Birmingham — Water is the source of life, right? But for Birmingham, Alabama, water can be a real problem and danger as floodwaters become more dangerous.

Just this month of March, we've already seen substantial flash flooding that inundated streets, establishments, and roads rendering them unusable and unsafe.

This begs the question, why do these floods keep happening in Alabama?

We'll talk about that and more in this blog.

Birmingham Last Week

Many residents across multiple counties in the State of Alabama are being bombarded with heavy rainfall due to severe storms since last Wednesday (March 16th). There were numerous areas of heavy rain and storms on First Alert AccuTrack moving in all sorts of directions. We expected this when we discussed potential flood events last month. However, this is was not at a level anyone can expect to impact Alabama.

Flash flooding immediately occurred after cities get dumped with about 2 to 4 inches of rain. At this point, it shows that it doesn't really need to be the heaviest rains to cause a flooding event in Alabama and in the city of Birmingham.

Source: www.al.com | Elizabeth D. Madison

Yesterday evening (March 22nd), a lot of vehicles in the suburbs of Birmingham were stalled by the flash floods. The drivers faced huge problems when they got caught in a flood causing a lot of cars to simply shut down in the middle of flooded roads.

This is one of the biggest concerns that FOX News' Jonathan Hardison tweeted about last night. Add this to severe storms literally busting the roof off of multiple properties ranging from mobile homes to common residential buildings.

Unfortunately, such weather conditions became very bad that one man, Joseva Lawrence Speed, 60, reportedly drowned in Wednesday's flooding after trying to get into a family members' car, and sadly he got overwhelmed by the flash flood.

So with all these flash floods caused by 1 to 5 inches of rain, you might be wondering, what's causing all these constant floods in Alabama and Birmingham City?

Birmingham Relentlessly Battles Floods

Geographical Reasons

For us to understand why Birmingham keeps on getting flooded, we have to acknowledge that Alabama and the city of Birmingham itself sit on a valley which at least 8,000 acres of land being zoned into a Flood Zone A or AE. This means that whenever there's precipitation, you can't really avoid or prevent that excess rainfall to flow downhill into low-lying areas.

These include multiple creeks such as the Shades and Little Shades creeks. You can also count the Black Warrior and Cahaba River watersheds in the areas that receive all that water from excessive rainfall.

Although there are systems in place like stormwater drainage that helps in redirecting where the floodwater goes to avoid potential damage to properties, Jonathan D. Yates, Birmingham's director of the Department of Public Works, had different findings.

These systems are simply not cut out anymore for what's happening in Birmingham. Yates even said that the stormwater drainage system is not built to handle that big and severe of a storm. So it's not just blockage or blocked drainage that's causing all these floods, it's also the behavior of water itself.

Commercial Flood Insurance Map

Urbanization: Water Hitting Cement

Other than the geographic consideration, you also need to look at progressive urbanization which turns natural soil into hard concrete. There are a lot of building projects which remove our natural protective measures against flooding such as flora like trees, vegetation, and grasses.

You see, in wooden areas, all that rainwater is getting absorbed by the soil; however the same can't be said for cities like Birmingham where rain simply just stays and moves around there.

Just imagine spilling water over your wooden dining table versus the water that's poured on a sponge. It's basically changing all that rainwater into stormwater runoff from higher areas of the state and Birmingham City.

Impacts of Climate Change

Lastly, you also need to consider how climate change has drastically worsened how these usual storms, rainfall amounts, and flooding behaves.

The drastic change from cold weather to a very warm one is only going to cause more precipitation or rain in an area. It's basic evaporation, condensation, and precipitation in Science. 

Extreme heat can also cause droughts which are generally like hitting the water to a hard concrete or cement. Take note, this is natural soil not being able to seep in water due to these severe weather conditions.

How to Best Protect Yourself

A lot of things come into play whenever you start thinking about flood mitigation. You can consider the area and flood zone to determine the overall chances of getting flooded you may have.

This is why we really encourage property owners, from restaurants to residential houses, to create flood protection for their property. This includes installing flood vents that help floodwater pass through your property and not really inundate it that much. You can also prepare sandbagging in order to slow the flow of water on your property.

These are just short-term steps in protecting yourself. The best way is to really get yourself flood insurance. This isn't really something that you can see like flood vents or sandbags, but it's the most efficient way to protect your valuables and property from flood damage.

Flood loss is the biggest concern of people in Birmingham especially with these constant floods happening in the city and the only way to take that off your chest is to be sure that someone's got your back.

Birmingham has a lot of flood insurance options that you can choose from.

You can do it through the federal government with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which got an update through Risk Rating 2.0.

You can also go through the Private Flood Insurance market which offers multiple and various insurance carriers to help you get coverage for your property.

Getting flood insurance also helps you avoid the worry of not having anything to go back to. This is because regardless of where you get your flood insurance from, you will be covered for the damages on your building as well as everything inside it.

It's hard to say that all this will be over since we can't really predict and dictate how floodwater behaves. We hope that you stay safe out there!

If you have any questions, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer all your flood insurance questions.

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Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand flood risks, your flood insurance, and protecting the value of your property long-term.

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Facts can be Stranger than Fiction.

When scrolling through your Facebook feeds, you'll stumble upon an unexpected mind-blowing video. Do you know those stories that could make you do google fact check if the story is true?

Check out, for example, what happened today in Alabama's weather. We expect the winter season to close and welcome the blooming spring flowers and… BOOM! We get a deluge caused by heavy rainfall to sink everything around.

Alabama's Shocking Weather Today 

At the time of writing, many residents across multiple counties in the State of Alabama are being bombarded with heavy rainfall due to severe storms. There were numerous areas of heavy rain and storms on First Alert AccuTrack moving in all sorts of directions. We expected this prior when we focused on the potential flood events last month.

These types of storms have also been known to produce hail, which was of the size of a pea from the report. But don't underestimate them, considering it can hit like that of one of those used in paintballs which could definitely cause minor damage to your property. 

Flood Insurance for Alabama Storms: Are You Covered for This?

Alabama News even called this weekend a "severe risk Friday" due to the amount of rain expected due to the upper-level lows and cold fronts moving from Central Alabama to the Southeast.

Although these conditions are expected to end by next week, one should expect moderate to heavy rain until Thursday. The impacts of these severe thunderstorms are already felt across Jefferson County and Shelby County 

From this scenario, the whole central area of the state will obviously be exposed to heavy flooding. Just this afternoon, as the hail falls in multiple counties, a woman in Birmingham was rescued from her car, which was stuck on knee-deep high water. 

Flood Insurance for Alabama Storms: Are You Covered for This?

Don't worry, the lady is unscathed and in good condition. Sadly, we can't say the same for her car and dozens of vehicles that drove off the same road and those left in the parking area. 

This begs the question: Does flood insurance cover vehicles damaged by floodwater? 

Flood Insurance and Vehicles 

Today, Highway 31 in Alabama was inundated by flood. The local government of Jefferson and Shelby counties issued a flash flood warning until 5:30 PM. That is to save everyone from getting stranded at that same time, minimize the risk of vehicular damage. 

When it comes to flooding, vehicles are more susceptible to getting the bulk of the damage than homes. Why? For one, numerous vehicles get driven into flooded areas which causes a lot of problems safety-wise and insurance-wise.

When a car gets flooded, it is vulnerable to various problems, beginning with mold. Rust can form on body panels and other components. Water can cause engine harm. Then there's the electrical circuitry that controls everything from power windows to a car's safety and entertainment systems. They might fail intermittently or entirely.

Flood Insurance for Alabama Storms: Are You Covered for This?

Believe me, I worked as a branch manager for Enterprise Car Rental in Alabama and I saw how the southeast easily gets flooded. This is especially noticeable in Avondale and near the University of Alabama in Birmingham. This happens even with the smallest amount of rain and I've seen its severe damages to the vehicles.

— So, does having flood insurance also cover your vehicle?  

No. When it comes to vehicle coverage, no flood insurance policy will cover the damages that your truck, car, or minivan gets due to flooding. Even when you get extended coverage with your flood policy, vehicles won't be covered.

This is because flood insurance only covers your dwelling or the property building and its contents. The only time your vehicle will be covered due to flood damage is if you have that comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy.

Regardless of this exclusion in your flood insurance policy, it's always essential to ensure that there's a flood policy ready to protect you from flood loss.

Flood Insurance for Alabama Storms: Are You Covered for This?

Do Flood Zones Still Matter in Alabama?

That's another question that we need to ask about the current erratic weather conditions and the flooding we're seeing across cities in Alabama. Specifically, do flood zones still matter, especially with all these flash floodings? 

Not anymore. 

As you know, flood zones rating is no longer carried by either the federal or private flood insurance carriers. These ratings, which are a basis of risk a location could have when severe rain happens is, omitted and now do not impact the homeowner's premium rate.  

— Is it sound advice then not to get flood insurance just because of flood zone changes?

When you consider Alabama's current weather state and flooding occurrences, I believe we will both agree that regardless of a flood zone, one can never be too sure about the damages one can get because of these heavy rainfalls.

Do you know that Alabama is experiencing an enhanced risk for flooding in the last 2 - 3 years compared to the previous 10 - 15 years?

Be not like the property owners who moved into a low-risk flood zone and forgo carrying flood insurance for their properties and end up incurring large losses.

They may save money in the short run compared to those properties in the high-risk zones like Flood Zone A or AE, which are required to carry flood insurance. But that could be an expensive mistake, especially if situated in Alabama.

Nowadays, it's easy to conclude that you still have a big chance of getting flooded regardless of your flood zone. Would you risk losing thousands of dollars in flood just to save a few bucks from not getting flood insurance now?

We believe that you'd say no. So, let's talk about your flood insurance options in Alabama. Watch this video so you could too understand how to buy flood insurance in Alabama and your options.

We hope that everyone in Alabama is safe and sound despite having this type of weather condition. Flooding, hail, rainfall, and storms like this are no joke. So be safe as well. Don't drive into flooded roads. Make sure to be aware of where an area is flooded and protect yourself with flood insurance.

If you have any questions, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer all your flood insurance questions. Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand flood risks, your flood insurance, and protecting the value of your property long-term.

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Another hurricane had made its landfall on the southeastern parts of the United States however this time around, Texas and Louisiana might be the first to experience the impacts of Hurricane Nicholas as we move through the week.

How Will Hurricane Nicholas Impact Texas and Louisiana?

Join us as we unpack how Hurricane Nicholas will impact the southeastern United States and what this could mean considering that these coastal zones, especially Louisiana are still recovering from Hurricane Ida last week.

Enter Hurricane Nicholas

Hurricane Nicholas started out as a typical hurricane however the good news is that it downgraded to a less dangerous tropical storm as it made landfall earlier today, September 14th, 2021. The tropical storm made landfall on coastal Texas with 70 MPH winds according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Tropical storm warnings are everywhere in both Texas and Louisiana.

At the time of writing, northwest Harris County (Texas) is receiving about 1 to 3 inches of rain since the tropical storm made landfall.

However, this doesn't really eliminate the threats when we start to talk about an estimate of 20 inches of rain getting dumped on coastal Texas and the state of Louisiana. It's important to highlight that these two states were in the hot seat of flooding earlier this year.

We need not look further than a few weeks ago when Hurricane Ida made landfall on New Orleans causing massive power outages, devastating casualties, and millions of damages from Louisiana, New York, Tenessee, and towards the eastern coast.

How Will Hurricane Nicholas Impact Texas and Louisiana?

READ MORE:
Hurricane Ida Impacts in Louisiana, Hurricane Ida Floods New York

Despite this downgrade, we're still talking about the extremely high risks of flood especially in Louisiana and Texas since a lot of factors are just waiting to cause flooding in these areas without any warning once that heavy rains and continuous rainfall start.

What To Expect

When it comes to this type of situation, the biggest threat that Louisiana and Texas will face will be that flash flood. The Southeastern parts of the country are still recovering from all that rainfall and flooding from Hurricane Ida.

This simply means that the ground is still oversaturated with all that water that Tropical Storm Nicholas' heavy rains will be like water hitting hard cement. A lot of overflows might happen with these circumstances given.

How Will Hurricane Nicholas Impact Texas and Louisiana?

You also have a storm surge warning in place in Port Aransas to San Luis Pass including Aransas Bay, San Antonio Bay, and Matagorda Bay. Once that water comes in from the coasts, not only the properties in flood zone V will be impacted.

Flash flooding will also be a big problem as the tropical storm adds up to the hurricane season causing more saturation from the ground. Inland bodies of water might also rise significantly.

It's important to highlight that even when that heavy rainfall stops, rivers, lakes, streams, and creeks will continuously collect all that water and rise in a span of a couple of days. This effect is sure to create life-threatening flash floods along the coasts even without massive storm surges coming in.

How To Best Prepare

We've covered a lot about how important it is to have flood insurance. This is basically the heart and soul of our company since this is the only best protection one can get when a flood threat is present in your area.

The thing is a lot of property owners still think that not sitting in a flood zone means that they won't get flooded. Water doesn't know where one flood zone ends and another starts which we've seen happen in the entire state of New York.

How Will Hurricane Nicholas Impact Texas and Louisiana?

READ MORE:
Texas Spring Flooding, Baton Rouge Spring Flooding

You can always secure flood insurance through the government which has fewer restrictions and caters to all types of property through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with a $250,000 coverage for residential properties and $100,000 when it comes to personal properties.

It's important to note that when it comes to the NFIP, those coverages max at the aforementioned amount regardless of your flood zone. This is very different when it comes to private flood insurance carriers which do not have any coverage limits, so you can tailor-fit your coverage depending on your discretion.

Lastly, we want everyone to be safe in this type of weather since no one can really predict when a disaster might happen. If there is a risk of flash flooding detailed by flash flood warning issued by the NWS, we encourage that you follow these to avoid any injury or casualty.

If you want to know more about flood insurance, how to buy flood insurance through FEMA or the private market, or anything about flooding, reach out to us by clicking below.

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Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand flood risks, hurricane and tropical storm warnings, your flood insurance, and mitigating your property long-term.

Hurricane Ida recently made landfall on Louisiana with catastrophic winds of 150 mph. Ida was initially a tropical cyclone as it makes its way through Cuba last Friday, August 27. However, Ida immediately escalated to a Category-4 hurricane as it travels across the Gulf of Mexico and bound to Louisiana. As soon as Hurricane Ida made landfall, there was an immediate drop in temperatures, storms, and heavy rain was dumped on Louisiana, and communities were left without power.

How Climate Change Makes Hurricanes Worse

Today, we want to talk about how hurricanes like Ida are impacted by climate change and what it's changing flood insurance.

Climate Change

It's important to note that climate change impacts how extreme weather events can become. We were able to discuss this on our previous blog which you can read by clicking here.

This devastating climate event is also changing how what was used to be minor hurricanes, now becoming more catastrophic and overnight tropical storms can transform into major hurricanes as we've seen with Ida. Generally, this is due to how it's directly impacting the weather, overall sea level, and surface temperatures of water from our oceans.

In 2019, Hurricane Dorian hit the country with the second strongest landfall with 185 mph. In 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall at 180 mph and Hurricane Maria also had 165 mph when the hurricane made landfall in the same year. This is generally due to rising ocean temperatures that fuel stronger North Atlantic Hurricanes.

How Climate Change Makes Hurricanes Worse

You see, as our climate becomes warmer, minor tropical storms also get powered by this heat and you can even say that it's like turning it up to eleven. Additionally, warmer waters also create more frequent and consistent heavy rainfall as water vapor is easily condensing into rain clouds due to that extra heat. As we've seen just this year, heavier rainfall and torrential rains can easily create devastating floods.

Earlier this year, we've seen areas like Baton Rouge in Louisiana, Nashville and Waverly in Tennessee, Monett in Missouri, and multiple areas in Alabama get about 7 to 15 inches of rain at a given time only to cause massive flooding and, at most time, deadly flash floods in these areas. 

How Climate Change Makes Hurricanes Worse

Flood Insurance Impacts

When it comes to flood insurance, especially federal flood insurance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), these types of considerations aren't made until the coming Fall season this year.

in the current version of the NFIP, one of the big determiners of flood risk and rates are mostly things such as flood zones, elevation, and history of flood data like claims. Honestly, this doesn't really address the actual flood risks of property owners and the overall population. Let's say that Property Owner A is not in a flood zone and Property Owner B is in a flood zone.

This creates a massive confusion between these two property owners as the former would not get insurance thinking that they won't need it "because they're not in a high-risk flood zone". However, we have proven true that these zone designations will never represent the overall flood risk of a property.

You can be outside of a flood zone, but if global warming suddenly melts all the snow from winter and starts to oversaturate the ground, rainwater will have nowhere to go other than these low-lying areas. Even small amounts of rain in given this type of situation, that water from precipitation — heavy precipitation or otherwise — can be enough to cause floods.

Sometimes since these floods have strong currents due to it naturally wanting to flow into low-lying areas, the flood damage is all increased significantly. Yes, even low-risk flood zones will be impacted.

The NFIP Risk Rating 2.0

This changes with the new Risk Rating 2.0 program which measures flood insurance rates based on the flood risk score. The Risk Rating 2.0 will easily measure how these types of flood risks from the ever-changing climate since it will start to look into the types of floods your property is receiving, how frequent floods happen in your area, and distance to any body of water.

The Risk Rating 2.0 program will also focus on flood insurance data that your property has when it comes to determining your rates or premiums. All of these will fall into what's called a flood risk score. Here are the things that are staying the same and the new things that will determine your rates with FEMA and NFIP:

Things that are staying the same:

The new things that will come with the Risk Rating 2.0 are as follows:

  • Types of floods that your property experience. This can be either a pluvial flood, fluvial flood, and coastal flood.
  • First-floor height and elevation of the structure. A new feature that determines your flood risk score is the distance between the ground (grade) from your first floor or the first habitable floor of your property.
  • Flood Risk Mitigation Measures made on the property. Is the lowest floor above the base flood elevation? Are there enough flood openings to let floodwaters through?

How Climate Change Makes Hurricanes Worse

The impacts of climate change are something that we will never control and is already irreversible. However, we shouldn't focus on the things outside of our control, but on the things that we have power on such as preparing ourselves from these impacts on floods, tornadoes, tide storm, storm surge, hurricane strength by protecting ourselves from these impacts.

If you want to know more on how to get flood insurance, what is the Risk Rating 2.0, what your flood risk score is, click below to reach out.

Get Your Flood Risk Score Here!

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Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you flood risks, your flood insurance, and mitigating your property long-term.

Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on August 29, 2021, the same day 16 years ago that Katrina made landfall. The storm just might throw another vicious punch at the Ohio Valley area as it looks to bring flooding to an already heavy hit area.

How Will Hurricane Ida Impact Western Tennessee and Kentucky?

We've already talked about the possible results of Hurricane Ida on Louisiana and what approaches the state and the federal government made sure they did to ensure that something like Hurricane Katrina won't happen this year. If you want to read on that blog, click here so you can know more about this hurricane.

Today, we want to focus on the threats of Ida to western Tennessee and Kentucky, not only when it comes to flood, but also the general impact of this weather event on the two states.

Tennessee

The Volunteer State is in the hot seat — should we say wet one — when it comes to this type of weather event. Not a week ago, a small town in Humphreys County was devastated with a huge amount of flooding due to continuous rainfall and this caused a lot of troubling numbers to come up. At least 17 inches of rain was dumped on Humphreys County and Waverly alone. This easily led to very grim results as, unfortunately, this took the lives of at least 22 people and about 50 are still missing.

How Will Hurricane Ida Impact Western Tennessee and Kentucky?

Earlier this year, we also saw Nashville find itself in shambles during the Spring season overwhelmed the city, and caused flooding due to torrential rains. Franklin had at least 9 inches of rain throughout the two-day period of the heavy rain. The floods were caused mostly by pluvial factors where the already-oversaturated soil was no longer in shape to suck in more water and lead to immense flash floods. You also have to take into account the rising of the Cumberland River due to the continuous heavy rainfall. Sadly, this flash flood event also took 9 lives in its wake.

At the time of writing, News Channel 5 reported that a lot of threats of flash flooding will be brought about by this Storm Level 5 weather event across Tennessee. This immediately prompted a flash flood watch that was issued earlier today and will expire on Wednesday, September 1st. Aside from flash floods, you also have to watch out for possible catastrophic wind gusts and tornadoes as Ida continues its course.

How Will Hurricane Ida Impact Western Tennessee and Kentucky?

It's not absurd to think that what happened back in March will repeat itself. We're expecting a very strong hurricane with Ida and it's important that you have the right protection against floods, tornadoes, or even strong winds if you live in Tennessee. If you are inclined to evacuate, make sure that you don't leave your property unprotected and ensure that you take only the safest routes as we overcome this storm.

If you want to know more about flood insurance in Tennessee especially concerning the new National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Risk Rating 2.0, CLICK HERE to check out our blog for it.

Kentucky

Although news and other reports say that when it comes to Kentucky, Hurricane Ida would have already lowered its intensity in comparison to the Category-4 hurricane that the state of Louisiana had to face this week. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flash flood warning in place as a preparation for the cold front that central Kentucky, areas like Lexington, and Louisville because once that rain starts, there's no stopping it even for a minute until the hurricane has passed to the East.

How Will Hurricane Ida Impact Western Tennessee and Kentucky?

We've seen this film before and no one liked the ending when it comes to continuous rainfall and you might even feel safer than anyone just because you're not in a flood zone or a high-risk flood zone. However, this doesn't really exempt you from any threats of flash floods. Always remember that when there's a huge amount of rain and water is no longer going in the ground, most of the time this will runoff to low-lying areas and even low-risk flood zones.

Kentucky, especially its central areas, can expect persistent showers of rain starting today up to Wednesday, September 1st. Keep in mind that even though reports would say that there are only about 2 - 5 inches of rain that the state can expect to receive, floods due to runoffs aren't out of the equation.

If you want to know more about flood insurance in Kentucky especially concerning the new National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Risk Rating 2.0, CLICK HERE to check out our blog for it.

Hurricane Ida

Ida immediately escalated to a Category-4 after leaving Cuba on Friday and made landfall on the 16th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina at Louisiana and the New Orleans area specifically. Sustained winds of 150 MPH with gusty winds that go up to a Category-5. The hurricane was so intense that officials from Louisiana weren't able to order a mandatory evacuation for residents.

At the time of writing, the forecast of rainfall is significantly lower as Ida moves to the eastern coast of the country. Rainfall totals aren't expected to go higher than 6 inches as the hurricane is rapidly weakening as it goes through its course. 

Regardless, it's always better safe than sorry as even relatively small inches of rainfall can be as devastating as the heaviest rainfall. If you have questions on how to prepare and protect yourself and your property from this type of event, what your flood insurance options are in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky, or anything about floods, click below.

Get Your Flood Risk Score Here!

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand flood risks, avoid getting blindsided by weather events, your flood insurance, and mitigating your property long term. You can use the links below to call us, email us, or get a quote from us.

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Maybe it's not nature that causes our issues with natural disasters. Sometimes we have a hand on it too.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

For the last 15-20 years Alabama has been known as tornado alley. It's known for one of the deadliest tornado days in history during the April 2011 tornado outbreak. This super outbreak lasted for 3 days, 7 hours, and 18 minutes with the highest winds that went to more than 200 mph on Hackleburg and Phil Campbell, Alabama. The damages of this outbreak surpassed the $10 billion mark and unfortunately took more than 300 lives and 3000 injuries.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

As you can imagine tornado awareness and preparation have been very crucial and is the flavor of the hurricane season so much that flood threats were sidelined, if not fully benched at the back of people's minds.

However, a question we have been getting a lot lately; what should we all be asking too, is flooding in Alabama increasing? If so, then why is it happening?

In this article, we're going to take a look at some recent flood events throughout the state and see why these events might have occurred. We are also going to look at some things that might be contributing to flooding in Alabama.

Alabama and Flood

In order to understand to answer these questions, we want to look at the recent data we got on flooding across the state from the last 3 years as these historic floods can really show the changes happening to flood in Alabama.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

2018

May 2018, the United States was ravaged by Tropical Storm Alberto even before the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. This disaster event caused both Alabama and Florida to be in constant flash flood warnings due to how strong Alberto was. Now, this was one of the biggest storms that the country faced, but for this article, we want to focus on its impacts on Alabama.

Alabama faced more than 3.5 inches of rainfall and in Cloverdale, this even went up to more than 8 inches. Ever since the storm started to cause heavy rainfall to the country, Alabama faced a lot of issues when it comes to floods. This caused a lot of flooding and winds that we've seen strong enough to have localized tree damages within the state. 

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

September 2018, Alabama faced another headache through Tropical Storm Gordon. Eight counties were in a state of emergency during this period. Brighton faced about 4 inches of rainfall and the state also saw a number of floodings during the storm event. Dauphin Island faced a storm surge of 3 to 5 feet causing minor flooding. Further inland, we've seen rainfalls going up to 8 inches which caused a lot of streets to seem like rivers, dirt roads being washed away, and flooding in several rivers.

October 2018, Hurricane Michael caused catastrophic $25 billion in damages across the country, but to Dothan, the strong winds and heavy rainfall were just the beginning. Farmers faced a lot of trouble on their livelihood as their expected great batch of cotton crops was turned to nothing. Orange Beach was also flooded due to the Hurricane.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

2019

In July 2019, Hurricane Barry dumped more than 8 inches of rainfall in Fairhope city. Mobile County also saw most of its roadways underwater due to coastal flooding and torrential rainfall overwhelmed the sewer systems that it spilled over 80,000 gallons of floodwater into the streets.

In December 2019, Tennessee and Alabama faced huge flash flooding after a record rainfall where the former saw 2.5 inches of rainfall. This, unfortunately, took two lives, one for each state. Lauderdale saw its roads also submerged with this flood.

2020

February 2020, strong to severe storms was expected to go through the state. This caused power loss for about 5,000 people at the time, damage to Highway 43 and County Road 54, and sadly taking one life.

This storm also saw water coming over banks that evacuation efforts needed to be done in Crescent of Lakeshore Apartments in Homewood. The same apartment saw cars with only the top of it above water. The overflow in Shades Creek also saw Lakeshore Trail look like a river during the storm.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

September 2020, Hurricane Sally dumped 30 inches of rain in Orange Beach, Alabama. This caused storm surge flooding to occur in Dauphin Island. We also saw flood damage in Spanish Fort where one gas station was completely destroyed after being inundated with water. This was also enough to have some sewer systems overflow contaminating Dog River and Rabbit Creek. Overall damages from this disaster were well over $300 million and took two lives in its wake with one missing.

For years Mobile and Baldwin counties have been known as the main flood areas. These are Alabama coastal areas that can receive flooding from tropical systems.

Simply put, these counties are ones that experience much stronger storms due to coastal storms they experience and deeper floods since one of the known coastal flood risks are facing that water level rise significantly due to heavy rains.

Are Floods Increasing?

Now, we've seen how progressively worse flooding has been changing throughout recent years. This is also the same when it comes to the cost of flooding when it comes to damages to properties. This immediately answers the question, but the more important is the follow-up: Why?

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

It's important to acknowledge that storms, weather patterns, extreme heat, and extreme rain events are results of climate change and we've already covered this in our previous blog. Today, we want to focus on a more unnoticed contributor to flooding across Alabama: development efforts.

The United States has been consistently becoming more urbanized, this means that most of the areas where there is natural vegetation, trees, and flora are being removed, graded, and then these efforts will simply build a drainage system that generally streams into natural bodies of water like lakes or in this case with Alabama, creeks, rivers, and coasts.

Generally, an untouched area where the flora or plants aren't interfered with can collect 90% of the rainfall as a resulting impact of storm systems. However, due to these types of developments, it can go down to only absorbing 10% of it.

Is Alabama Flooding Increasing?

In 2003, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) researched on this and found that heavily urbanized areas, including ones that are still being developed, saw a 100% increase in large floods and a 200% increase in smaller floods. The depth of flooding is also impacted as we are experiencing more overflows due to channels like drainage or sewer systems being overwhelmed by floodwater. This type of issue puts low-risk properties at risk of facing floods that they've never experienced before.

The research also found that floods in areas where developments cause sediments to somewhat clog water channels and as we've discussed before with Flood Zone AO and causes of flooding in low-risk flood zones, the water is being redirected to another area and mostly ones that are heavily populated.

The chance of flood is also directly impacted by these developments if we're not putting the right channels for water to naturally flow. Once this type of water, which should be scattering and being sipped by the soil, starts to rapidly flow into communities. What was before shallow flood events can easily become biblical flood events for those who are impacted.

This research shows future projections of what we can expect in the near future if we're not careful. This is why it's always important to understand flood maps and check with flood risk modelers to understand how a development project can cause problems for the natural flow of floodwaters.

If you have questions on flooding in Alabama, how to utilize your flood insurance policy to protect yourself, what are your flood insurance options, or anything about flood, reach out to us. Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to help you understand flood risks through education and awareness in flood insurance and preparedness.

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The week of May 17 seems to be the wick that will start the upcoming storm season numerous flooding are happening due to a low-pressure system going across the country. Missouri seems to follow Texas and Louisiana in those who are experiencing these major spring floodings.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Spring Has Sprung a Leak: Monett Missouri Flood

We want to focus today on what happened with this recent flooding that happened earlier today, what caused it, and how this can impact your flood insurance.

Flooding in the Ozarks

After heavy amounts of rainfall, Monett, Aurora, and other parts of the Ozarks faced floodings and most of the affected areas were immediately inundated with water even before the morning of May 18th arrived.

About 4 to 8 inches of rain were dumped in about six hours which started these floodings. One of the reasons why the flooding was so big was because there's a lot of spring runoff happening at this time of year. Immediately, the Monett Professional Firefighters issued flash flood warnings. 

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Spring Has Sprung a Leak: Monett Missouri Flood

There were a lot of people needing rescues from being trapped in floodwater for various reasons such as people driving into these standing water and respond to a motor vehicle that was caused by the flooding. Although no official data had been released yet on the flooding, it's important to note that this may extend until tomorrow morning as we've seen in other parts of the country.

In these times, we want to make sure that everything that our properties have enough protection from flood damage.

Missouri Flood Insurance

Filing a Flood Claim

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Spring Has Sprung a Leak: Monett Missouri Flood

Before you file that flood claim, we want you to hold back for it and consider what this flood claim can mean for your property's overall value and how your flood insurance will look like in the future.

Since flood claims stay with the whole life of the property, this means it doesn't really matter who owns it. All of the records that the property has when it comes to its flood history will stay. Considering how Missouri and Monett have been through flooding in recent years, whatever flood claim is in the property, it's still there by the time you file for the flood claim for the flooding that's happening this week.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Spring Has Sprung a Leak: Monett Missouri Flood

We want to make sure that you strategize first with your insurance agent on filing this flood claim. Generally, if the damages are less than $10,000 and you should pay the needed coverages out of your own wallet. This is because if you were to file more than one flood insurance claim in the last ten years, your property's going to be listed in the repetitive loss (RL) list.

Repetitive loss can cause your flood insurance rate to drastically increase especially if you won't be able to meet the strict flood mitigation efforts that are set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). When it comes to the availability of private flood insurance, properties in the repetitive loss list are very likely to not get a policy written from private insurers.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Spring Has Sprung a Leak: Monett Missouri Flood

The resell value of the house or the property will also be hurt by this RL listing. Since flood claims and repetitive loss generally indicate that the property had experienced flooding and is recorded to have had a lot of flood loss in recent years, buyers are most likely to avoid buying the property. You also have to consider that flood insurance availability is limited wherein private flood might not be available and the only option left is federal flood insurance which has very expensive premiums.

Loss Avoidance

As we face this constant threat of flooding in Monett and other parts of Ozarks, it's best to have the proper preparation against all possible flood damage and flood loss. This is where the coverage that most policyholders miss out on can kick in: loss avoidance.

Loss avoidance provides homeowners up to $1000 for reducing the impact of a flood on their property. This includes paying for sandbags, filling for temporary levees, plastic sheets and lumber, and even the labor that goes into the process.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Spring Has Sprung a Leak: Monett Missouri Flood

This is the best answer that you may get before a flood even hits your home and it can be easy to get since there's already flood warnings everywhere — a prerequisite in order to avail this coverage. This coverage also won't ask you to pay a deductible.

Flood Insurance Options

When it comes to where you can get flood insurance, you have two options here: federal flood insurance and the private market.

The NFIP

Since Missouri and the Ozarks is a participating community, you can get your flood policy from FEMA through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Other than being able to get federal flood insurance, disaster aid, and disaster grants, a participating community can get discounts on flood insurance premiums of up to 40% depending on your Community Rating System (CRS) score. Considering that Missouri's flood insurance rates average at around $1000, this can go down to an average $600 premium.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Spring Has Sprung a Leak: Monett Missouri Flood

The NFIP provides coverage on buildings or property that maxes at $250,000 and $100,000 maximum for contents or items inside the listed property. Federal flood insurance won't be able to get you coverages for additional living expenses, replacement costs, and loss of use. Once you get a policy with the NFIP, you have to follow the 30-day waiting period before the flood insurance can take effect on your property.

The Private Flood

On the other hand, if the NFIP's flood policy isn't the best one for you and your property, you can always go through the private market and get insured by private carriers or insurers.

Unlike the NFIP, private flood insurance doesn't have a specific maximum amount on the coverages they can provide. This means that your coverages on property and contents can be drastically higher than $250,000 and $100,000. There is also extra coverage like additional living expenses, loss of use, and replacement costs.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Spring Has Sprung a Leak: Monett Missouri Flood

Once you finished your purchase of flood insurance, private flood policies will only have to take up to 15 days before it takes effect on the property. Some carriers will also be able to write you a policy within the day.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Blog | Spring Has Sprung a Leak: Monett Missouri Flood

Since we're already going deeper into the stormy season, we'd best make sure that we have everything prepared from protection up to getting back up from the possible damages. Nowadays, I almost get a heart attack whenever someone says they don't need flood insurance since even news in recent times would tell you that flooding can happen any time and be very devastating.

If you have questions on this recent Missouri flooding, how to pick the best flood insurance option, or anything about flood insurance, reach out to us. Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to help protect the value of your property long term through flood education and awareness.

Click the links below to chat with us, get a quote for your flood insurance, and visit our YouTube channel where we post our daily flood education videos.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294    Get Your Quote from Flood Insurance Guru     The Flood Insurance Guru | Chris Greene | YouTube

Spring seems to be very far from keeping the rainy season from the locals of Baton Rouge in Louisiana. Today, we want to talk about the flooding that happened on May 17 (Monday) over at Baton Rouge, its impacts on the residents, and what it can mean for your flood insurance.

Rainfall and Flooding in Red Stick

It's been a long night in Baton Rouge as a slow-moving rainstorm dumped 10-12 inches of rain before midnight even struck. This in turn immediately prompted the National Weather Service (NWS) to declare a flash flood emergency across Ascension, Iberville, Livingston, and East Baton Rouge.

This caused the I-10 eastbound to be closed past Siegen Lane due to the standing water that inundated the highway. Speaking of flooded roads, fire departments had to respond to a number of water rescues for people who drove into high water.

This caused about 7000 locals to also face huge power outages. At the time of writing, the flooding extended to the early morning of Tuesday (May 18), so we're still waiting for the official damages that this flooding brought Baton Rouge, and considering the constant threat of flood, this event may still be extended.

Now, let's talk about things that you really need to know about your flood insurance in times like this.

Louisiana Flood Insurance

At the time of writing, we're looking at the state of Louisiana under threat of the upcoming low-pressure and storm systems, and at times like this, you want to make sure that you get your flood insurance in place and know how to really use it for the best when it comes to protecting and repairing your property from flood damage.

We want to talk about what to do before, during, and after flooding happens, so that you can maximize what coverages your policy is going to offer you regardless of it being from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or private insurers.

Loss Avoidance

It's important to note that Baton Rouge flood insurance policyholders can go through loss avoidance. Now, this is one of the things that people forget that they have on their flood policies, but this can really help you reduce the impact of floodings significantly.

Loss avoidance is a coverage that goes up to $1000 and this helps the insured to get coverage for the expenses of getting sandbags, fills for temporary levees, securing water pumps, and even the labor that goes into making these things be a part of your flood preparation. In times like this, preparing for an imminent flood that can happen any time can help you avoid damages or at least reduce it significantly.

Don't File that Flood Claim!

Stop! Don't you want to know why we discourage filing that flood claim immediately at times like this? Well, let's unpack what happens after you file these claims.

Now, generally, I'd recommend that whenever you file your flood claim since you just had flooding in your area, you want to make sure that it's at least $10,000 in damages to make sure that you get the best out of it. If it's really not that significant of damage or maybe less than $5000, $10000, you might want to hold off on filing that flood insurance claim and strategize with your insurance agent first.

Filing a flood insurance claim will grant you the coverages written on your policy however at the same time this can put your property in a bad light since there's something that's called a severe repetitive loss (SRL), sometimes known simply as repetitive loss, property list.

It's important to remember that, unlike other insurance claims, flood claims stay on the property's history forever. This is why a property that files for more than one flood claim in the last ten years will immediately be marked as a repetitive loss property.

When you get into this list, you'd expect your flood insurance premiums to go up especially if you decide to not agree with or failed to do the strict flood mitigation efforts from FEMA. This also drastically hurts the resell value of the property because you don't want to buy a very flood-prone property, right?

Flood Insurance Options

Lastly, we want to talk about your flood insurance options. If you aren't impacted by this recent flooding then it's good enough of a reason for you to make sure that you ensure that you have a flood policy taking effect on your property at all times.

The NFIP

Louisiana is a part of the participating communities in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) from FEMA. This means that you get access to the federal flood insurance, disaster aid, and disaster grants that FEMA and the federal government provides. 

This means that Baton Rouge locals that go through FEMA get the coverages from the NFIP that maxes to $250,000 in property or building coverages and $100,000 for contents or the items inside the listed building. However, unless there's a presidential declaration additional living expenses and loss of use won't be provided in your standard National Flood Insurance Program policy. There are also no replacement costs with federal flood insurance.

FloodSmart | Flood Preparation and What To Do After A Flood

Since Baton Rouge is a participating community, depending on your Community Rating System (CRS) score, you're legible to get discounts on flood insurance premiums of up to 40%. With flood insurance premiums averaging $750 in Baton Rouge, it means that you get to have your rates go down to $450.

If you're looking to get a policy from the NFIP, it's important to note that you're going to have to follow the 30-day waiting period before your policy can take effect on your listed property.

The Private Flood

We also have to consider that if the NFIP coverages don't really fit what you and your property need, you can get flood insurance from private insurers.

The private flood insurance market is becoming more popular across the country and one of the possible reasons is that it has significantly lower premiums. In Baton Rouge, the average rates from FEMA are about $700 to $800 but in the private market, this can go down to an average of $300 to $400. 

Coverages in private flood can be more than $250,000 for property coverage and more than $100,000 since they don't have those max limits compared to FEMA. Private flood also includes additional living expenses, replacement costs, and loss of use. All of these coverages can take effect within 15 days and some carriers we know can actually write you a policy within the day.

We're going deeper into the eye of the storm seasons, per se. It's pretty normal to expect a lot of rainfall, hailstorms, and flooding which is why you should know how to best protect yourself from these damages. We may not be able to stop these from happening, but we can be sure to prepare how to recover from it.

If you have questions on the flooding that happened in Baton Rouge this week, flood insurance options, or anything about flood, reach out to us.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to share this to help you protect your property's value long term. Click the links below to call us, get a quote for your flood insurance, or visit our YouTube channel for your daily dose of flood education videos.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294    Get Your Quote from Flood Insurance Guru    The Flood Insurance Guru | Chris Greene | YouTube

 

What is flash flooding?

Flash flooding is when flooding occurs pretty quickly after an event like rainfall and goes away quickly.

So imagine this you are sitting in your car waiting on traffic on 280 and it starts raining. Well if you live somewhere like the Hoover area this could be a long wait. So you have been sitting there for about 30 minutes next thing you know the water around you starts rising. You look down and water starts coming in your vehicle.

Alabama Flash Flooding

Well what do you do?

You have to exit your vehicle to safety. So you get to the top of the vehicle. As you sit there and wait for help you think how did that happen so fast?

This is exactly what flash flooding is and how fast it can happen in the Birmingham area. This is normally what catches people by surprise.

People in the Vestavia and Pelham area experience this often when it rains.

These waters can rise very quickly and become very dangerous. So many people each year lose their lives to flash flooding because it happens so fast.

It can also be very destructive to properties. Just ask the residents of the Saint Louis area who just suffered some major property losses as a result of flash flooding.

So we have talked about what flash flooding is and if it is dangerous.

So is flash flooding in Alabama covered by flood insurance?

Let's look at what FEMA defines a flood as. According to FEMA a flood is when either 2 or more properties are inundated with water or 2 acres or more.

So in the situation we discussed about Saint Louis yes flood insurance should cover some things. However there are many situations where flash flooding doesn't meet this definition and coverage is not available.

So if you have further questions about flash flooding and flood insurance coverages in Alabama then make sure to visit our website.

You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or check out our podcast.

 

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation so we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigate your property long term.

 

Tropical storm Cristobal has gone from a tropical depression to a tropical storm back to a tropical depression and then back to a tropical storm. It is the 3rd named storm of the hurricane season. NOAA has predicted between 13 and 19 named storms this year.

 

Image of dark night with lightning above stormy sea

This tropical storm looks to make landfall in Louisiana on June 7, 2020. Louisiana has a history with storms making landfall. New Orleans was hit by hurricane Katrina in August 2005. This storm was one of the most destructive storms in U.S. history. I remember that day very well it was the day I started my masters in emergency management with a focus in flood mitigation.

Are You Ready written on the wipe board

I remember when everyone thought everything was going to be fine and then the levees started failing. You had people evacuating to their roofs and having to be rescued by helicopter.

I remember walking the 9th ward a few months after the storm still seeing the red X on the buildings to show homes had been searched and if there were survivors. Even months later the smell will be something I never forget.

So of course Louisiana will always be nervous when a storm makes landfall. However the path that this storm is taking could have an even bigger impact on the Midwest and Ohio Valley areas.

End of a public beach along Lake Michigan-1

Once this storm moves inland it will start to slow down and could stall out. This could spell disaster for areas like Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.

Michigan has already suffered from major flooding this year with 2 dam bursts within the last month. Areas like Chicago have also already seen flooding this year and the Mississippi river is still extremely high.

So large amounts of rainfall in any of these areas could cause some major flooding. It was just a year ago that Nebraska, Iowa, and Oklahoma saw record flooding.

We also are not far removed from the spring runoff season that typically causes minor flooding at a minimum in some of these areas.

Boaters view of Chicago skyline in summer-1

So many times when people think of a storm making landfall they think of coastal flooding. However as recently as a few weeks ago we saw inland flooding as a result of a tropical storm that made landfall in South Carolina and moved up into Virginia.

So whether you live Miami Florida, Houston Texas, or Saginaw Michigan it's important to understand that tropical storms don't just impact coastal areas.

As we mention often everyone is in a flood zone it's just a matter of how much water it takes to get to you.

Make sure that you are prepared if water gets to you. Make sure your family has an emergency plan in place, make sure you have your flood insurance in place, and make sure you have digital documentation of your property in case a flood does occur.

These things will help your family get back on their feet quicker and hopefully increase survival.

So if you have questions about preparing for a flood or looking at your flood insurance options then click here.

You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or even listen to our podcast.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. So we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property against flooding.

 

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