We love fall for many reasons—pumpkin-flavored everything, trick-or-treating, and sweater weather, just to name a few. However, many of us overlook a significant part of this season (hint, the answer isn’t dressing up for Halloween).
According to FEMA—the Federal Emergency Management Agency—every region of the United States is at risk for winter flooding. In fact, floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States.
So what makes the winter months significantly risky in terms of potential flooding, and what can be done now to prevent and prepare for a flooding situation?
What Causes Winter Flooding?
Our attention is often focused on upcoming ice and snowstorms this time of year, but it’s also crucial to consider the potential for flooding.
Here are some of the primary causes of winter flooding for homes and businesses.
When water pipes are exposed to cold temperatures, the liquid inside of them can freeze, causing pipes to burst. The pipes most at risks are those along exterior walls or in crawl spaces.
You can help prevent water damage from broken pipes by insulating and wrapping these at-risk pipes with special pipe insulation or towels.
A sudden thaw can make snow and ice melt quickly—causing a significant amount of water runoff in a short period of time. However, the ground still remains hard and frozen, making it almost impossible to absorb runoff water. The water then runs from the surface of the ground into rivers, lakes, and streams, which can lead to dangerous flooding.
Because flooding from snowmelt is unavoidable, it’s important to make necessary preparations to your home, and also have a 24/7 on-call water damage restoration provider handy in case of an emergency, like Chem-Dry of Lafayette.
Heat from your home can rise to the attic, warming ice and snow on your rooftop. When melted snow reaches the edges of your roof and your rain gutters, it re-freezes, causing a dam. These dams continue to grow and block additional snow run-off behind them. This build up of water can eventually flood your roof, attic, and walls.
You can help prevent ice dams by either installing an electrical heat strip along the edge of your roof, or adding extra insulation to your attic to prevent too much heat from escaping. It’s also important to make sure there’s adequate ventilation in your attic and exit points for the hot air to escape.
If temperatures stay low for an extended period of time, the surfaces of rivers will freeze. When the water level rises or a rise in temperature causes a thaw, this surface ice can break into chunks. These large ice pieces can jam at man made obstructions like bridges or natural obstructions, causing severe flooding.
In coastal areas near oceans or lakes, wind generated by winter storms can cause eroding coastlines and tidal flooding. These storm surges can damage one side of a lake community then pendulum swing across to hit the other side with high water levels.
Prepare For Winter Flooding
In addition to the suggestions above, there are a few other key precautions you can take to prepare for winter flooding.
If you don’t have one already, purchase a flood insurance policy for your home or business. If you do have a flood insurance policy, review it and become familiar with what it covers.
Make an emergency kit and have an emergency action plan in place for your family and/or employees. Keep important items in a water proof place and maintain a supply of water and non-perishable food.
If flooding does hit, take photos of your home and your possessions as quickly and safely as possible for insurance purposes.
Know Your Local Water Damage Restoration Specialist
The risk of winter flooding is real, but you don’t have to handle it on your own.
Find peace of mind by utilizes emergency flood damage services from Chem-Dry of Lafayette. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—ready to respond in case of a flood emergency in your Indiana home.
For a quick response to your winter flooding emergency, contact us immediately. Our trained flood damage restoration team is ready to act fast—day or night—to help restore your home in the Lafayette, Indiana area.