwanted water commands immediate attention as it not only can destroy carpets, electronics, floors and furnishings, but also it creates a haven for mold growth.   Mold can ruin interior walls and structure components, and it promotes very poor indoor air quality which in turn can cause serious illness and respiratory problems.   The quicker you act, the faster you reduce chances of unnecessary damage and health issues.

  • Disconnect power if water is above any electrical outlets, and exercise caution using electrical things like a shop vac in places where water has accumulated
  • Wear protective clothing, boots and gloves, etc
  • Take photos for insurance purposes before you begin clean-up work
  • Remove what you can as quickly as you can to higher ground or place
  • Get rid of water; use buckets and mops if you have to; remove mud with shovels and hose out what you can
  • Cut away wet drywall, tear up rugs, remove wet insulation and worry about repairs later
  • Check foundation for mortar breakdown
  • Open up everything you can to dry air and breezes
  • As things dry, clean with disinfectant to eliminate bacteria; water and common bleach mixture (5:1 ratio) is a great disinfectant except for fabric; wear protective gear and work with windows open
  • One excellent product, Concrobium, inhibits mold growth  
  • Arrange for a Tampa dumpster rental with Bin There Dump That to keep all the wet, damp and damaged stuff together and away from the house.

Timing is of the essence when cleaning up unwanted water, and cross-ventilation is the best way to dry things out.  It may not be the fastest, and you can assist with fans.  Don't forget to open small spaces like half-baths, closets and pantries. 

Then head for the yard for downed branches, debris, plastic chairs and anything in the neighborhood that wasn't nailed down during high wind and rain that may now be on your property.  Bin There Dump That can deliver a yard waste dumpster rental for you to share with a couple neighbors for tree limbs, errant junk and damaged landscaping. 

Remember this tiny fact: Most people underestimate the size of a dumpster they need, so go up a notch or two and be sure you have what you need first time, so you're not paying for multiple pick-ups and replacement. The Bin There Dump That folks can help you decide, and they'll be like your new best friend for a quick response and professional placement and storm debris and junk removal. 

Keep an eye on where ERIKA is going, hopefully it turns east and gives us a break from the rain!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Be Safe ~ Be Smart: Flood Prep

The number one natural disaster in the United States is floods, and Florida leads the country with twice as many claims and twice as much money paid out than the second state on the list [Alabama]. While a flood is a temporary condition, it is also a potentially dangerous and expensive experience. 

In the Tampa Bay region, it's not usually swollen rivers overflowing their banks, but heavy rainfall in a short period of time, measured in hours, not days or weeks or the high tides in South Tampa.   The topography is fairly flat, and there are not many appropriate places for rainwater to go once the drain systems are overwhelmed. So, it leaks and pours into inappropriate places, like your house. 

You can't control Mother Nature, but you can be prepared and remain safe during torrential rains and local flooding.   About half of people who die in floods are trying to drive through water.  The Bin There Dump That Dumpster Diva is here to tell you that water is one powerful force.   It creates valleys like the Grand Canyon, can sweep away a car or SUV in a mere two-foot depth, and a person can go down quickly in as little as six inches of rapidly moving water.  

If you live in Aspen, Colorado, you should be prepared for heavy snows and power outages.  If Chicago is your home, its nickname of the Windy City is a clue that mega breezy conditions may occur.  And if you are lucky enough to reside in the Sunshine State of Florida, flooding could be the thorn in your side.  Preparation is key, even if there's nary a cloud in the sky.  

Things to keep on hand year round, plus extras you can gather even one day in advance:
  • flashlights and batteries
  • radio with batteries
  • pet flood emergency plan
  • spare toiletries in a secure bag
  • change of clothes in waterproof container
  • dry foods, snacks and pet food
  • medicine
  • flotation devices (why not?) for every member of the family
  • know how to shut off power and gas to your house
  • fully charged cell phone
  • at least a few gallons of clean water.

All levels of government stay informed and impart information to the public as it becomes available.  Stay tuned in advance to weather alerts and heed both watches and warnings.  Hold a family powwow and go over emergency procedures, plans and supplies.  

Take advantage of free sandbags, like the City of Tampa recently provided, and all other services, including moving to a shelter in advance.  Emergency Medical Services personnel and equipment are stretched to the limit during natural disasters, and people who plan ahead need not be in the statistics of those who need evacuation assistance or among those who perish in the disaster.   Be part of the solution, not the problem. 
  • Stay calm and clear-headed
  • Tune in for local news and information often
  • Do not drive or walk in moving water
  • Evacuate in advance if it looks worse than normal
  • Cut off your own power if water rises
  • Don't touch any downed power lines
  • Refrain from swimming
  • Be smart, sensible and safe
Since hurricanes are a serious source of flooding, many of our resources locally address flooding in hurricane preparedness communication.  Here are a few local resources for flood preparation around our area:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tampa Flood Clean Up

Some Rain Must Fall

In his well-known poem "The Rainy Day," Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [1807-1882] concluded:

Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Certainly this could not have been some premonition of recent days in Florida, could it?   The Gulf View Square Mall in Port Richey closed mid-afternoon. Parts of Anclote River Estates were evacuated. Streets and intersections in Tampa were flooded. The Sky Way Bridge closed at times, & Buddy Brew on Kennedy Avenue in Tampa gave away coffee to stranded motorists.

Even the Pony Express, now known as the U.S. Postal Service, was halted from its operating slogan, "the mail must go through," due to flooding.  I thought they never stopped!   This was not a futuristic movie of natural disaster; it is/was real life in the Tampa Bay region as rainfall descended at unprecedented rates in late July and into August.  

Just under six inches of rain in 12 hours was reported in Odessa at one point, while more than seven inches fell in Palm Harbor and close to five and a half in Dunedin!   Imagine heading home via the I-275 southbound exit ramp at Westshore Blvd. to find it flooded at the bottom and gridlock of autos backed up to the highway. Rescue units were out in full force plucking folks from flooded homes and evacuating families from flooded apartment complexes.

Curt Gadson, a federal employee who was stuck on a flooded Palmira Avenue in Palma Ceia, joked about capturing the water and sending it to drought-ridden California. In Palm Harbor, jon boats and Humvees were pressed into service to bring people out of an RV park. Even Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority got into the action, sending out a couple buses to assist stranded residents. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge boasted winds gusting up to 43 miles per hour, and the Florida Highway Patrol advised everyone to use caution if they had to go that way.

The Anclote River rose close to its highest ever, and rain fell in some places at the rate of three inches per hour. And for a few days and ensuing weeks in this neck of the woods, it's possible that the Sunshine State was fast becoming the Waterlogged State. Most of you probably saw the facebook map where our area was under water in the middle of Florida!

The normal average rainfall for August fell in just the first three days. July ended with 4.7 inches above average rain. The flatness of the land along with our location means that the greater Tampa region often experiences heavy rainstorms and local flooding. Tropical storms and hurricanes bring more damage and floods than the typical, afternoon thunderstorms, but all can damage property and threaten health and well-being.

The City of Tampa has produced a Stormwater Department Flood Protection brochure available by clicking this link here.

But the bottom line is this:

If you have/had water seeping into your living room, master bedroom, kitchen, carport or anywhere, you don't much care about the statistics.  You know there's been wa-a-a-ay above average rain. You're looking at it in places you don't want to see it, possibly damaging your property and stuff. Stick with Bin There Dump That's Dumpster Diva for flood tips, clean-up advice and debris removal dumpster rentals coming next to our blog!