Flood water rising, what now?
The ground is saturated and there is more rain coming. Sandbags, used correctly can keep the water out of your house.
As I see the pictures of Harvey and the continued rain, I am reminded that for years until the drainage projects caught up with the new building in my hometown of St. Petersburg Florida the threat of flood water rising into our home was very real.
The first time was unexpected. According to our neighbor who had lived in that area for more than 20 years, it had never flooded before, until that day. And that day, which started as many others with some rain, ended with four feet of water in our home and the mother and sister of a friend dead. Not in a flood zone, my family did not have flood insurance and homeowners insurance does not typically cover water that rises into a home.
These pictures are from that day after the waters receded.
Some tips to keep water out of your house/business. Does it work yes!
As we look at the storm bands coming towards us, as we prepare to have friends from the other coast – NOTE – the water may not be there yet, however for many the ground is already saturated from the rain. Even an inch of water in your house/business can be devastating. From my personal experience I know that sandbagging done correctly – with a moisture barrier can – can keep water out. Please share with friends.
Planning and advanced preparation can significantly reduce stress and increase your ability to protect your home and family against low level flooding.
Here are some practical steps you can take to protect your home from low level flooding from several inches up to several feet.
1. Decide how you will enter and exit your home after you have finished securing it. If you are just expecting water you could remove a screen from an open window. If preparing for a hurricane, you will want to pre-cut a piece of plywood that can be placed or anchored in front of a door (that opens inward) and that you can step over to leave your home.
2. Next using 2” duct tape or packing tape (if the surface is dry or can be dried), seal the opening around your door across the bottom and up both sides of the door frame for several feet.
3. Then attach lightweight plastic* in front of each opening, extending at least one foot to each side of the door and in front on the ground for one to two feet.
4. Place filled sandbags on the plastic making sure that they settle snugly to the door surface and extend beyond the actual door opening. Place additional rows overlapping joints in bottom layer for one foot or more up each door, depending on the amount of flooding expected.
Although woven sandbags are most effective, there are other things you can use if they are unavailable. Garbage bags filled with wet towels, bedding or sod from the yard can be used, as well as bags of play sand. Whatever is put in the bags, make sure that they have sufficient weight to keep them from floating away and remove any air trapped in the plastic to prevent the bags from breaking open.
After the flooding is over (follow all Emergency Management return guidelines), remove the sandbags. During hurricane season you may want to keep your sandbags in case you need them again, storing them in a dry area out of the sun to prevent deterioration (a garage, shed or under a tarp) and off the ground as sandbags filled with dirt can cause staining on concrete or pool decks. When you do dispose of them, since many contain dirt or sandy dirt they can simply be added to your lawn or garden.
*Use 1-2 mil plastic such as painters sheeting or lawn and trash bags because heavier plastics do not seal as securely.
(The flood pictures are from our house when I was growing up. Sandbags tips are from Bob’s Bagger – call 727-545-3233 for more info)