According to weathersource.com the highest snowfall we saw in the Kent area was 91.90 inches this winter. The average snowfall according to their figures is 39.75 inches. We can clearly see that this winter we have more than double the amount of snow we usually get, and the signs are clear. Parking lots and driveways show snow piled around buildings or houses trying to make space for our vehicles, and other people’s vehicles to drive through. When all the snow melts and the water starts accumulating around the foundation of our houses, it can be trouble for your home. Your basement, if not properly waterproofed can be the recipient of melting snow, and the flooding that comes with it.
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As the snow melts and the ground thaws, homeowners may have a few choice words for Mother Nature. Something along the lines of Dorothy’s infamous nemesis in The Wizard Oz, perhaps:
“Ohhh – you cursed brat! Look what you’ve done! (It’s) melting! Melting! Oh, what a world! What a world!”
While normal spring thaws can cause what may have once been just a small trickle to become a bigger issue, any cracks that might have trickled once before have the potential to become a huge problem this year.
Commonly referred to as the “Leaky Professor” by family, friends and especially his customers, Jim Burke of Illiana Basement Waterproofing explained how this year’s spring thaw will exacerbate any issues that were not taken care of in the past.
“When the ground is still frozen in late winter/early spring, it cannot absorb all of the rain water or snow melt off and it flows down along the foundation. If it does not properly drain away, once the water reaches the footing it builds up hydrostatic pressure. If an existing drain tile system is not functioning properly, or cracks are prevalent in the foundation, then the pressure will force the water into the basement” he said. “A proper drain tile system, sump pump and sealed cracks will help you avoid problems this spring. The people who we’ve done work for this fall and winter can rest easy.”
Just as flower bulbs are planted in the fall to enjoy the following spring, wise homeowners take the initiative to have their basements inspected and repaired in the fall.
Now might be the time to put those old love letters on higher ground.
As temperatures rise and the snow starts to melt, there’s a good chance some of that water will wind up in basements and crawlspaces, creating big problems for homeowners.
“If their basements have flooded before … with this much snow melt and rain, chances are it’s going to flood again,” said Mike Cousino, owner of Cousino Harris Disaster Kleenup LLC.
The National Weather Service says Toledo has about a foot of snow packed on the ground. With forecasts of significant rain and temperatures in the 50s by late Thursday, things are going to get messy.
“We’re going to be dealing with not only the rainfall but the liquid equivalent of what’s on the ground, and that has go to somewhere,” said Kristen Schepel, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.
Forecasters are predicting rainfall of a half an inch to three-quarters of an inch on Thursday, with even more possible. In addition to piling on the moisture, Ms. Schepel said rain makes snow melt faster.
Many in Lower Providence Township were thankful to see higher temperatures, even if temporary, in the week’s weather forecast. With days slated to reach into the 50s, most are just thankful to see the snow begin to melt.
However, with higher temperatures and melting ice mounds comes more water. Rain, saturated grounds and clogged drains can really mean problems for flooding in the area.
Though many may realize it is coming, it is hard to know just how to prepare for such an influx of water. Nationwide Insurance, located at 3245 Ridge Pike in Eagleville, suggested preparing your property for the incoming gush.
“To help reduce [flood] damage:
· Install backflow valves or standpipes to prevent sewer lines from backing up.
· Elevate your washer, dryer, water heater, oil tank, furnace and electrical wiring on concrete blocks. If you’re unable to raise an item, anchor it and protect it with a floodwall or shield.
· Install a sump pump system if you have below-grade floors.
· Landscape with plants and vegetation that resist soil erosion.