According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flooding is the most common natural disaster in the U.S. David Smith of SERVPRO of Tri-Cities West wants local home and business owners to know that the approaching spring season is notorious for flood-producing weather, so now is the time to prepare for the unpredictable.
“The water damage caused by a broken pipe, malfunctioning clothes or dishwasher, backed up gutters, or damaged roof is typically limited damage and pretty straightforward to deal with,” says Smith. “Depending on where you live and work, however, you may also be at risk for flooding caused by rain, melting snow, coastal storms, storm surges, overflows of dams, ice jams in rivers, or a severe spring storm. Those are the types of flooding risks you need to plan for in advance.”
While some areas are more prone to flooding than others, FEMA warns that everyone lives in an area with some flood risk, so it’s important to understand your risk and take the appropriate steps to prepare. You can discover the flooding risk for your specific home or business address here, but even those who live in a “low flood risk” zone should heed weather warnings. Here are some of spring’s common flood-related weather hazards and where they are most likely to occur.
* Thunderstorms: The Southeast sees the greatest number of thunderstorms while the West Coast sees the fewest. They occur most often in the spring and summer months during the afternoon and evening hours but can occur anywhere and anytime. These powerful storms can dump large amounts of rain in a short period of time, resulting in flooding and power outages. In an average year, the U.S. experiences about 100,000 thunderstorms.
* Snow Melt: Areas of the U.S. that receive a lot of snowfall are subject to flooding from snow melt. As warming temperatures melt the snow on top of frozen ground, water can pour into basements and flood yards and streets. Communities downstream of heavy snowpack areas are at flooding risk from streams and rivers swollen with melted snow and ice. Communities along rivers are subject to flooding due to ice jams that block the river’s flow.
* Coastal Flooding: Flooding events during or following a coastal storm are common, but changes in average sea level and ongoing development have led to a new phenomenon for coastal communities—Blue Sky or Sunny Day Flooding. Spring is one of the times when this phenomenon occurs, when the moon’s orbit brings it closest to the earth, and the moon, sun, and earth align, resulting in extraordinarily high tides. Coastal flooding is most common along the Northeast and Gulf Coasts.
“It’s great to look forward to the warmer days of spring, but it’s also important to remember that this change in the weather can trigger some unsettled and even dangerous weather,” says Smith. “Prepare now for the risk of flooding events by making an emergency plan for meeting up with loved ones, storing fresh water in the event of water supply contamination, having fresh batteries on hand in case of power outages, stockpiling non-perishable food.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, floodwaters can pose several health risks and cause injuries, infections, chemical hazards, and more. Never drive through flooded roadways, and avoid contact with floodwater when possible as it may contain downed power lines or electric current from a home or business; human or livestock waste; household, medical, or industrial hazardous waste; debris; or wild animals such as rodents and snakes. If the water has entered a structure through the flooding of a creek, stream or river, or if it has filtered through insulation during its intrusion, it is also to be considered black water and could be hazardous to your health.
“If your home or business is affected by a flood, remember, quick action is critical to minimizing damage and long-term health risks,” says Smith. “Add SERVPRO of Tri Cities West to your contact list in your phone. We’re here to help.”
SERVPRO specializes in disaster restoration, cleanup, and repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it “Like it never even happened” for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on SERVPRO of Tri Cities West, please contact David Smith at (509) 943-9290 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on SERVPRO, please visit www.servpro.com.
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