Recent Storm Damage Posts

What to do during and after a Missoula winter storm

1/9/2024 (Permalink)

A hillside in a snow storm. Montana winters are unpredictable, but having an emergency plan means never being caught off guard!

With winter storms closing in so quickly, hopefully by now you’ve done all your winter prep work—your pantries are stocked with non-perishables, and your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have been recently checked. But what do you do when the words “Winter Storm Warning” actually appear on the forecast?

According to the American Red Cross, a Winter Storm Warning means “life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours.” When you see one go into effect on your local broadcast, the first thing you should do is get yourself, your family, and your companion animals to a safe place and remain indoors; avoid travel unless it is necessary (and even then, use public transport whenever possible). If you have livestock, make sure they have access to shelter and non-frozen water. Then, stay updated; keep a battery-powered radio tuned to your local news broadcast or NOAA station to get live updates on weather conditions.

Winter storms can last for several hours or even days, which is why it’s so important to have that emergency kit well-stocked and accessible. While you and your family are hunkered down, make sure everyone keeps hydrated (this means avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which can both lead to dehydration) and eats regularly, as the body needs energy to produce heat. Storms often put stress on power systems, so conserve energy by closing doors to unused rooms and by setting your thermostat to 65°F during the day and 55°F at night.

If you must go outside during a storm, wear layered clothing, gloves, and a hat, and cover your mouth. Avoid talking and taking deep breaths to protect your lungs from frigid air, and avoid overexertion; shoveling snow is a leading cause of heart attacks in the winter, and sweating in freezing conditions can lead to hypothermia.

Even after a winter storm has ended, it’s important to stay warm and tune in to local news for travel conditions. Always think about safety first! For more details on what to do during and after a winter storm, check out

Winter is Coming to Missoula: Winter Storm Preparedness

11/9/2023 (Permalink)

Snow covered pine tree branches are tangled in power lines. It’s important to prepare for winter storms before severe weather strikes.

Like those Christmas decorations in the department store, it may seem a bit early to think about winter storms, much less prepare your home for one. However, the middle of a blizzard is hardly the time to wonder when your heating system was last serviced. By taking action now, you can head into the holiday season comfortable with the knowledge that your home and family will be safe in the face of severe winter weather.

Before those nightly temperatures plummet, you’ll want to take preventative measures to keep your pipes from freezing (stay tuned for another post with more info) and help your home retain heat by weather-stripping doors and windowsills and replacing your heating system’s filter. Then, you might consider buying emergency heating equipment (and fuel) or a portable backup generator—but not before checking that your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector are in good working order! And in case you’re unable to leave your home for a prolonged amount of time due to weather conditions, having a stock of non-perishable food items in your pantry is always a good idea.

While you can hopefully avoid the roads entirely during a winter storm, in the event that you’re caught traveling or need to evacuate an area when a storm strikes, you also want to be sure your vehicle is winter-ready. The American Red Cross recommends having a maintenance check and tire evaluation in autumn so that any necessary maintenance can be completed before winter arrives, and having an emergency road kit with the following provisions: a windshield scraper, a small sack of sand (for generating traction), matches in a waterproof container, tire chains or traction mats, a bright red cloth to tie to your antenna, warm clothing, water, and snack food, and a battery-powered radio.

It’s never too early to think about emergency preparedness—for more ways to get started, check out the free SERVPRO Ready Plan App in the app store or at

What to do when a lightning storm strikes Missoula

6/14/2023 (Permalink)

Lightning strikes a mountain top. When thunder roars, go indoors!

Just as snow is expected, during a Montana winter, so are thunderstorms expected during a Montana summer. Here in the Missoula Valley, it is not uncommon for hundreds of lightning strikes to occur over the course of a single stormy weekend. And while lightning against the backdrop of the Bitterroot Mountains can offer some of the most stunning sights of summer, they are also cause for education and preparation.

The National Weather Service estimates that 49 people are killed by lightning in the United States each year, and thunderstorms are also often accompanied by harsh winds, hail, and even flash flooding. For these reasons, it’s important to remember the slogan “When thunder roars, go indoors!” Take refuge in a car or building for the duration of the storm, check for alerts and updates from local authorities, unplug appliances, and do not use landline phones. Once it’s safe to go outside, be on the lookout for downed power lines and trees, and report them immediately.

To better prepare your home and your family for future thunderstorms, recommends signing up for emergency alerts, cutting down or trimming trees that could fall under the force of powerful winds, and buying surge protectors to protect your appliances and electronics from power surges.

And if your home suffers damage from a lightning-caused fire or water damage from a flash flood, call SERVPRO of Missoula to make it “Like it never even happened.