How to Prepare for the Spring Snow Thaw and Rain

Monday, June 9, 2014

RainfallThe greatest spring weather hazard is the flooding that can occur due to the melting snow and rain. Once this happens, it is too late to address the consequences effectively. There are, however, precautions that can be taken to prepare for this possibility.


  • There are some strategies the government can implement to minimise thaw damage. It typically lowers water levels in lakes so there is space for the new water, it performs additional proactive snow grading and removal from the streets, it clears gutters, it actively monitors typical trouble spots, and so forth.

  • Most of the responsibility around your house is yours, however, so it is important to perform some tasks diligently. You must ensure that your house's eaves and guttering are free of ice and debris so the water can run off the roof to the ground. If the water pools on the roof, leaks into the house become a lot more likely. Moreover, since the water will place additional pressure on the tiles that surround the damaged part, the size of the leak will increase quickly. Use a roof rake or call in professional help if it seems as if there is a blockage.

  • Clear snow from around the bottom of your downspouts so water off the roof can drain away. 

  • To prevent snow from melting into your basement, shovel it away from the area around the foundation, especially around window wells. If you detect any dampness in your basement, examine the window wells or obtain professional help to examine the walls for cracks. As in the case of the roof, water pressure will widen cracks and maximise the leak.

  • Keep snow on your property. If you shovel it into the street, you may inadvertently block the municipal sewerage system with ice. This will prevent water from draining away and may cause flooding onto all the properties in the street.

  • Allow water to drain off your property by keeping the outside edges free of snow. 

  • If you know your area or property is a high-risk flood area, use sandbags to block water away from low lying areas around the foundation.

  • If water is not draining away from the foundation, use a pump to drain it to the gutter or back lane. 

  • If you have electrical appliances in the basement, revamp it so those appliances are at least half a metre off the ground.

Remember that your home insurance policy excludes water that enters your home from outside, so flooding due to snow thaw and rain is your financial responsibility.