5 Worst Area Mudslides and Other Wet Weather Disasters

Have you ever seen video images of a mudslide in action? The power of all that wet soil bearing down on houses and other buildings is immense. Mudslides in the Northeast affect homes in several significant ways: structural damage to the foundation and load bearing walls from the weight of the mud, water damage from related flooding and infiltration with bacteria and sludge from broken sewer lines in the affected area. At Paul Davis Restoration/Emergency Services of Maine, we have experience restoring all of the types of damage your home may sustain in a mudslide. We want you to know that you can pull through disasters like this with help from our experienced and compassionate restoration professionals.
The primary danger areas for mudslides and flooding in the U.S. are along the West Coast. However, that doesn’t mean Maine residents are out of the clear. This danger can occur anywhere there is steep terrain or unstable soil, which is common throughout the East Coast.
Most landslide or mudslide events are precipitated by heavy rainfall events. They can also be associated with other natural disasters such as snowmelt from unusually heavy winters. A broken dam or levee can also inundate small cities and towns with muddy water.
1. The Johnstown, Pennsylvania Flood of 1889 was the result of a dam giving way. It burst at its sides and lurched forward under extreme heavy rainfall. In addition to 17 million dollars* of damage, it killed an estimated 2,200 people. Man-made dams are common throughout the U.S. If you live near one, be sure that your city is diligent about regularly inspecting and maintaining it for safety.
2. In Haverstraw, New York, on January 9th 1906, 22 people were killed when a large landslide buried eight houses. Haverstraw, then the brick-making capital of the world, was experiencing a crisis as the blue clay beneath the village was being mined faster than the city could sustain. Cracks that began forming along Rockland Street were ignored by enterprising brick-makers. Finally, on January 9th, a series of three landslides hit the city, killing people and swallowing roughly a third of the village and setting buildings ablaze by knocked over kerosene lamps. Thankfully, the East Coast isn’t prone to these types of large-scale loose soil dramatics. Haverstraw is a good reminder to homeowners however, that ignoring cracks and other signs of wear and tear around your home is a disaster waiting to happen.
3. When it rains it pours…sometimes for 40 continuous days! In the fall of 2011, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee left eastern Virginia, southern New York and western New England showered with more than 300% of normal rainfall. Eastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey and southeastern New York were also swimming in more than 500% of normal! This super soaker not only caused record breaking floods throughout the region, the Mountain Lake community in Liberty Township, New Jersey, experienced a mudslide that swallowed cars and homes 30 feet into the ground. While this event was, indeed, “out of the norm,” weatherproofing your property in advance can give you peace of mind and make all the difference in an unexpected or prolonged weather-related event.
4. The spring of 2007 came in with a roar when a devastating storm pounded the Northeast causing property damage of every variety throughout the region including snowstorms, windstorms, rainstorms and flooding. From New York, to North Carolina to Maine, the storm left nearly 700,000 homes and businesses without power, massive flooding left refrigerators and cars floating down rivers, mudslides and fallen trees blocked roads from Kentucky to New England. A well maintained home is one that’s prepared for several different kinds of weather events—you never know when one will hit, only to trigger another!
5. An unnamed 1938 Hurricane hit the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. and killed 494 people in associated floods. It caused 306 million dollars in damages.
The scope of these disasters makes them difficult for any community (or even the federal government) to manage. This is one good reason to have our number. That way, when a mudslide or wet weather disaster strikes, you can call someone who cares and start restoring your home as soon as possible.
Paul Davis Restoration of Maine assists communities with mudslides and other weather disasters.
*All dollars are unadjusted unless otherwise noted.

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