When Snow and Ice Melt: Preparing for Potential Flooding

Feb 26, 2014 Homeowner Tips

While winter is still very much in full swing across most of the U.S, spring is still around the corner and, with that, warmer temperatures and sunnier days. The change in season can often lead to sharp changes in conditions–especially in areas with a lot of snowpack and ice. As temperatures rise, snow and ice melt and increase the risk of flooding. Significant snow accumulation and freezing can often make conditions ideal for flooding as temperatures warm–particularly rapid rises.

Even rainfall can cause snow to melt fast and further increase the risks of flooding. Snow buildup on roofs and around structures can also lead to water damage as it melts. This is especially true if gutters or downspouts are clogged with debris. As the coldest part of winter begins to subside, it is worth keeping in mind measures you can take to prepare for potential flooding and prevent water damage.

Know How to Respond to Flooding

Any type of disaster preparation comes down to knowing how to respond in the first place. For flooding, there are specific things that you should understand related to protecting your home and your possessions. Gutters, downspouts, and drains should be cleared of debris to prevent water from backing up. You will need to protect appliances by raising them up on blocks 12 inches or so above the flood level. If flooding is likely make sure you shut off the power to your home at the main breaker. This is very important to prevent fire risks if water enters your home.

Move furniture and electronics off of the floor, especially in basements. Electronics should be unplugged and stored in a high place if possible. If you have rugs, roll them up and store them in a high place as well. While there is not much you can do about carpet–especially in basements–mitigating the impact water has on other parts of your home is good. If water does soak carpet, it is at least fairly easy to tear out and replace. Before snow melts and flood risks increase, try and seal cracks in foundations, walls, and other openings to reduce the possibility of water seeping into the house.

Beyond upkeep to your home and protecting your possessions, responding to flooding comes down to putting together an emergency response kit and planning to address damages as efficiently as possible. As snow and ice melt and spring rains arrive, begin evaluating your preparedness to address potential flooding, monitor weather conditions and flood alerts, and take steps to reduce the impact any flooding has on your home.

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