Has your North Carolina home been impacted by flooding in the past few years? Within the last year, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) added even more cities in the U.S. to the agency’s designated flood zone list. As a result, residents in more than 20,000 communities across the country now live within a FEMA-designated flood zone.
Whether you live in Raleigh, Wilmington, Winston-Salem or another North Carolina community, you may be at an increased risk of flooding from changing weather conditions and higher water temperatures across the globe. From more hurricanes hitting the U.S. each year to extreme thunderstorms and flooding riverbanks, the effects of climate change on our state’s homeowners are growing. With that in mind, the time is now to protect your home from flooding and your family from emergencies in the future.
Rising Sea Levels Impact North Carolina Homeowners
Research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows sea levels are rising across the world. Since 1880 when measurements began to be recorded, researchers have seen more than an eight-inch increase in sea levels globally. In addition, the annual rise is growing larger each year. One result of sea-level rise is more homes and businesses impacted by flooding each year.
For coastal communities and other areas across the east coast, damaging hurricanes are also on the rise. Each year it seems like more storms are identified and the hurricanes that hit the U.S. grow in intensity. For homeowners living by the coast or in a flood zone, more extreme weather events like hurricanes means a growing flood risk to homes and businesses.
One thing you can do today to prepare for future hurricanes and other emergencies is build an emergency preparedness kit. Stockpiling extra food, water, and batteries can help reduce the impacts of storms and other emergencies on your family and business. In addition, planning your evacuation route and creating a checklist of items to bring with you in an emergency is essential, no matter where you live.
Flood Risk Grows from Coast to Coast
Climate Central identified 14.6 million U.S. homes, businesses, and other properties now at risk for damages due to a 100-year flood event. In the U.S., more than 40% of residents live in coastal cities and surrounding suburbs that are at an increased risk of flooding due to sea-level rise and extreme weather events.
If you think the number of floods impacting homeowners in the U.S. each year is on the rise, you are correct. In fact, floods are happening more than 300 percent more often than they were just 50 years ago. This includes high-tide flooding, a direct result of sea-level rise, and other disasters. A recent Climate Central study identified residents of these major U.S. cities as having the greatest future flood risk:
- Chicago, IL
- Cape Coral, FL
- Chattanooga, TN
- Port Charlotte, FL
- Miami, FL
- Pensacola, FL
- St. Petersburg, FL
- Fort Myers, FL
- Naples, FL
- Key West, FL
- Jacksonville, FL
- New Orleans, LA
- Corpus Christi, TX
- Houston, TX
- Galveston, TX
Planning for Flood Risk Across the U.S.
Across the country, governments and residents are planning now to combat the increasing risk of flooding. From Boston to New Orleans and across the state of Florida, some communities are leading the way in flood mitigation planning and environmental protections. Flood management is an issue that more communities will need to spend time and resources on in the near future, and lessons learned from these three communities will help.
The state of Florida has been widely impacted by both hurricanes and rising sea levels. Conservationists and city leaders across the state are responding to protect the state’s natural resources and coastal areas. This includes cities like Key West, which is projected to be underwater by 2100. Lessons learned from New Orleans’ response to flood management after Hurricane Katrina are also useful. Led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the city is now protected by a complex system of levees and floodwalls created to protect homes and businesses throughout the area from storm surge. In the northeast, the city of Boston is planning now for a future that looks very different for coastal residents. City planners are redesigning areas of the city to install flood barriers and protect environmental habitats that help reduce flooding.
Protecting Your North Carolina Home from Increasing Flood Risk
In addition to supporting local flood mitigation efforts in your own town, homeowners can also help protect their own homes from increasing flood risk. First, consider purchasing flood insurance to protect your home. In addition, FEMA recommends homeowners:
- Install flood-resistant flooring and carpets
- Reinforce roofs and garage doors to protect against heavy winds
- Add hurricane shutters
- Install flood protections, including moving HVAC and electrical systems above the flood line
After a flood, one of the most expensive damages to repair can be the home’s foundation. That’s why many communities require or recommend building new homes above the flood line. In addition, you can reduce the impact of a flood with professional floodproofing services, including:
- Basement or crawl space waterproofing
- Adding interior drainage
- Installing a sump pump
- Adding crawl space encapsulation
- Installing wall flood vents
- Adding a sewer backflow valve
Emergency Preparedness Plans Help Minimize the Risk
In addition to preparing your home for an emergency, you must also prepare your family’s evacuation plan in advance as well. Before an emergency occurs, you should prepare by:
- Understanding your flood risk, identifying your home insurance policy protections, and saving important paperwork in an easy-to-find place
- Building an evacuation plan and checklist of items to bring. Remember to turn off the home’s power, gas and water hookups when you evacuate.
- Creating an emergency preparedness kit that includes nonperishable food, drinking water, pet food, a first aid kit, battery-operated flashlight and radio, and warm clothes
To learn how to protect your home from flooding, contact foundation repair experts at Tar Heel Basement Systems for a free inspection and estimate.