It’s been a rainy February, and the wet weather seems to be sticking around for a little while longer. With all of the downpours, many are concerned about what to do if your home or property floods, how to prevent it and who you should call in that situation. The City of Knoxville and Knox County Stormwater Department have some helpful information for managing the extreme weather.
What to do if there is flooding on your property:
If there is heavy flooding inside of your home, evacuate the premises as soon as possible. Make sure you document the damage with photos and videos.
If you own your home, then call your insurer to let them know about the flooding. If you are a renter, then be sure to contact your landlord to give them information regarding the flooding.
For families with unfinished basements, light flooding when it rains can be common. If you notice that your unfinished basement is getting less than two feet of water when it rains, then you can install a standpipe. You can also see if your home is still under warranty, and if so, you can discuss with the builders the options available to correct the issue.
When you have the opportunity, inspect your property to make sure all surface and subsurface drains are working properly. Areas of your yard that experience unusual saturation may have an underlying drainage problem.
Heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 5 - 6, causes flooding in parts of East Tennessee
If your home uses gas, then be on the lookout for damage to gas lines. In the case of extreme flooding, shut off your gas as a preventative measure for other possible mishaps.
Also, have your local utility provider turn off your electricity completely. Electric currents can travel through water, which is why electrocution is the number two cause of flood-related deaths, after drowning.
If any electric devices in your home get wet, make sure you dry them completely before trying to use them again. This especially applies to household appliances like televisions and toasters that can hold electricity without being plugged in.
Who to call in case of flooding:
In the case of emergency, always call 9-1-1.
If there is non-life threatening flooding in your home, then you can call the Knox County Stormwater Department at (865) 215-5540.
If you plan on making a significant change to the drainage system of your property, you should also call the Knox County Stormwater Department to see if you need a permit for the work.
How to help prevent future flooding:
Don’t dump anything into streams, ditches, storm drains or sinkholes. If you see someone dumping into these areas, be sure to report it to the Knox County Stormwater Department.
Make sure there is nothing blocking storm drains. If you can, try to regularly clean out debris and trash from storm drains on your property.
Do you live near a ditch or stream? It is a good idea to allow for vegetation to grow along the banks of the stream because it helps soak up excess water and the roots help to keep soil in place.
Check to make sure all concrete on or near your property, such as driveways, sidewalks and patios, are sloped away from your house OR towards a drain. If these fixtures slope towards your home, then there is an increased chance of the area flooding.
Clean your rain gutters often, and make sure they drain away from your home. Drainpipes should extend at least 10 feet away from the foundation of the house.
If you notice water pooling against the foundation of your home often during rain, then you can construct a swale or ditch to keep water away from the foundation. If you choose to make this adjustment to your property, contact the Knox Country Stormwater Department beforehand.
Another option is to purchase flood insurance. For Knoxville residents, flood insurance is available at a 10 percent discounted rate.
It is important to focus on your own safety during cases of extreme weather and flooding. Homes can be repaired and replaced, but you and your loved ones cannot.