Hurricanes are one of the most destructive forces of nature and can cause catastrophic damage that can take years to recover from. One of the most common problems that hurricane conditions bring is flooding.
Floods can destroy homes, businesses, and roads, leaving people stranded and without a way to reach help. In this blog post, we will discuss what causes flooding during a hurricane, what kind of damage hurricanes can cause, and most importantly, how to prevent flooding during a hurricane.
Understanding What Causes Damage in Hurricanes
Hurricanes are massive storm systems characterized by powerful winds and heavy rainfall. The severity of hurricane damage is influenced by several factors:
- Wind Damage: The intense wind speeds associated with hurricanes, often exceeding 74 miles per hour, can cause extensive damage. They can tear off roofs, uproot trees, and turn unsecured objects into dangerous projectiles.
- Storm Surge: A significant cause of hurricane-related flooding is the storm surge. This is a rise in sea level that occurs when a hurricane pushes a large volume of seawater toward the shore, often leading to severe coastal flooding.
- Rainfall-Induced Flooding: Apart from the storm surge, heavy and prolonged rainfall during a hurricane can overwhelm local drainage systems, leading to inland flooding.
- Landslides: In areas with hilly or mountainous terrain, excessive rainfall can trigger landslides, causing further destruction.
Understanding these damage mechanisms is the first step toward effective hurricane preparedness and response.
What Causes Flooding During a Hurricane?
Flooding during a hurricane is primarily caused by two factors: storm surge and excessive rainfall. A storm surge is the rising of the sea as a result of atmospheric pressure changes and wind associated with a storm. It poses a significant threat to coastal areas as it can overwhelm barriers, resulting in widespread flooding and property damage.
The second major cause of flooding is excessive rainfall. When a hurricane makes landfall, it typically brings torrential rain that can last for days. This can lead to a rapid rise in water levels in rivers, lakes, and streams, causing them to overflow their banks and flood nearby areas.
Furthermore, if the ground is already saturated from previous rainfalls, or if the drainage infrastructure is inadequate, the risk of flooding becomes even greater. In hilly or mountainous areas, these heavy rains can also trigger landslides, compounding the flooding issue.
Essential Tips on How to Prevent Flooding During a Hurricane
While we cannot control the fury of a hurricane, we can certainly take proactive steps to safeguard our homes and mitigate the risks of flooding. Here are some essential tips to consider:
- Elevate your Home if Possible
If your home is in a flood zone, consider elevating your home to prevent flood damage. You can also install flood vents that allow water to flow in and out of your home during a flood.
- Install Flood Barriers
Seal your windows and doors: Use caulk and weather stripping to seal your windows and doors to prevent water from entering your home.
- Clean Gutters and Drains
Before a hurricane, clear your gutters and drains of leaves and debris to ensure that water flows away from your home. You should also consider installing gutter guards to prevent debris from accumulating.
- Create Natural Barriers
Strategically planting wind resistant trees, shrubs, and other vegetation around your property can help slow down the flow of water. Plants absorb excess water and reduce the speed of runoff.
- Secure Outdoor Items
Before a hurricane approaches, secure outdoor furniture, equipment, and objects that could become projectiles in strong winds. Securing these items prevents them from causing damage and obstructing drainage paths.
- Emergency Pump System
Invest in a reliable emergency sump pump system designed to remove excess water from your property. A backup pump system can be a lifesaver during flooding events.
Make sure to get a copy of our 2023 Hurricane Preparedness Checklist to ensure you are not only prepared for flooding but all of the possible weather conditions that come with a hurricane.
Need Help with Damage After a Hurricane?
The conditions of a hurricane can bring strong winds and flooding that can be devastating, but taking the appropriate steps to prepare your home and surroundings before a hurricane can help prevent flood damage.
Remember to download our Hurricane Preparedness Checklist to fully prepare before a hurricane. If you do suffer from wind damage or flooding after a hurricane, Jenkins Restorations has teams available 24/7 to restore your property to its’ original condition…or better!