Blog – Disaster Preparedness, Water and Storm Damage

Flood Preparation Tips to Combat Winter Snowmelt

Snowmelt is an essential part of the world’s water cycle. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, up to 75 percent of the water supplies in the western U.S. come from snowmelt. While runoff from melted snow is vital to the health of water systems, locations below 7,000 feet are at risk for problems related to rapid snowmelt. Melted snow alone rarely causes flooding, although quick melts at low elevations can overwhelm water banks, requiring the need for water damage restoration. If your business is in an area that’s at risk for flooding, it’s important to prepare the property before and after snowstorms to prevent any water damage.

Minimize Snowmelt Water Damage: Restoration Expert Tips

  • Pay attention to local weather forecasts: Listen for reports of upcoming warm weather during the winter and spring. Particularly pay attention to flood warnings. A rapid increase in temperatures can lead to quick snow- and ice melts and flooding, especially if warm weather is accompanied by rain.
  • Move the snow: After a winter storm, move piled snow away from the property’s foundation.
  • Clear gutters, drains and downspouts: When rains and rapid snowmelts are imminent, cleaning gutters and drains will direct water away from the building.
  • Remove excess snow: Prevent the need for water damage restoration and encourage water flow by hiring a contractor to remove excess snow from the roof.
  • Secure property on lower levels: If your commercial property has levels that are at or below the ground, secure physical assets by moving them to a higher level in the building. Such items can include rugs, documents, books, furniture, computers and other electronic items. If space is limited, move items that are on lower shelves to higher locations. Place large equipment (e.g., the photocopier) onto cinderblocks that are at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
  • Install a sump pump on lower levels or inspect the existing sump pump: Make sure the drains and pump are in good shape and replace the batteries if the unit has a battery backup. The outlet pump should be clog-free and direct water away from building.
  • Install backflow valves: The valves help prevent sewage lines from backing up into the building.
  • Seal cracks: Inspect the walls, openings and foundation for cracks. Seal the cracks with hydraulic cement or masonry caulk so water doesn’t seep into the building.
  • Turn off the power: If there’s a chance that floodwaters will inundate electrical outlets, shut off the power at the building’s main breaker.

Above-normal snowpacks, a quick rise in temperature, and rain is the perfect combination for flooding to occur in high-risk areas. If your area experiences a cold and snowy winter, flooding could result from snowpack and warm temperatures with rain, as we recently feared would happen in Buffalo, NY in 2014. Having an emergency preparedness plan that includes steps to take in the event of a flood can help keep your employees safe, minimize property damage, and save you money in the long run. Polygon is an expert in disaster preparedness plans, contact us today if you are looking to improve or create a plan for your business.

Photo by DVIDSHUB via CC license

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