January 7, 2016 by Establishing "Why" Since 1966

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, since 2012 the National Flood Insurance Program alone has had roughly 179,959 losses totaling around $9,901,841 in claims paid, due to flood damage. From 2005 to 2014, total flood insurance claims averaged more than $3.5 billion per year.

Risk Management Solutions assessed risk in six U.S. coastal cities to determine how losses from storm surges, defined as wind-driven coastal flooding, are expected to change through the year 2100. According to RMS models, the chance of a storm surge event causing at least $15 billion in economic losses, using today’s dollar values and exposures, in 2100 rises greatly from today’s tabulated figures of risk. By 2100, the risk levels to 1-in-30 in Tampa, 1-in-30 in Miami, 1-in-45 in New York and 1-in-315 in New Orleans.

Forensic hydrology typically refers to investigations of water issues and the need to identify the cause and damage incurred by storm water. Forensic hydrologists use a number of hydrologic tools to determine the history of a class of past events. One such tool is computer modeling. He or she may need to determine when flooding first began or the affect of recent upstream factors that have recently changed due to clearing of land for land disturbance projects.

FAEC’s forensic hydrologists evaluate damages caused by water and determine the source of the water that caused the damage.
Forensic hydrologists investigate many issues, including the following:

  • Flooding of property from heavy rain events
  • Hydroplaning on roadways caused by road defects
  • Development of land that prevents water from flowing in its natural watercourses
  • Erosion of the earth’s surface caused by the flow of surface water across unprotected soil created by land disturbing activities
  • Uncontrolled discharge of surface water, which causes flooding downstream

Common risks associated with flooding include:

  • Mold and Mildew
    -Many building materials, furniture and other items that stay wet for more than a few days will grow moldy. Mold colonies are the fuzzy or patchy white, green, brown or black growths that you will see on wallboard, wood furniture and cabinets, clothing, wall studs, and almost any other surface.
    -Mold releases tiny spores and other cells into the air that can cause allergic illness like hay fever (coughing, sneezing, irritated eyes), asthma symptoms, or other respiratory illness that can be serious. Some molds may also produce toxins that could cause numbers of other illnesses. *
  • Electrical Hazards
    Just an egg cupful of water in the combustion chamber of a car could be enough to wreck an engine
  • Hazardous Materials Spills
    Floodwaters can cause containers of hazardous materials such as pesticides, fuel or gasoline to spill indoors.
  • Contaminated Water/Bacteria and Viruses
    Microscopic organisms, particularly those from sewage, will be in floodwater and mud or sediment left by floodwater. If you accidentally swallow sediment or flood water that is contaminated, you might develop gastrointestinal (digestive tract) illness.

From hurricane force winds to baseball sized hail, storms of all types can inflict substantial damage to properties and their electrical and mechanical systems. In certain cases, Forensic Analysis & Engineering consultants work with forensic meteorologists to establish wind loading, snow weights or water surge levels. Our experts collectively have over 1000 years of experience and have performed storm damage analyses in countless cases across the nation. Our structural engineers will work to fully evaluate damaged structure and both mechanical & electrical systems ranging from a private residence, commercial structure or industrial setting. Our professional engineers, upon detecting any imminent dangers, will rapidly inform the insured. Our methods of “Establishing Why” the damage or failure occurred will save time, energy and lower the costs to reach full recovery. To find out more or to submit an investigation request, visit our website at http://www.forensic-analysis.com.