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As the amount of snow begins to increase in much of the United States, homeowners have likely prepared their houses for the dangers ahead. However, throughout this winter season and into spring, snowmelt will present significant flood danger to countless homes and businesses across the country.

Let's take a look at some of the inherent threats snowmelt presents from a flooding standpoint, and then how to mitigate those risks proactively.

Imminent threat
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a government entity devoted to public safety and weather, explains that snowmelt tends to create floods when there has already been a lot of moisture dropped on a given area. If there is packed snow and ice on the ground, warmer days will translate to a lot of runoff, and any home will be at risk of experiencing flooding. NOAA notes that big swings in temperature can lead to flooding even before spring begins.

If a home or business is located very close to a creek, river or other body of water, it will be at a higher risk. When snowmelt begins to occur, running water will rise at a far faster pace than when there is little rain. As a note, this can happen at any time during winter, as most areas will get at least a few warm days.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a disaster response administration in the government, the thaw and rain of the spring season will accelerate snowmelt, presenting homeowners with increased flood potential.

Ice dams can also cause localized flooding, especially when the dams thaw and are hanging from the gutters. This places them directly over the perimeter of the home's foundation, meaning that when they melt, they could lead to an increased flooding threat in the basement.

Mitigating proactively
The Grounds Guys, a landscaping company, suggests removing snow from the roof and ice dams from the gutters as quickly as possible, and ensure that the additional snow is brought far enough away from the home to prevent flooding once melting commences. According to the firm, gutters should be checked for problems with drainage throughout the winter, while snow should be removed from the boundaries of the house and well into the yard to protect the basement.

Remember, that many homeowners insurance policies do not cover floods. Make sure you have adequate flood insurance to prevent major financial losses when snowmelt begins to occur. 


SOURCE - 12/20/2016 - Selective Insurance - The Dangers of Snowmelt and Flooding

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