Disaster Education Specialist Offers Flood Tips

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February 19th — A local disaster expert wants homeowners to know that warmer weather offers an opportunity to reduce the chance of water damage from melting ice and snow. Piles of snow around a home can cause water to seep in as the snow begins to melt. Homeowners can take precautions to help move the water to a lower grade away from the house, says Steven Cain, Purdue Extension Disaster Education Network, homeland security project director.

“It makes sense to take advantage of relatively good weather to channel water away from the home,” says Cain. “Inspect the area around the home. Heat escaping there may have melted a small track against the home, and with significant rain and melting snow, this water could roll back into the home.”

Cain says the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that Indiana rivers and streams are at levels that would handle the snow melt and rains “if we don’t get too much.”

Cain offered these tips to homeowners to minimize the chance of flooding:

• Be careful not to channel water into neighbors’ homes. That could be costly in terms of emotions and money as the snow melts.

• There is sure to be street flooding, so take steps to prevent water from the streets moving into your house.

• Everyone’s situation is unique because of the variation in snowdrifts and potential rainfall. Use common sense to protect your home.

• Make sure you are physically up to the task of removing snow. Chipping away at ice can be very difficult. Heart attacks increase, especially in men over age 40, when removing snow.

• If flooding causes rushing water on streets or sidewalks, remember the rule: Turn around, don’t drown. The depth of water is not always obvious. Street conditions could have deteriorated under the water, which could create sink holes. Even a small amount of water can sweep you off your feet. Six inches of water can stall some passenger cars and make control difficult. A foot of water can sweep many vehicles off the road.

Purdue Extension offers the free publication: First Steps to Flood Recovery for homeowners. It is available online at Purdue Extension’s The Education Store.


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