Spring flooding: the 2020 season and what’s to come
Updated: Sep 29
Researchers expected another active spring flooding season and their forecasts were correct. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many home and business owners had to contend with difficult flooding conditions that put their properties in danger. This year’s perilous spring flooding season serves as a reminder of the need for comprehensive preparation in advance of weather risks.
As highlighted by the U.S. Geological Survey, warmer temperatures, increased precipitation and snowmelt led to significant flooding across the Midwest, East Coast, Central Plains and Southeast. In Midland Michigan, for example, around 11,000 people were forced to evacuate due to bursting dams. The Tittabawassee River broke its record for river level height, cresting more than 35 feet. In Arenac County alone, damages could exceed $2.25 million. Fortunately, the flooding did not lead to any casualties, but the destruction to properties and roads across the region will not soon be forgotten.
Likewise, May’s heavy rainfall led to severe flooding in Virginia. The Roanoke River crested 16 feet, forcing evacuations of nearby citizens and communities and causing roads in the area to shut down. Roanoke’s EMS crews were swamped, working hard to rescue several people trapped in their vehicles as the flooding continued to worsen.
Spring flooding season may be wrapping up, but hurricane season is well underway, with Tropical Storm Cristobal already making landfall and causing serious damage. Along the Gulf Coast, states experienced record low air pressure readings, 50 mile per hour winds and flooding, with Louisiana water levels reaching as high as 6.2 feet above normal and Jacksonville suffering from significant flash flooding due to heavy rainfall.
While these were headline-making storms, many other home and business owners across the country found themselves the victims of flooding this spring. When flood waters made their unwelcome arrival, they didn’t seem to care whether the properties they ravaged were located in designated flood zones or not. With that in mind, now is the time to prepare. Here are several steps home and business owners can take to stay safe during flooding.
1. Make an evacuation plan: Having an evacuation plan will limit the stress of responding to a flood while its ongoing. This will save time and help you stay safe.
2. Prepare an emergency kit: Make sure to build an emergency supply kit that includes food, water, medical supplies, a flashlight and batteries and other essentials.
3. Protect your documents: Consider storing your personal documents online in case flooding damages any critical information.
4. Keep an inventory: Keep inventory of your possessions so it is easier to assess damages and respond in the immediate aftermath of a storm.
5. Understand your property’s risk exposure and consider purchasing flood insurance. Remember, a homeowner’s policy or business owner’s policy does not protect against the peril of flood.
In addition to these safety tips, consider visiting the Insurance Information Institute and Ready.gov for more information. Spring flooding is always dangerous, and this year was no different. Make sure your home, business, and family are prepared by knowing your risks and taking action ahead of time.