When it comes to protecting your home from the elements, most people in the Midwest think of protecting from fires, earthquakes, or tornados. But water can cause a significant amount of damage to your home and should not be overlooked. Unless you live in a flood plain, most of us in St. Louis have not had to be concerned about flood waters. However, it is becoming apparent that global warming is creating new weather patterns, and with it, damaging amounts of rainfall.
The Midwest is consistently getting more rain and on top of that, we are getting extreme downpours that can lead to flash flooding. According to the St. Louis Climate Vulnerability Assessment, “Between 1958 and 2007 the largest 1% of rainstorms experienced a 20% average increase in rain volume”. The Midwest has experienced a 10% increase in average rainfall over the last 50 years!
This is significant because our cities’ storm water systems were not built to handle the extreme amounts of water falling in such a short period. The historic rainfall the area received last July is a perfect example. Between July 25 – 26, the St. Louis area received 9.04 inches of rain! The result was catastrophic flash flooding. Area homes that had never previously had to worry about flooding had basements completely submerged in water!
This will continue to be an issue as global warming isn’t going to be fixed overnight. The St. Louis survey also predicts that by 2050 the region could see an additional 4-5% rise in annual rainfall. This is and will continue to be a problem, so how do we protect our property?
Protect Your Property
First, you should make sure you are properly insured. Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover a flood event, so even if you are not in a flood plain, you may want to consider adding flood insurance. The costs of housing have risen considerably in the last several years. Talk to your insurance agent and make sure that your policy is up to date with current costs to repair or rebuild your home.
Your best bet is to try to prevent water from entering your home in the first place. Check that your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris. Make sure that the downspouts are away from your home’s foundation.
Look at the grading around your home during a storm. Ideally, water should flow away from your home. If you find stormwater flows toward your house, you should consider changing your landscaping to improve runoff.
Increasing greenspace around your home with plants that absorb water will help. A rain garden uses native grasses and flowers that are absorbent and help our pollinators too! Another simple water remediation tactic is to use rain barrels. A rain barrel collects rainwater from your roof, reducing the amount of water that flows to your property during a storm. You can later use that water on your lawn, flowers, or garden.
Inside your home, make sure your basement is sealed tight! Close any foundation cracks with mortar, caulk, or cement. Install a sump pump and make sure it has a battery backup for when the power goes out.
Climate change can be scary, but you can protect your property and be prepared for whatever the weather throws at you! If you need help with landscaping, installing rain barrels or a sump pump, give Agape a call! We are here to help you protect your property.
St. Louis Climate Vulnerability Assessment