Up to an inch of rain combined with melting snow may cause flooding in our area this afternoon and evening, according to the National Weather Service, which has issued a Flood Watch for all of Central and Western Massachusetts.
Southborough Emergency Management Director Neal Aspesi said flooding should be minor in our area, but may result in flooded basements and hazardous road conditions.
Flooded basements are a fact of life for many of us (this blogger included), but Aspesi said residents need to take care when the water level rises.
“A flooded basement is not only a messy situation but also presents dangers,” Aspesi said via email. “The most common of these are electrocution, carbon monoxide poisoning from flooded gas/propane/oil units and fires from electrical and heating units. The hazards related to mold are a huge concern, as well.”
Aspesi advises homeowners to stay out of a flooded basement until a professional can disconnect electricity to the house. If the water level reaches or exceeds the pilot flame on any basement unit, the unit should be immediately turned off if it’s possible to do so without entering the basement (use the red oil switch if your home has one). Homeowners should then call the fire department for help (508-485-3235).
If you have minor to moderate flooding and any damage to your property, you can make a claim with your insurance company. Aspesi recommends photographing and documenting all the damage. There are also water damage mitigation companies who may be able to help.
Given all the snow we’ve had this winter, today’s Flood Watch may be the first of many.
“There has been a lot of snow locally and up North this season, which may result more significant flooding as that snow melts,” Aspesi said. “Flooding will be drastically increased if we have a rapid long-term warming and/or wet spring.”
This might be a good time to remind you that Town Meeting last year approved a new bylaw that allows the the Fire Chief to assess a fee for people who repeatedly call on the department to pump out their basement instead of keeping their personal pumps in working order.
We have had our house flood once in 2009 when we got that terrible rainstorm. It was the same day the library flooded. Our insurance covered zero dollars and we had to eat the cost of all the repairs and renovations. Insurance companies are pretty good at getting out of helping you. We, thankfully, have not had any issues since, but decided to buy flood insurance from FEMA to be on the safe side. Our flood could have been much worse if it weren’t for our neighbors, a kind stranger, and our fire department. I’m so thankful for their help and comfort.
I’m going to make a big assumption and say that your home policy did not cover flooding. Most home policies don’t and says so specifically in the Exclusions portion of the policy. If that was the case, the insurance company was within its right to not cover any damage relating to flooding. Insurance companies aren’t always the bad guys trying to weasel their way out of paying claims.