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Preparing for Winter Hazards: Snowmelts and Ice Jams

As the seasons begin to shift and fall becomes winter, it is worth looking at some of the potential hazards of winter weather. Beyond the cold and inconvenience of snowstorms, there are a lot of lasting effects winter weather has on your home and city. From freezing pipes and ice obstructing drainages to rapid snowmelt that causes massive water runoff from lakes and streams, winter weather hazards are something that everyone should prepare themselves to address. broken links test . Two often overlooked concerns are ice jams and snowmelts. Many people may not even know what these are, so we’re going to take a look at these hazards and assess what you can do.

 

Ice Jams

These are initially caused by prolonged cold temperatures freezing the surface of water in a lake or river. A sudden thaw or rise in the water level in the body of water can cause the ice to break apart and large chunks of ice can drift in the water and obstruct drainages and jamming in man made and natural features. This can lead to flooding if there is enough water flowing and the ice is causing a serious obstruction. Many people don’t associate winter with flood risk, but ice jams are one way in which a disaster could ensue during the cold weather. Often a warm spell during the winter or the gradual transition to spring can be a catalyst for ice jams since any sudden melting and rise in water can break up surface ice and cause problems. Though there isn’t much you can do to prevent this, understanding flood preparation protocol and having flood insurance for your home will help if you are affected by this.

 

Snowmelts

This is exactly what it sounds like. A rapid melt in mid-winter snow or spring thaw can lead to massive water runoff in a short period of time. This is problematic because in the winter the ground is often frozen or still too hard for the water to penetrate the surface. This leads to runoff to lakes, rivers, and streams–causing them to overflow. These rapid snowmelts can be particularly dangerous for those living near bodies of water or rivers since the water level can rise suddenly and spill over into your property. In areas near water prone to overflow from snowmelt, having flood insurance is a good idea. You will also want to take steps to prepare a response to rising waters before they can affect your home. Water damage can be costly to repair and working to mitigate the damage is the best solution. Making sure your home is prepared to address flooding is always good if you live in a high risk area–even in the winter, but don’t underestimate potential for flooding from snowmelts in areas away from water sources.

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