What Hurricane Matthew Flooding Means to Residents of North Carolina
Thousands of North Carolina residents have been impacted by the effects of Hurricane Matthew. Between severe flooding and damage caused by high winds and rain, there are many ways that water damage may have affected your property. Reports are calling this the worst flooding in over 17 years, with an estimated 10 billion dollars worth of damage done in the U.S. alone. Only about half of that is insured. Though the hurricane passed through relatively quickly, flood waters continued to cause damage all over the eastern portion of the state. Local businesses have been destroyed, schools closed, roads flooded. The Tar River, responsible for much of this disastrous flooding, is expected to crest around 25 feet. That’s even higher than previously estimated. Flood conditions continue in Fayetteville, and the Neuse River in Kinston is also on the rise as of the time of this writing.
State of Emergency Declared
President Barack Obama declared a new state of emergency for 31 counties in the eastern half of the state. According to NBC News, “The full extent of the damage in North Carolina was unclear, but it appeared that thousands of homes were damaged. Many likened Matthew to Hurricane Floyd, which did $3 billion in damage and destroyed 7,000 homes in North Carolina as it skirted the state’s coast in 1999.” Many bridges have been closed, and authorities have been urging people in the affected counties to evacuate before they lose the option. As this deadly flood continues, uncertainties mount for those still wondering what will be left behind, and what has been destroyed.
While many people have been relocated to emergency shelters, there are still more who are waiting on rescue teams. Emergency teams have been working since Hurricane Matthew to locate those individuals who need help and take them to safer areas. These efforts have even extended to household pets. Several drowning deaths have occurred as the waters engulfed more of North Carolina, and authorities would like to emphasize that personal safety should be paramount. Only once everyone has been safely rescued and relocated can North Carolina begin to rebuild, and only once the flood waters recede can the state proceed with tallying the damage caused by the flood waters.
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Advice to Homeowners Affected by the Flood
It is an unfortunate reality that some homeowners will not be able to reclaim their homes and possessions after the flood waters drain. The silver lining is that many of these homeowners will be able to apply for FEMA assistance, allowing them to relocate to a new home in a safer area. The determination between salvageable and unsalvageable materials can sometimes be difficult to make. Hiring a professional with experience in the water damage restoration industry is a good way to get an honest appraisal, whether you have insurance or not.
If the level of flooding has not been entirely floor to ceiling, there’s a chance that the home and even some of the items within may be salvageable. If this is the case, it is imperative that swift action is taken to counteract the effects of water damage. Most of the time, once flood waters have been reduced to the ground level, there are actions that can be taken to lessen progressive damage and begin remediation procedures. Unfortunately, homes and businesses that are allowed to sit around after extreme water damage will still continue to accrue damage. The only way to halt water damage and begin its reversal is a professional-level dry out of the property, and reduction of moisture levels below that which mold can easily form. In other words, flood water restoration needs to begin as early as possible.
In order to restore a home to a safe and habitable state, it is necessary to undergo proper drying procedures and thorough mold detection. Just because you can’t see water in your house doesn’t mean that all of the water is actually gone. Water can occupy many spaces in a dwelling, including basements, attics, the space between the walls, and under the floorboards. None of these areas are particularly visible but can contribute a great deal of moisture to your interior atmosphere. If moisture becomes trapped in the walls and sub-flooring, serious complications may arise in the form of mold, mildew, and even structural damage that can lead to a total collapse of your home if left unchecked.
Working with FEMA & Your Insurance Company
While North Carolina is prone to hurricane-related weather issues, not everyone has flood insurance as it is not a standard feature in most homeowner insurance packages. Instead, flood insurance is covered by the National Flood Insurance program. If you are a homeowner that has been affected by the Hurricane Matthew flooding and possess an insurance policy, you should know that your insurance company is probably already waiting to hear from you. As this flooding is a national emergency, flood insurance companies are already getting ready to handle the influx of attention. If you are uninsured for flood damage, don’t panic! This means that you will have to work with FEMA to restore your home or re-establish elsewhere. Funds will be allocated to homeowners in need, due to the fact that President Obama has declared a state of emergency. While you can’t count on FEMA to be able to cover your total restoration costs, partial assistance or partial reimbursement may still be an option for most home and small business owners.
To find out if you qualify, you can visit www.disasterassistance.gov and fill out a form. According to FEMA:
“If you have damage or loss from this disaster, you may complete a FEMA application now even if your county has not been federally declared for Individual Assistance. This will help speed up the process if counties are added to a declaration. Your application will be processed if your county is added to a declaration and FEMA determines you are eligible.”
Restoring Your Property
The best thing you can do for your property is to call for professional assistance as soon as possible. A water damage restoration expert can help you tabulate your total costs while keeping them as low as possible. They can also provide an expert opinion on the state of your property and its contents. The longer you let your home or business sit before taking action, the less likely it is that you will be able to completely restore your home or even salvage anything at all. Once water damage has begun, it often leads quickly to mold damage, rot, and bacteria that even a water damage restoration specialist will be unable to save.
This is a devastating time for the citizens of North Carolina, and we know that the emotional toll that this loss will take on our community will be difficult to heal. Call us as soon as possible, so that we can take immediate action against the water damage done to your property. We will send a water damage restoration expert to your location, and they will be able to provide you with a free estimate. You will be able to work together to file the emergency assistance claim or file with your insurance company. Remember, the longer you let a water damaged property sit, the less likely it is that anything will be able to be saved.