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2/20/2014 - Warm temperatures bring flooding concerns

Warm temperatures bring flooding concerns

Winter 2014 has most certainly made its presence known, particularly in the Midwest and East Coast. Virtually every city has recorded some sort of all-time record for snow totals. For example in Chicago, nearly 34 inches of snow fell in January, making it the third snowiest month ever for the Second City, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And at the beginning of February in the Great Lakes region, three-quarters of the lakes were frozen, making it the largest swath of ice cover the area has seen in 18 years.

But, the winter is about to take an unexpected turn this weekend throughout much of the U.S., as a warm front moves in. According to the National Weather Service, spring-like warmth will envelop portions of the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic, reaching temperatures in the 50 and 60s, perhaps even the 70s in the Carolinas.

While this, no doubt, will come as a nice break to what's been a brutal season for cold and snow, the sudden warm-up will likely cause significant melting. This will help reduce the massive snow banks on street corners, but with the ground still frozen, there aren't many places for the water travel to. As a result, flooding is likely to transpire in some communities.

Of course, the best defense against the damaging effects of flood is flood insurance. However, since it typically takes 30 days for a policy to kick in, those who don't have a policy must resort to preventive measures.

Seal off any fissures in the foundation
Perhaps the biggest potential for damage resulting from flooding is what it can do to the basement. Safety officials recommend sealing cracks that may be evident in a home's foundation. Window wells should also be closed off to prevent water from seeping in.

Something else to be mindful of are the home's eaves troughs and downspouts. Because so many roofs are caked with heavy, wet snow, the melting that transpires during thaw periods can cause localized flooding if these troughs aren't free and clear of debris. Ensure that leaves and dirt are removed so that melting snow can effectively dissipate.

With spring approaching, flooding has the potential to be a serious concern throughout the upcoming season. For additional tips on how to effectively address these issues when they become apparent, the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers additional tips.  In addition, if you don't have flood insurance already, contact one of Selective's appointed agents today to see how we can help protect you should a flood occur.

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