As the weather becomes increasingly warmer (and fast!), it is important for us to remember that as the snow rapidly melts, it could cause many different types of flooding. Whether this means in your home or in outdoor locations, it is best to be educated to ensure your safety. Here are a few ways flooding can occur during springtime!
If you haven’t heard of an ice dam before, it is “a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas” (University of Minnesota Extension). Essentially, ice dams are a very common result of an extreme change in weather (from very cold to warm). This is because if there are piles of snow on your roof and they melt immediately due to the warm weather, this could cause a great deal of flooding.
To avoid an ice dam on your roof, you can either hire a professional, who can deal with the heat transfer problem, or you could attempt to control the heat within your home. The different temperatures on your roof are a huge factor of why ice dams occur.
To learn more about ice dams and how you can prevent them, click here
This type of flooding is common in areas with many buildings and little areas to soak up all of the water, hence “urban flooding.” If you live in an urban area, be sure to be mindful of powerful thunderstorms and potential flooding as a result, as “streets can become similar to rivers with fast-moving water” (Navigator Credit Union).
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Not to be confused with ice dams, this is when “the upstream part of a river thaws first, [then] ice can be carried downstream to the still frozen part. Then it may pile up and flood the area upstream of the jam” (Navigator Credit Union). This can result in the overflow of rivers onto land and, potentially, bring flooding into nearby homes.
What can you do to protect against the risk of flooding?
Purchase flood insurance
Covering your bases and purchasing flood insurance can be incredibly helpful to be covered. Flooding can happen to anyone and being proactive in purchasing flood insurance is incredibly important, as it could happen before you know it.
If you are looking for flood insurance, be sure to check out our website and request a quote! We’d be happy to help you out, hopefully before any flooding damages your home.
Be aware of spring flood risks
- Spring thaw
- Large amount of snow melt runoff that results in the overflow of bodies of water
- Spring rains
- Can bring several inches of precipitation over short period of time. Spring rains can lead to severe flooding by “oversaturating the ground, overfilling storm drains, or causing rivers to spill over their bank or levees” (FEMA).
- Flash flooding
- Rapid flooding of lower land that is generally caused by rainfall from a thunderstorm(s). Keep in mind that flash floods can also occur during droughts or drought-like conditions.
- Levees and dams
- Designed to protect against flooding. They can erode and weaken over time and may fail during larger floods.
Learn more about spring flood risks here
Make sure your sump pump is working
As you may know, your sump pump is what helps prevent flooding in your basement (and if you don’t know, it’s the big hole in your basement floor that you may hear vaguely throughout your house as it does its job). It is important to ensure that your sump pump is working, especially before flooding season begins, as it can be considered as your “home’s protector and guardian [and] is also your home’s Achilles heel” (Roto-Rooter). An inactivated pump can result in water flowing into your basement through floor cracks, as well as your overflowing sump crock. Be sure to also install a backup system (or two) to ensure your home’s safety and avoid any damages.
For more sump pump information, or if you need to install a new one in your home, check out this website
Practice an emergency plan
A flood may not seem like an urgent and serious situation, but they can actually be very dangerous depending on the severity. Practice an emergency plan with your family, much like a fire drill, so that everyone is aware of the proper safety procedure to follow in the case of a severe flood. This may include practicing “flood evacuation routes from home, work, or school that are on higher ground” (FEMA). It may also prove to be helpful to document the belongings of your home that may assist you in filing your flood insurance claims.
Find higher ground in the case of a flood
Try to find higher ground if you happen to be in the situation of a severe flood. It is recommended to avoid “areas subject to flooding, including dips, low spots, washes, etc.” (FEMA). Try to stay out of the areas that have already flooded, as you could get injured by the quick-moving, storm-like water. Be sure to also avoid driving on flooded roads, as it could pick your car up off the ground and you may be stranded.
Keep an eye on the weather
Be mindful of the weather in your town and be sure to keep an eye out for any suspicious weather that may cause damage or injury to you or your home. If you see that the weather forecast for the next week and a half is consisting of constant rain, then perhaps begin to prepare for it. Ensure your valuables are taken out of your basement and accounted for (especially for flooding insurance purposes), have an emergency flooding plan, etc.
Flooding may not sound inherently dangerous, but it is one of the most underrated natural hazards that can cause a lot of damage to you and your home. Make sure you are educated and aware of your surroundings so that you are able to protect yourself, your family, and your home from potential losses.
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By: R. Kubek