Exactly 5 years ago, a category 4 hurricane finally dissipated however it still left a lot of flood damage in its wake especially over in the Houston, Texas area. The damage from this flooding alone was around $125 billion.

In this article, we look at how Hurricane Harvey could impact flood insurance policies, especially with the private flood insurance market for homes across Houston, and what it could mean in the future.

Hurricane Harvey 5 Years Later: Impacts on Flood Insurance

Hurricane Harvey: 5 Years Later

Hurricane Harvey was one of the most devastating disasters we've seen in recent times. This was the hurricane that submerged 25-30 percent of Harris County just for example. Other than the flooding that happened, it's important to note that this type of natural disaster has implications for the future of your flood insurance.

Let's compare what this could mean for both federal flood insurance and private flood insurance for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Federal Flood Insurance

One of the more known flood insurance options is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) under the management of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Although they don't really pick and choose who to provide flood insurance for, they will have considerations on the impacts of Hurricane Harvey on your property.

For example, now that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) moved into the Risk Rating 2.0 program, if you made a claim due to the damages you got from Harvey, it will be forgiven. However, if you recently made a flood insurance claim then the NFIP will most likely do a 20-year look back and assess your claim variable.

Hurricane Harvey 5 Years Later: Impacts on Flood Insurance

This simply means that they will look into the last 20 years of the property's flood claims. Now, if you did more than 1 claim this could mean that your flood insurance rates will increase with the NFIP. This is something we should expect especially due to the fact that the Houston area has been getting floods recently.

Other than the increase in flood insurance premiums, generally, you still have an option to go through the NFIP without any problem. However, the same thing can't be said for private flood insurance.

Private Flood Insurance

It's a different story when it comes to the private flood insurance market, however. It's important to note that these insurance companies have the option to pick and choose who they provide flood policies.

This means that if the only flood insurance claim made in the past 5 years was due to Hurricane Harvey, then you wouldn't really have much trouble getting flood insurance policies from the private market. However, this can be a bit difficult as areas like Houston have been getting flooded more recently.

Hurricane Harvey 5 Years Later: Impacts on Flood Insurance

This system is mostly reliant on the private market's 5-year look back when it comes to flood claims. Private flood insurance companies would most likely choose properties that haven't flooded in the last five years or haven't made a flood claim in the last 5 years. This can be a challenge when finding flood insurance options, especially in some areas of Texas like Houston.

Flood Insurance Options

Does this mean that you won't be able to go through these flood insurance options then?

Not really. It's important to note that if you don't have existing flood insurance, it's best to secure one through either of these options (federal or private flood insurance).

Hurricane Harvey 5 Years Later: Impacts on Flood Insurance

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) would still be able to offer a flood policy for your home regardless of the claims made with it. It's important to keep in mind that your flood insurance rates may increase due to claims and other factors which are considered under the Risk Rating 2.0 program.

NFIP flood coverage stays the same however with $250,000 for building coverage and $100,000 for content coverage for residential policies and only up to $500,000 in building coverage if you have a commercial policy.

Your flood risk will be calculated based on: foundation type, types of flooding and flood frequency that the property experiences, claims history or claims variable, the elevation of the property, and distance to water to name a few.

Hurricane Harvey 5 Years Later: Impacts on Flood Insurance

On the other hand, you may still see a private flood insurance option available especially in the Houston area however you might want to consider the type of loan you have as only selected loan types can go through the private flood.

Private flood has a more flexible system of flood insurance coverage which makes it so that your policy will have somewhat manageable rates. This means that the coverage limits that the NFIP has won't exist with private insurance companies.

At the end of the day, getting flood insurance is really the only option you have to fight against flood damage. As we move towards the hurricane season for 2022, it's best to be prepared against flooding. 

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  • Fill out this form by clicking here.
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2020 has been a year that no one will ever forget. There are three things we want to look at in 2020 and how they could impact the future of coastal private flood insurance.

  1. Covid
  2. Social Injustice
  3. Hurricanes

 

                                                           Covid

When Covid hit in March of 2020 it caused many businesses to come to a crashing halt.

The hospitality industry has basically been non existent and you couldn't pay someone to get on a cruise ship. Airlines are barely surviving. As this happened businesses turned to their insurance companies for coverage.

However many were surprised to find out that most insurance policies don 't cover this type of disaster. Government put pressure on insurance companies to provide coverage. However its difficult to provide insurance coverage when a premium was not charged for a risk.

As these businesses started to close they started to cancel their policies. This started to impact insurance companies as businesses were no longer needing insurance for a closed business. While this was a minimum impact on the bottom line when you add the next two things it creates a major problem.

 

                                 Social Injustice

2020 has seen the rise of social injustice and unrest across many parts of the country. Portland Oregon has seen many businesses burned and even Atlanta Georgia saw businesses damaged after a man was killed in an altercation with police. 2020 was problem the first time in 50 years that you have seen moratoriums put in place by insurance companies for selling business insurance.

At one point Target had to close its Minnesota stores because of looting.

 

                                                Hurricane Season

Now onto the third maybe the biggest thing to impact insurance companies in 2020. The 2020 hurricane season was predicted to be busy but no one predicted it to be this busy. In fact NOAA has had to make several adjustments to their hurricane predictions for 2020.

As we write this blog at the end of October in 2020 we have had 27 named storms, 11 hurricanes have made landfall in the U.S. and 5 hurricanes have made landfall in Louisiana.

This ties the record for most landfalls in a year within one state. Florida set the same record in 2005.

Hurricane Sally, Marco, and Delta have all created major damage in the gulf states. In fact Delta and Sally made landfall only 15 miles a part.

Like most people in 2020 insurance companies are eating through their reserves fairly quickly and they are discovering that many of their risk models were off.

So what does this mean for coastal states like Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

In Mississippi we are already seeing some private carriers halt business completely and we have seen this in Louisiana for a few years. Texas has also had this issue since Harvey.

We could see this pattern start to work its way towards Florida and Alabama.

Does this mean flood insurance will not be available?

No

The National Flood Insurance Program is available for properties where communities participate. It just means that the private flood insurance options could be limited for a while.

This will be a crucial time for you to work with an insurance agency that can defend your risk?

What does this mean?

This means being able to show how a risk may have changed because of mitigation efforts even if it has flooded. We see customers rejected everyday because someone did not defend their property correctly.

If you have questions about what your flood insurance are in these areas then click here. You can also check out our

where we do daily flood education videos. You can also check out our

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

 

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Just a week ago, we've seen another case of flooding in Birmingham, Alabama. The city just couldn't get a break from floods.

Why Flood Insurance is Important for Birmingham, Alabama

In this article, we look back at the plans to lower flood risk in Jefferson County and help reduce the amount of flooding that happens in communities in Alabama. We also talk about how this can impact flood insurance in the long run.

Birmingham, AL Floods

Last week, a storm went past Birmingham, but it didn't leave without a mark. As water came down on the Saturday of July 9th, roads were easily flooded. This left a lot of drivers to find ways to navigate flooded roads.

This type of scenario isn't really new to Birmingham, Alabama. This is why National Weather Service (NWS) hydrologist Roger McNeil looked at the flood-prone creeks that easily help to flood in Birmingham and other nearby communities in Jefferson County.

These flood-prone creeks include the Village Creek in Birmingham wherein a $4.8 million project is planned to relocate sewer lines. It's important to note that the areas around the creek are in a high-risk flood zone which some would call the 100-year floodplain or flood zone A and AE.

The Five Mile Creek in the Ketona-Tarrant area however is still looking forward to getting financial help to mitigate flooding and reduce flood damage in the nearby communities around the creek.

These are just some of the areas that Roger McNeil found to have a high risk for flooding. If you want to read the full article, click here.

But how does this relate to flood insurance?

Flood Insurance in Birmingham, Alabama

One thing you'll be able to notice in these communities is that most of them are being put in a floodplain due to being close to a water source. This is one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) flood risk factors that now directly impact your flood insurance premiums. This is through the Risk Rating 2.0 program.

More than the impact on premium rates, being close to any body of water speaks to your flood risks. We've seen this in the same article as businesses on Highway 31, that are close to Patton Creek in Vestavia Hills, are required to carry separate flood insurance. This is due to the fact that these businesses are in a floodplain or a high-risk flood zone.

These creeks in Alabama, especially in major cities like Birmingham, contribute to the increased flooding in the state.

Why Flood Insurance is Important

There is no other insurance that can cover flood damage. The fact that we're seeing increased flooding across Alabama shows that you don't need to be in a high-risk flood zone to get flooded.

Flood insurance can provide coverage for damages on both the building or the structure of the property and the contents and everything inside the insured property. Depending on where you're getting your flood insurance from, this coverage can be as high as $250,000 for building coverage with $100,000 for contents coverage.

Why Flood Insurance is Important for Birmingham, Alabama

But this is only applicable if you're buying flood insurance with the government-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). However, it's a different story when it comes to private flood insurance as they provide more flexibility when it comes to flood insurance policy coverage.

Watch the video below to see a more in-depth discussion of the difference between federal and private flood insurance.

Floods are becoming worse recently and are also becoming more frequent. Keeping a property without flood insurance is bound to really cause some big headaches. If you have questions on flood insurance in Alabama and Birmingham City, you can visit our Flood Learning Center by clicking below.

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Remember, we want to simplify flood insurance through education so that we can help you avoid problems and keep the value of your property long-term.

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It's the question that gets asked probably a hundred times a week. Insurance agents, property owners, and even banks want to know the answer.

Everyday we see FHA loans fall apart because of flood insurance. Many times flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program can be higher. Then you might have to pay the cost of an elevation certificate.

In 2019 FDIC made a major move in the industry when it started to allow private flood insurance.

People assumed this meant FHA would start accepting private flood insurance. However, because FHA insures loans they have different guidelines they do not accept private flood insurance. As of July 2022 FHA still only allows flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, but hopefully, that will be changing soon.

On November 10, 2020 FHA made an announcement they were looking at accepting private flood insurance. They opened up a 60 day comment period for people to leave comments on this possible action.

So what happens next and what will be the impacts?

 

What's Next

After this 60-day comment period FHA will look at the comments and probably make a decision by the 2nd quarter of 2021. If they decide to approve it then they would probably delay it going into effect by 6 months. This is what FDIC in 2019.

So what could the impacts be?

 

The Impact

Well if you currently have an FHA loan then these could possibly cause a major decrease in your mortgage payment. You might see a 40% rate decrease in the private market.

 

However if this is passed don't go and try to jump to the private market right away.

FEMA has strict guidelines for cancellation. Unless you are refinancing your house you may not qualify until your policy is up for renewal.

 

In 2019 we saw a lot of people lose money because of FEMA cancellation rules. Many times private carriers require payment up front and charge minimum earned premiums.

This means you might be out 25% of the money you paid for a private policy because FEMA won't let you cancel.

 

We will continue to monitor this situation and continue to educate the public as this process moves forward. If you have questions about your flood insurance options then click here.

Want to learn more about flood insurance?

Check out our YouTube channel and Podcast.

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

 

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Flood zone AE also referred to as the 100 year flood zone has the highest premiums other than coastal areas. These are generally because most of the structures have a negative base flood elevation. So what determines the premiums of these zones?

Well there are a few things that have a major impact on flood premiums in these zones. The age of the structure, the foundation type, flood loss history, and the elevation of the home.

Let's start with the age of the structure depending on when the house was built it will have a different rating model through FEMA. Its based on the first flood map for structure which generally occurred after 1978. If it was before the first flood map its called a PreFirm structure and if its after the first flood map its called a PostFirm structure. One of the big differences between these two types of structures is called grandfathering where you can keep the property in a preferred flood zone that no longer exists. This is allowed on PostFirm structures but not PreFirm structures.

The next thing that has a major impact on flood insurances rates in flood zone AE is the foundation type. Let's start with crawlspaces above grade compared to subgrade. Above grade is a crawlspace that sits above ground and subgrade is going to be crawlspace that sits partially below ground. The big difference here is subgrade generally will sit a certain level below the base flood elevation which increase the premium. While above grade sits above ground it could still be below the base flood elevation. The difference is things like flood vents can significantly lower the premiums with above grade crawlspaces.
The next type of foundation that will have a major impact on premiums are basements. As you can imagine basements can sit a good distance below the lowest adjacent grade creating a significant negative elevation. This can have a big difference on the rate so its very important to understand this when owning a house and purchasing a house. Also just because a basement is below grade does not mean that it is below the base flood elevation. Now that we have talked about foundations lets talk about how the elevation of the home in a flood zone Ae can impact the rate.The only real way to know this is to have a survey or elevation certificate completed. Now that we have discussed how the elevations of a home can have a major impact on flood insurance rates as you can see from the different foundation types.

Lets talk about positive elevations first and how they can have a big impact. The further your home is above the base flood elevation the better the rate is going to be. If all the elevations of your home are above the base flood elevation your home might even qualify for a letter of map amendment. This means that your property might be removed from the high risk flood zone and placed in a low risk flood zones causing a big improvement to property values. Now lets talk about the impact of negative elevations. As mentioned above basements can cause a home to have an extreme negative elevation. The higher the negative elevation a home has the higher probability of a flood occurring. This can create a double edged sword because the NFIP rates can be through the roof sometimes exceeding $10,000 a year for non coastal properties. However the other problem is the higher the negative elevation the less likely that a private insurance carrier will offer coverage on a property. So these are some things to think about when buying a home with a basement or building a home. we have discussed the impact foundation types can have on a structure lets talk about flood loss history.

Flood losses can have a major impact on a property. It could even stop a property from selling if severe enough. Generally when one flood loss occurs you would lose the preferred rating with the NFIP if you had one. Having a flood loss can also eliminate most of the private flood insurance options as most will not insure a property that has had a loss. However when the second loss and paid claim occur is when disaster can strike. This can turn a property into a severity loss property which has to follow certain mitigation guidelines in order to get insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance is not available on these type of properties. This is why you should really review things closely before filing a flood insurance claim.

Have questions about flood insurance? Click the link below or visit The Flood Insurance Guru Find My Flood Risk & Flood Rate

 

pelham al home buyers beware

Hello, Chris Greene, with the Flood Insurance Guru here, where we have an educational background in emergency management with a specialization in hazard and flood mitigation. So we can help you understand your flood insurance options, how to minimize your flood risk, and possibly even how to get your flood zones changed. Today we're going to be talking about the major impact that the new flood insurance rates to the National Flood Insurance Program are going to have in areas like Pelham, Alabaster, and Helena Alabama.
Effective January 1st, 2019 the National Flood Insurance Program has put in some rate increases. Today we're going to talk about those rate increases when it comes to residential properties, investment properties, secondary properties, lake properties, second homes, commercial properties, properties that have been newly mapped to a new high-risk zone, and preferred policies.
So the first thing we're going to talk about is a primary residence. This is going to be your primary home. Let's say you have a policy now through the National Flood Insurance Program. It costs you $1,000 a year. You're looking at a 7.2% rate increase this year, effective January 1st, 2019, which is going to have an impact on you of about $72 a year, which isn't too bad. The big impact is going to be in areas like secondary residences, and commercial properties like we've mentioned. These areas are having a 24.2% rate increase. So let's say that you have a rental house that you're renting out, and it can't be considered your primary residence. If your flood premium is $2,000 a year then you are looking at almost a $500 rate increase per year, and that's just this year. So this could have a big impact on the profitability for a rental house.
Some other areas. Let's say you have a commercial business that has to have flood insurance and your flood premiums are $2,000 a year, you're looking at almost a $500 per year rate increase, for this year. The good thing is on other things like your preferred policies or zone X It's only having a 1%. So on a $1,000 premium, you're literally talking about a dollar and that's it, which is great news for these areas.
Remember, minimal risk areas or zone X generally have flooding 30% of the time. So just because you're in that low-risk zone doesn't mean you don't need flood insurance. It just means that FEMA has not determined it to be a high-risk area, and has not determined the base flood elevation. Other areas where you're going to see a rate increase are what's called newly mapped areas.
So let's say that a property is mapped to a flood zone AE, which is a hundred-year flood zone out from a flood zone X. Of course, during the first 12 months, you can take advantage of new mapping rules, which basically give you that preferred policy rate for the first 12 months. Well, you're going to see a 15% rate increase on those policies now. Now also remember that rate is only good for the first year, and that is there to help you adjust to what your flood premium's going to be. So it's very important that you look at these things.
It's also important that you understand the private flood insurance options and all your flood insurance options overall in Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, Alabama all these different areas where you're going to start seeing a lot of these flood rate changes. 

 

Remember we simplify flood insurance and understanding flood risks through education. If you want to learn more about flood education please visit our learning center by clicking below.

 

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Want to learn more about your flood insurance options? Click below

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Find all the Pelham flood insurance options

So you want to buy a flood insurance policy from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Well, you won't have to worry about how to get a policy directly from FEMA because there is the Write-Your-Own (WYO) Program.

What is NFIP's Write-Your-Own (WYO) Program?

In this article, we talk about everything you need to know about WYO policies and why the Write-Your-Own Policy helps make the process of getting flood insurance coverage from FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) easier.

Write-Your-Own Policy

When looking at flood insurance options, you'd be remiss to think that the NFIP and Private Flood Insurance are two separate worlds that can never meet.

This is far from the truth as FEMA and the NFIP actually built a cooperative in 1983 as a form of partnership with the private flood insurance industry. This is called the Write-Your-Own (WYO) Program.

This created a system wherein you don't need to bother and go through all the hassle of getting a flood policy from FEMA.

What is NFIP's Write-Your-Own Program?

Generally, the Write-Your-Own (WYO) Program helps you find an alternative way to process your NFIP policy through other insurance companies. At the time of writing, FEMA reports that there are at least 50 participating insurers or carriers.

If you want to see what insurance companies are participating in the WYO program, CLICK HERE to go to FEMA's official list.

What's The Difference?

Now, you might be starting to wonder: what's the difference then?

When it comes to the Write-Your-Own, it basically allows other insurance companies outside of FEMA and the NFIP to provide insurance support for operations and everything needed to write an NFIP policy. This makes it easier and quicker to understand your flood risks, especially with the updated Risk Rating 2.0.

What is NFIP's Write-Your-Own Program?

The insurance companies participating in the WYO are allowed to both process the writing of your flood policy, managing of the documents, and use their resource to help you get your flood insurance easier.

The same also applies when you file a flood claim where you will see the participating company to help you get your flood insurance claim get processed.

It's important to note, however, that policies that are written under the WYO still follow FEMA and NFIP's coverage and rates. This should be your heads up especially considering that all federal flood insurance policies are now officially following the new Risk Rating 2.0 program.

What is NFIP's Write-Your-Own Program?

Generally, this means that you will still see a $250,000 limit for building coverage for residential properties or up to $500,000 max for commercial properties with a $100,000 contents coverage.

Getting a WYO policy also means that floodplain management regulations (i.e. flood insurance rate map) set by the federal government will be strictly in place and participating companies are expected to follow it.

Want To Learn More?

If you want to know more about the benefits and differences between the Write-Your-Own Program and NFIP Direct, listen to our podcast below or read our blog post on Write-Your-Own and NFIP Direct:

 

If you still have questions on flood insurance, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center. You could also contact us so we can discuss your flood insurance needs.

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As the U.S. moves out of the moist cold winter weather, the risk of flooding also presents itself. Most can expect to see spring runoff and snowmelt, but fires?

Fire to Floods: Hoover Brush Fire Creates New Flood Threat in Alabama

Let's talk about the recent brush fire in Hoover, Alabama, and how this can impact both flooding and flood insurance in Hoover and its neighboring counties.

Not an April Fool's Joke

The typical quiet Wednesday night (March 30) for most people was disturbed by a brush fire in Hoover, a city in Jefferson County, and Shelby County in Alabama. The brush fire was reported to be driven by strong winds and began just before 7:00 PM.

The brush fire was enough to displace at least 26 units in City Heights apartments on Alpine Village Drive. The impact, although not direct, was substantial thermal damage that presented a lot of risks for the residents.

Fire to Floods: Hoover Brush Fire Creates New Flood Threat in AlabamaHoover Brush Fire as recorded by a resident, Joshua Johnson (from: abc3340.com)

We're talking about at least two dozen families needing to get away from their property. At least two people were treated for smoke inhalation. The good news is that the fire was extinguished completely by 8:40 PM and there wasn't a single death during the fire.

Now, you might be wondering how this and floods can be related? That's understandable since we're talking about literal fire and water here. Let's unpack that question for you.

Floods and Fires

Despite being the polar opposite element of flooding, fire can have a great contribution to flooding in an area. In this case, Hoover might also be facing increased flood risks due to the recent brush fire.

Wildfires like this can damage the soil and vegetation which naturally helps mitigate the severity of a flood event.

Fire to Floods: Hoover Brush Fire Creates New Flood Threat in Alabama

The soil absorbs all that rainwater during heavy rain reducing the excess water flowing into an area. The vegetation also does the same thing while supporting and holding the soil under them reducing mudflows and landslides.

However, when a fire like this happens, both of those things will face significant damage. As the heat dries out the soil, it won't be able to take in water and all that charred remains will add to the floodwater. There will also be a lot of debris flow due to the burnt flora. We've seen this flood threat before in California.

What It Means for Flood Insurance

One of the things that came out of the recent flood insurance update on the federal side with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the Risk Rating 2.0 and how it perceives flood threats.

The new Risk Rating 2.0 will be assessing a lot of flood variables when it comes to determining the premium rate for your property.

For Hoover residents, this type of event can add to the amount of flooding and flood type variables. Instead of just expecting potential flooding due to runoff or rising of bodies of water like Parker Lake and Cahaba River, property owners in Hoover will also be assessed for possible flash flooding and mudflow caused by this brush fire.

This could badly hurt your flood insurance premiums with the Risk Rating 2.0 especially once your renewal kicks in.

Fire to Floods: Hoover Brush Fire Creates New Flood Threat in Alabama

— Good thing I'm doing a private flood insurance policy, right?

Although Private Flood generally has cheaper premium rates, private insurance companies were first to assess a property's flood risk by looking at its flood data and not just the flood zone alone. This may still present a shift in your Hoover home's flood risk hence flood insurance rates.

Better Than No Flood Insurance

At the end of the day, it's best to still secure that flood insurance since we can't really tell how Hoover would respond to flooding in the next few weeks. We're looking at spring runoff, snowmelt, heavy rainfall, and now, fire scars of this as flood risks in Hoover.

If you need flood insurance, Alabama has been opened to more options due to increased risks from previous years. This way, you can get your flood insurance through either the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the NFIP or through multiple private flood insurance companies.

If you want to know how they are different, watch the video below:

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand flood risks like brush fires, your flood insurance, and how to best protect the value of your property long-term.

If you've got questions, click the link below to go to our Flood Learning Center:

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You can also use this link below to call us:

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Be safe out there, Alabama.

As the whole country moves out of the winter season, saying goodbye to all that snow might not be quick after all. One of the secrets of this transition from the snow-filled streets to blooming trees is the threat of flooding.

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

Today, we want to talk about snowmelt, how it impacts flooding, and how flood insurance helps in protecting yourself from snow.

Spring Floods in 2022

Farewell to our cool friends from the month of December (see what we did there?) and hello to a warmer climate. For some this is a breath of fresh air since, let's be honest, the winter season had its fair share of annoyances like slippery pavements and the need to constantly shovel snow for areas that experience a lot of snow like the midwest region.

However, this shift might be presenting a bigger concern for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as the warmer climate also presents the possibility of drought and spring floods across the West, Midwest, and Southeast.

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

Why are NOAA and other National Weather Service (NWS) are worrying? We got a lot of moisture from winter, Chris.

This is exactly the case when you start to look into flooding. As we move into the warmest season of the year, Summer, it's important to note that all that ice and snow will start to melt.

When you have oversaturated soil, it only takes a small rainfall to transform these into water.

Lookout! Spring Floods in 2022

NOAA considers a lot of factors other than snowmelt when it comes to what's called the spring flood that we may see in May. These things include drought, the current status of snowpacks, saturation levels, frost depth, and streamflow.

These things separated don't really cause floods, but they are ingredients to the worst cocktail you might experience. However, it's important to note that flood threats don't just pertain to that overflow of water from rivers, lakes, or creeks. We all know by now that even consistent rainfall can create damaging floodwaters.

We've actually seen this happen last year in the state of Colorado. You can read our blog on it by clicking here (Snowstorm in the Centennial State: Impacts of the May Spring Runoff).

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

Considering that there was very late precipitation in fall and winter, the ground that we have during the first months of Spring would still be too wet to take in more water. Major flood risks are being expected from areas near the Red River, Ohio River, and the James River.

This isn't a problem that's specific to areas covered by snow like Ohio where there can be 2 to 4 inches of snow on average, but also to low-lying areas. Once these areas' respective ground couldn't take any more water, all that water won't stop and actually go to low-lying areas.

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

 

Once you include drought in the equation, then you're just looking at heavy rain and even small amounts of precipitation to be water hitting cement.

This is why NOAA's recent outlook sees areas like the Ohio Valley to be at above-average levels when it comes to flood risks during the spring. This simply means that Ohio is expected to see more floods and runoff during the blooming season. This is the concern of NOAA due to the melting of ice, snow, as well as precipitation as we move into a warmer climate.

How Flood Insurance Helps

We're going, to be honest, a mere flood policy won't be able to change the flood threat that you're facing in Ohio or control its flood stage. However, just like a role-playing game, flood insurance has all the defense stats you would need to avoid getting snared by the violent spring runoff.

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Flood insurance actually covers damages from all types of flooding including spring runoff or spring flood. This simply means that regardless of the floodwaters coming from snowpacks melting, storms, or major rivers cresting, you will find peace of mind knowing that you can fight those losses.

What Snowmelts Mean for Flooding in Ohio

A standard flood insurance policy can cover all of the damages due to flooding on both your home or dwelling and everything inside of it. Depending on where you're getting your flood insurance, you might see different coverage amounts.

For example, getting a flood policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will cap your coverage amount for building damages to $250,000 and $100,000 for contents.

The same can't be said for private flood insurance companies. Private flood is known for its quick turnaround time to have a policy take effect on an insured building and more flexible coverage amounts.

Need more help in preparing for spring floods? Click here to read our guide on "How to Prepare For 2022 Spring Runoff Season".

Bloom in Spring

Spring flood is becoming a yearly concern for the United States, so it's best to know why such an important change from winter to spring can impact you. After all, we are talking about our safety.

If you've got questions on spring floods or anything about flood insurance, click below to go to our Flood Learning Center where we answer your flood insurance questions.

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Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand flooding, flood insurance, and protecting you from all types of flood risks.

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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.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

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.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294