I know you are probably sitting in your home right now, reading my blog while curled up by the fire, or enjoying a cup of piping hot coffee, bracing yourself to head out into the late winter temperatures. President’s Day weekend we had record low temperatures in the New York Tri-State Area. Two Sundays ago the outdoor reading on the thermometer was -7 (with a real feel temperature of -27) ….
But although it does not seem like it sometimes, Winter will be winding down shortly, and the warmth of spring and the strong rays of the sun will make everyone feel a lot better.
The only unfortunate aspect of the spring thaw is that it is also Flood Season. The months of March, April and May are usually the months that the insurance industry receives the most claim filings for flooding. And according to the National Flood Insurance Program, 25% of claims are filed by people who live outside of high risk areas. Between 2008 and 2012 the average flood claim in the United States was over $41,000. A few inches of water in your basement, garage, first level of your home can lead to thousands of dollars worth of damage and repair.
Below are the special risks that present themselves in spring.
Thaw - April showers bring May flowers … But those showers can sometimes be heavy rain. There is at least a gallon of water contained in each cubic foot of compacted snow and until the ground thaws and is able to reabsorb water, melting snow and ice will have no place to go. The water can result in rivers, streams, brooks and lakes that jump their banks and flood adjacent homes and businesses.
River and Stream Ice Dams – It is basic science, when the temperatures plunge below freezing, the surfaces of rivers freeze, temperatures rise, the ice breaks into large chunks. Those chunks flow and create dams or jams that cause flooding upstream. After winter storms, tree trunks and branches so clog the natural course of the river, spilling the water over the brim.
Seasonal Rains – Spring rains can last days or weeks and are known for their sudden downpours or flash foods. The average amount of rain for the month of April is over 4 inches in the state of New York. Storm drains are often clogged after winter with autumn leaves and other refuse, causing the water to back up.
So all of these situations lead to serious flooding issues for home and business owners. So what to do NOW, the spring rains commence:
1. Flood insurance protection is meaningless after a flood, so February is the perfect time to purchase or renew your flood insurance. There is a 30 day grace period from the time that you purchase a flood policy until it goes into effect, so this is the optimal time to purchase.
2. Take an inventory of your valuables and belongings. In case you do get flooded having a list of assets and their worth is instrumental in receiving the settlement you expect and deserve. I always recommend the following organizational tool for personal and business inventories: https://www.knowyourstuff.org/iii/login.html
3. Design an "Emergency Plan" - There is nothing worse than last minute panic. Have a Storm Kit prepared for the possibility of evacuation. Devise and divide responsibilities so that everyone knows what they need to attend to in case of emergency. Our website has some great information on Disaster Prepared-ness that can help you plan"