Flooding Deja Vu: Here Comes The Rain

Now’s the Time for Iowa Homeowners to Ready Their Flood Defense Plan

In one of Mother Nature’s cruelest twists of irony, nearly 10 years to the date of the devastating Iowa floods of 2018, flooded rivers and waters are again threatening numerous towns throughout eastern Iowa.

A fury of early June rains have many of the Hawkeye State’s rivers and tributaries threatening to reach flood stage and overflow their banks. Gov. Kim Reynolds has already issued disaster proclamations for seven counties.

Flash flooding has many communities lying along rivers without flood wall protection breathing heavy and stocking up on sand bags for the worst case scenario.

“It just depends on how many gully washers we get,” East Dubuque, Ill.., resident Chuck Kerstein, who lives along the banks of the Mississippi River, told KWWL TV. “We get heavy rain and here she comes.”

With potential flooding just one torrential storm away in so many Iowa cities, now’s the time for Iowa homeowners to ready their family’s flood defense plan. As the Des Moines Register reports, Iowa has endured $18 billion in flood-related damage since 1998, the fourth-worst figure in the country. The 2008 floods alone left a mind-boggling $10 billion of damage.

“We have a problem,” Witold Krajewski, director of the Iowa Flood Center, told the Register.

All of the state’s 99 counties have endured flooding since 1998, some have been walloped by flood waters as 17 times over.

“With more and more severe weather, I don’t know where the end is if I don’t start (taking flood protection measures),” Quasqueton, Iowa resident Ronnie Wolf, who lives on the banks of the flood-weary Wapsipinicon River, told the Register.

The bad, wet news: John Benson, legislative liaison for Iowa Homeland & Emergency Management, forecasts that Iowa faces a 50/50 chance of another round of flooding this summer. Another ominous warning: Remember, most homeowner and renter insurance policies do not cover flooding. Water damage has surpassed fire claims as the Number 1 cause of home insurance losses in much of the country.

Here are Insurance Hotline’s Top 12 Ways to Protect Your Home from Flooding and Water Damage:

  1. Ensure your lot is properly graded, so that water can drain away from your basement walls.
  2. Repair, when possible, sidewalks, patios, decks and driveways that may have shifted over the years, allowing water to pool close to the home.
  3. Landscape your yard and gardens with plants and vegetation that will minimize soil erosion.
  4. Consider getting window well covers so that water does not accumulate.
  5. Make sure your downspouts extend three to six feet, and drain in a direction away from your home, as well as your neighbor’s.
  6. Use a rain barrel to catch runoff.
  7. Regularly clean and maintain your eaves troughs and gutters so they are not blocked.
  8. Keep storm drains near your home clear of leaves and debris.
  9. Repair or replace your roof if shingles are deteriorating or missing.
  10. Seal cracks around windows and in the basement foundation and floors.
  11. Protect your HVAC system. If possible, have a professional elevate the furnace and hot water tank so that it’s not sitting on the basement floor.
  12. Do not keep valuables and important documents in the basement. Store them upstairs where they are less likely to be damaged.

Alas, annual flooding now appears to be a fact of life in eastern Iowa. Be prepared and don’t get caught in the rain. For without a sound flood protection plan for you and your family, you could very well end up under water.

“These are not floods of a lifetime,” Larry Weber, executive associate dean at the University of Iowa College of Engineering, told the Register. “We’re repeatedly impacted by floods, disasters that are an economic drain on the state.”

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