Getting ready for heavy rain, potential flooding

Experts say you should focus on keeping water physically away from your house as much as possible.
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - With a forecast calling for more than three inches of rain, flooding is a definite concern for parts of the area -- including in your basement.

Experts with EverDry Waterproofing and Basement Doctor say that the best way to keep water out of your basement is to take action before the heavy rain sets in.

“You can do some commonsense things -- take a walk around your yard and just look for any openings, and seams, things like that. Try to fill them up as best you can you can even use caulk, things like that,” Gil Ramirez, General Manager with EverDry Waterproofing said.

John Clements, the owner of Basement Doctor, adds, “The biggest problem people have with a wet basement is, they haven’t controlled the water coming at the basement. Gutters, downspouts, and sump pumps are the three most important things to maintain. If your gutters are overflowing, and you get a three-inch rain, it’s basically the same thing as uncorking a swimming pool right next to your house. It can be over 10,000 gallons of water in a three-inch rain for your average house. And that’s right next to the foundation. You’re going to get wet at that point.”

And after the water recedes, your health can still be at risk.

“That’s one thing that happens the quickest because experts will tell you, once something gets wet in the basement, it only takes 24-48 hours for mold to start growing,” Ramirez said.

And water damage can wreak havoc on your home.

“With the foundation, the structure, any cracking, bending or bowing of the walls, heaving of the floors, things like that,” Ramirez said.

In fact, water can completely destroy your basement

“Worst-case scenario, I hate saying it because it seems like a scare tactic, but I’ve seen basements collapse,” Clements said. “I’ve seen walls bow in a quarter-inch; I’ve seen them bow in eight inches. And it just depends on each individual circumstance. We’re not into the scare tactics, but it’s very important, it’s what holds your house up, which is usually the biggest investment in your life.

“If people would maintain their gutters and downspouts on a regular basis, my industry wouldn’t exist. It’s that critically important. If you think about it, if you keep the water away from your house, you’re not going to have a wet basement.”

As far as city preparations, Ignazio Messina with the City of Toledo tells 13abc that additional crews will be on standby to respond to calls for cleanup around the city through at least late Wednesday. In an email, Messina outlined the following coverage plan:

  • In anticipation of the predicted rain amounts from Tuesday through Thursday, from 3-4 inches in a 48-hour period, S&DS will implement the following rain event protocols starting at 3 p.m. Tuesday until the manager sends a notification via email that the event is over.
  • Maintain two (2) crews on standby until the rain even has ended.
  • The crews will consist of (2) Vactor Operators (HEO2) and four (4) Sewer & Drainage Service Workers.
  • While on standby in the building, they will make sure they have all the tools and equipment they need and have the task of cleaning the storm sewer grates (tops) in known trouble spots.
  • Once calls start coming in to Engage Toledo for water in the basements and flooding in the streets, the crews will be dispatched to those locations to investigate and remedy situations where possible.
  • Depending on the intensity of the rainfall and the number of citizen service requests (SRs) additional crews will be called in and dispatched appropriately. Under extreme conditions, normal construction and repair operations may be suspended all available crews will be assigned to deal with the flooding issues.
  • Engage Toledo will email rain reports out every four (4) hours.

For a closer look at the details of this rain event, click here.

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