Causes of Floods: Wintertime

Causes of Floods, TJ Woods Insurance Agency, Worcester, MAWhile most attribute flooding with the summer’s hurricane season or fall’s days of rain, most people don’t think about winter as a time where their homes are subject to flooding and water damage. However, when large quantities of water get locked up as snow and ice, they can cause issues with proper water flow and drainage, as well as a sudden release of that stored water during a snow or ice melt. This article will go over three of the most common sources of flooding and water damage during the winter months.

Foundation & Basement Flooding: Snowmelts

While a few inches of snow are usually only a hazard to unwitting vehicles and pedestrians, when the snow comes in thick it can have some unexpected consequences. When snow piles up around your home, either by wind or the excavation of your driveway and paths, it become very dangerous during sudden warm weather. When all the water trapped in the snow starts to melt, suddenly you’re looking at inches of water pouring directly down on your foundation. Basement windows and other fixtures are in particular danger, since snowmelt water doesn’t flow along the same channels as traditional rain. Learn more about snowmelts and how to prevent against them in our article: Preventing Snowmelt Flooding of Your Home.

Attic Water Damage and Flooding: Ice Dams

Snow piling at the sides of your home isn’t the only risk: when snow piles up on the roof its weight isn’t its only danger. Due to temperature differences – the roof of a house usually has higher temperature due to heat leaking from the attic – snow starts to melt and run down the roof. However, when it reaches the eaves of the home where the temperature is still freezing, the water refreezes. As this process repeats, the ice forms a barrier, an “Ice Dam”, that prevents additional melting water from flowing out. Eventually this will leave water on the roof, which will start leaking into your home. To learn more about ice dam formation and prevention, read about it in Ice Dams: Prevention, Identification and Removal.

Complete Property Flooding: Ice Jams

While a frozen river is picturesque, it’s rarely there for long. As ice breaks up, either from the frozen river or lakes further upstream, the chucks of ice flow downstream. Like flooding from a traditional log jam, an ice jam is when these chunks of ice pile up on a snag or pile along a shoreline to build a dam. Not only can this cause flooding upstream, but it can also cause flooding downstream if there’s a sudden break in the dam. Due to the nature of these jams, it’s very hard to predict flooding ahead of time.

Want to learn more about possible winter flooding, as well as traditional causes all year around? Contact the TJ Woods Insurance Agency for a consultation and a free quote. Not only do we provide full flood insurance, but personal, home, auto, and commercial insurance as well. Learn why the Woods Insurance Agency has been voted the best in Worcester, MA for over 5 years running.