How to Prevent Flooding in a Flood Zone

Olivia Elsher

Jun 12, 2023

how to prevent flooding in a flood zone

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Sudden storms can cause catastrophic damage. They take down power lines, knock trees over and cause flooding that can last a week or longer. If you live in a flood zone, learning how to prevent flooding is crucial. You’ll protect yourself and your loved ones from future storms that raise local water levels.

Even if your area floods once every few years, that’s likely to happen more frequently in the future. The warming climate intensifies storm systems and makes it easier for them to form. Extreme weather events will become more common with time, but your loved ones and home don’t have to suffer from the resulting floods.

Understanding the Dangers of Flooding

When a flood occurs, there are immediate risks to evaluate. First, you must ensure your loved ones are out of physical danger. That could mean moving to the second floor of your home, evacuating to a loved one’s house on higher ground or temporarily leaving the region altogether.

You’ll also have to deal with property damage. Rising water in your home can crack or warp floorboards. The foundation could crack and mold may grow inside your walls. There’s also electrical wiring at risk when rising flood waters remain high, causing short-circuiting in walls and appliances that require replacement.

These damages are why the average claim payout is $52,000 when people report flood damage to the National Flood Insurance Program. Structural damage could make homes uninhabitable if these issues don’t receive immediate attention. Your floors and ceiling could collapse or make your loved ones sick due to mold spores.

Homeowners also lose some of the investment they made in their property when flooding occurs. The property value decreases significantly if a flood damages a house beyond repair. A buyer might take it for the bargain deal, but the homeowners don’t get a return on investment for their home’s original purchase price.

Recognizing Warning Signs of Potential Flooding

You don’t need to wait until the local meteorologist starts warning people about the potential for flooding before taking action. It’s easy to learn the warning signs of potential flooding and get ahead of possible harm.

People first notice environmental changes when a flood is about to happen. Rainfall will intensify and linger for hours or days. There could also be early snowmelt just before a rain system moves through your region. Puddles may appear and expand around your property, indicating waterlogged soil won’t drain floodwater away from your home.

In addition to recognizing these signs, keeping track of your weather forecast is vital. Your local news station will provide the most accurate forecast predictions and up-to-the-minute warnings. You can also download weather apps that send push notifications if flooding is likely.

Your state’s Department of Transportation may also have stream and river gauges at the most significant local water sources. Officials could use them to receive immediate alerts when waters rise to roadway levels and send public announcements via text, TV or radio alerts. You’ll know which roads are still safe to use for evacuation purposes, which could make it easier to escape a severe flood.

Tips for City Planners and Officials

Although homeowners can take actionable steps to protect themselves and their loved ones, community officials also share that responsibility. It’s up to them to prevent flooding in a flood zone with government resources.

They can install adequate drainage systems to make severe floods less likely. Updating current drainage systems and installing new piping makes it easier to direct floodwaters away from populated areas.

It’s also possible for city planners and officials to raise awareness about using green infrastructure to prevent flooding. Tree trenches provide an underground area to collect rainwater runoff while supporting the local environment. Permeable pavement would also take advantage of the ground beneath concrete, which would otherwise be unable to absorb excess water.

Zoning laws play a critical role in preventing flood damage as well. They limit which areas are usable for residential or commercial purposes while regulating building codes in those areas to make structures as flood-proof as possible. Updating local zoning laws with more modern building codes and enforceable guidelines would result in safer cities.

Community efforts can raise awareness about the power of group effort. Non-profits or small businesses could schedule preparedness programs. Locals would attend for little to no cost to learn more about prepping their property for seasonal storms.

The information might save lives because some people won’t know the extent of flood preparedness efforts they can take at home. They may not also know about community resources like evacuation routes, emergency shelter locations and non-profits that provide food and water after storms cause significant community damage.

Tips for Homeowners and Landlords

Property owners can take actionable steps to prevent flooding in a flood zone and mitigate future damage. First, they should sign up for flood insurance applicable to their property type. It might seem like a household budget stressor, but remember that it costs an average of $700 annually compared to the average $52,000 flood claim payout to cover damages. The annual cost will likely be less than the cost of damage to your home and include coverage for repairs.

You can also create an emergency response kit that holds all your flooding essentials like flashlights, batteries, canned food and water bottles. Your family will have everything they need for short-term power outages or a road trip to higher ground.

Long-term renovations may be a greater source of help for those living in high-risk flood zones. You could raise your home or rental property onto stilts so continual rising waters with each passing storm don’t touch the foundation. Sealed basements and sump pumps will also minimize flood damage.

There are always budget-friendly ways to prevent flooding. Household renovations are one option and landscaping is another. Rain gardens and swales direct surface water to safer areas along with drainage pipes that guide rainwater to your nearby street.

Prevent Flooding in a Flood Zone

Floods are powerful weather events that people will deal with more often in the coming years. It’s vital that everyone knows how to prevent flooding in a flood zone and reduce the damage to their property. Working with community groups, proactive city leaders and contractors who can upgrade your home’s structure or landscaping is the best way to fortify your property against powerful weather systems.

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