Winter weather does more than lower temperatures; it also brings a whole lot of concerns.
You have to worry about icy roads, shoveling sidewalks, and the occasional power outage. At least you don’t have to worry about flooding since that’s a warm weather problem. Right?
Unfortunately, flooding isn’t a problem that’s confined to the spring, summer and fall. It’s a major problem in the winter, too. While you may associate flooding with hurricanes and severe thunderstorms, it can also be caused by winter weather – and other non-weather related issues.
Below, we’ll discuss some of the most common causes of winter flooding and water damage, offer tips on how to help prevent these forms of flooding, and help you remedy the situation if your property experiences winter flooding.
What Causes Winter Flooding?
Just like warm weather conditions and events can cause flooding, so can those that occur during the winter months. Here are some of the most common winter weather-related flooding causes:
Melting Snow – Whether it’s a classic Nor’easter or just an average snowstorm, there will be big or small piles of snow surrounding your home or property. As the temperature rises, those piles will melt. However, the frozen ground will only absorb so much of that melting snow. This can lead to water runoffs that can leak into basement windows and cause light flooding. Or, if the runoff is excessive, it can cause local rivers and lakes to overflow and flood the community.
Coastal Flooding – Harsh winds and heavy snows can work together to erode coastlines. When this happens, the potential for significant flooding in coastal areas.
Ice Jams – Another concern for communities near rivers and lakes is ice jams. These jams occur when large portions of surface ice break off (either due to thawing temperatures or rising water levels) and end up lodged in bridges and other structures. When this happens, the rising water overflows into the surrounding areas.
Ice Dams – When rising temperatures and sunshine work together, they help melt all of the snow that’s collected on your roof. Although the melting snow falls off your roof and flows down your gutters during the day, it can refreeze overnight if the temperature drops significantly. This causes ice to form in the gutters. This ice can then prevent the water runoff from the melting snow to backup and leak into your home.
Frozen Pipes – Exterior pipes or pipes located in areas that are not as well insulated (like crawlspaces) are susceptible to freezing temperatures. When this happens, the frozen pipes are at risk of bursting and flooding your property.
Faulty Sump Pump – One of the most common causes of household flooding is a non-functioning sump pump. This is a year-round concern (that’s not limited to any particular season), can occur if the sump pump is faulty or if it’s not working due to a power outage.
How To Prevent Winter Flooding
Now that you know how winter weather can cause flooding, you may be wondering if there are any ways you can protect your property from these hazards. The answer is “yes!”
Here are some of the corrective actions you can take to help prevent winter flooding from damaging your home:
Clean Snow From Windows and Doors – If your doors or windows (especially near basements) are blocked by piles of snow, the water runoff from the melting snow will run into these areas and cause water damage to your home. Clearing these areas of snow helps prevent this damage from occurring.
Clean Your Gutters – To prevent ice buildup in your gutters and downspouts, be sure you clean your gutters every season to remove any dirt and debris. You can also add heat tape to your gutters to ensure that any water left in your gutters does not freeze overnight.
Insulate Your Pipes – If you have exterior pipes or pipes that are located in areas that are susceptible to freezing temperatures, be sure to wrap them in insulation or add insulation to these specific areas. This will help reduce the risk of frozen pipes.
Test Your Sump Pump – Just like cleaning the gutters, it’s always a good idea to check your sump pump each season to make sure that it’s operating properly. If your area is prone to power outages during the winter, it may be a good idea to invest in a back-up generator to keep your sump pump running at all times.
What To Do If You Experience Winter Flooding
Even if you follow the preventative measures listed above, there is still a chance that your home could be affected by winter flooding. If this occurs, it’s time to contact a water damage expert.
The team at FloodCo USA can help you with any of your winter flooding needs. Our certified and experienced water damage restoration professionals will arrive to assess the situation, develop a plan to remedy the situation and take action to restore your home so it’s safe and comfortable for you and your loved ones.
If you experience winter-related flooding at your home or business, contact us immediately. Our team is on call 24/7 for all of your flood emergencies.