Winter flooding poses considerable risks, depending on where you live. Along coastal areas, snow, heavy rains, and strong winds can cause water levels to rise, leading to flooding. The East Coast is particularly sensitive, where storm systems can lead to coastal flooding from the Mid-Atlantic states to the Northeast.
Another cause of winter flooding is sudden thaws of heavy snow. Snowmelts can release vast amounts of water in short periods. As frozen ground prevents the meltwater from penetrating the field and being absorbed, the runoff causes streams and rivers to overflow their banks.
Flooding Prevention During Winter
Flooding is a natural occurrence. To protect your property, make an annual inspection of these areas of your home and take preventive action before winter arrives:
- Drainage. It’s time to clean the leaves, twigs, branches and other debris blocking your drains. Uncleared blockages can turn into back-ups in your drain system and cause overflows in or outside your home.
- Backwater valve. Whenever there’s a sudden rain, there’s a risk that your basement experiences a water backup problem. It’s bad enough if to clean rainwater, so try to imagine dirty sewage filling your basement, ruining everything in its path. Fortunately, you can prevent this by installing a backwater valve. Be sure to check the valve periodically and keep it according to manufacturer instructions to make sure it works properly when you need it most.
- Basement walls. Check your basement and foundation walls and caulk any cracks on interior walls to prevent water from leaking through. You can also use a waterproof sealant on the exterior foundation, especially if your home is susceptible to flooding.
- Snowmelt. If you have 2 or 3 feet of snow against your house, a warm day can turn the snow into a large volume of water that can affect your foundation and basement. To keep snowmelt out of your house, clear snow at least 1 or 2 feet away from all sides of the foundation, especially close to basement windows.
When most people hear “flood,” they only have in mind rivers overflowing their banks in the springtime and tropical storms hitting the Atlantic and Gulf coasts in late summer. But flooding is a risk that doesn’t end when winter arrives. Winter is a season characterized mainly by heavy snowfall, fast snowmelt, and devastating rainstorms that can lead to flooding — and put property and lives in danger.
According to Floodsmart.gov, just one inch of water in a home can cost more than $25,000 in damage. Insurance can protect your property from flood damage during the winter. It’s essential to understand that your standard homeowners’ insurance policy does not include this protection; we can help you with your flood insurance needs.