St. Petersburg and other parts of the Bay Area have received heavy rain over the past few days, and a flood watch is still in effect for parts of Tampa Bay. Florida could receive up to a foot of rain by the end of this week, reports say.
With this much rain in such a short time, flooding is a natural concern. St. Petersburg locals — especially those in floodplain areas — are no strangers to flooding as a result of storm systems and hurricanes. But not everyone is aware of the best ways to protect their home from flood damage.
Here are five basic ways to protect your St. Petersburg home from frequent flash flooding:
Clean Your Gutters
Most people don’t realize that gutters have an essential role in protecting a home’s foundation. A clogged gutter causes water flooding down the sides of the home during storms, leading to a pool of water around the foundation of the home. After a while, this pooling of water can put pressure on the lower walls of the home, resulting in cracking and flooding in the basement. Homeowners in flood prone areas should always be sure to clean their gutters each spring and fall.
Anchor Down Fuel Tanks
Although heavy, an unanchored fuel tank outside of your property can be easily moved in deep enough flood waters, according to the Florida branch of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Unanchored tanks can damage your home or your neighbor’s home when pushed by the flow of flood waters, and if the supply line tears the flood waters around your property can become contaminated by oil. The best way to prevent your fuel tank from floating away is to anchor it to a heavy concrete slab.
Raise Your Electrical Systems
Ideally, no water enters your home during a flash flood or storm, but if it does, you need to be prepared to protect your expensive appliances and electrical systems. Be sure to raise your electrical systems from flooding by raising components at least one foot above your area’s base flood elevation. Your major appliances, such as washers and dryers, should also be protected from flooding. Keep these appliances on cinder blocks at least one foot above the base flooding evaluation as well. This precaution will not only protect these electrical systems and appliances, but reduce risk of electrocution as well.
Install a Secondary Sump Pump
Most people in flood-prone areas already have a sump pump, which acts like a large floor drain to help prevent water from getting above a certain level during flooding. This minimizes the extent of water damage caused by a flood. But a primary sump pump can fail, especially during a power outage caused by a storm or hurricane, so it’s important for homes in the Tampa Bay area to have a secondary sump pump equipped with a back-up battery. A secondary sump pump on a fully charged battery could work for up to 2 days after the power goes out, which could make the difference between a damp home and home devastated by high flood waters
Have Flood Insurance
Contrary to popular belief, homeowners insurance plans do not cover damage that has incurred due to flooding, according to FEMA. Federal flood insurance is the only guaranteed flood coverage. Those in the Tampa Bay area might want to sign up for flood insurance, to ensure their home is covered by insurance for all types of damages.
Unfortunately, with some insurance policies, like a homeowner's policy, insurance companies can deny valid claims without explanation. If you are in a dispute with the insurance company after devastating and expensive damage to your home, our St. Petersburg insurance claim attorneys can help. Check out our insurance disputes page for more information on the types of disputes and what an attorney can do to help.
If you are ready to pursue a claim against an insurance company, fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form today.