Preparing for Spring Flooding
Anyone who lives, or has lived, in this area knows that flood season is nothing to joke about. As the snow melts and the river begins to rise, our preparation can’t be taken lightly.
“Depending on soil and weather conditions as the snow melts, this water will either penetrate the soil, runoff, or both.”
The much anticipated thaw is a bittersweet affair. As we come out of hiding, we are unapologetically met with the potential for disaster. Unlike rainfall, which penetrates the soil almost immediately (exception of flash flooding), deep snowpack stores large amounts of water throughout the winter months. Depending on soil and weather conditions as the snow melts, this water will either penetrate the soil, runoff, or both.
High Soil Moisture
Multiple factors can contribute to high levels of moisture in the soil, but the reality remains the same: if the soil is fully saturated, runoff water will find its way to the rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. One major contributor to saturated soil, in the spring, is due to high amounts of rain in late fall of the previous year. This rainfall often has no chance to evaporate or drain before the winter freeze.
Frozen soil is another major contributor. Commonly caused by the late fall rain mentioned above, deep ground frost prevents snowmelt from infiltrating the soil, leading to excess runoff. It can also be caused by a mixture of cold weather, and above normal soil moisture, before a heavy snowfall.
Widespread Snow Cover
Keeping spring air temperatures cooler than desired, widespread snow cover often leads to a delayed and rapid snowmelt.
Rainfall while snow is still present acts as a catalyst to melting snow and increases water levels. These events are watched very closely.
Prepare & React
Although most floods due to snowmelt develop slowly, it is important to be prepared for any situation. Not only will it give you peace of mind, it will likely protect you and your family from personal and financial disaster.
- Create a plan of communication among you, your family, and emergency resources.
- Emergency kit
- It is recommended to have a minimum of 3 days worth of food, water, and any needed medicine.
- Additional items include batteries, flashlight, radio, first aid kit, and rubber boots.
- Prepare Your Home
- If you have access to sandbags, use them to shield your home from rising water
- Have a professional conduct a check-up on your plumbing and electrical circuit breakers
- Contact your insurance agent about flood insurance coverage. It is important to note that this must be done BEFORE the threat of flooding.
- Leave if necessary
Educate. Prepare. React.