While winter will be giving folks in the Midwest a temporary break later this week, the warming temperatures on tap are increasing the risk for flooding. Forecasters are saying that a mid-February thaw is coming to parts of the Midwest including Michigan and Ohio which will put many homes at risk for flooding from melting snow and rain that may be falling. Homes most susceptible to flooding are those located along rivers, streams and creeks as well as those located in low lying areas.
It’s important for homeowners to know their risks for flooding. It’s also essential for homeowners at risk to have flood insurance in place. If your home is in a flood zone and you’re not covered by insurance, now is the time to purchase flood insurance because most insurance companies don’t allow the coverage to go into effect for 30 days following purchase.
For homes at risk of flooding, it’s important for people to be well-prepared. Getting a disaster kit made which includes important documents, medications, non-perishable foods, drinking water and flashlights with batteries is important. Homeowners who are at risk for creek, stream or river flooding should think about investing in sandbags. They should also get to work moving snow away from their homes by a few feet to prevent snow melt from entering basements.
Officials across the Midwest including those in Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland are warning residents to be prepared for possible flooding conditions later this week. Temperatures in these communities as well as others in the region are expected to reach into the 40s later this week. And because the ground is still frozen, melting snow and rainfall cannot soak in which dramatically increases the risk for flooding. Now is the time of the year for homeowners to check to be sure their sump pumps are in good working order. It’s also time to make sure gutter downspouts are facing away form homes and are free from snow, ice and debris.
With so much snow on the ground in the Midwest, there is a big worry now about an early spring thaw. When temperatures warm up quickly when there’s several inches of snow on the ground, very serious flooding can take occur as large water runoffs rapidly take place. Water that cannot penetrate the frozen ground will flow into rivers, lakes and streams wherein eventually it will spill over banks to cause flooding.
People living in the Midwest are being reminded that flooding can take place anywhere at anytime. When the temperatures rise while there’s snow on the frozen ground, it can back up storm sewers which can contribute to dangerous flash flooding. Flash flooding is the number one weather related killer in the United States and is defined as rapid flooding of low-lying areas in less than six hours.