A rising Red River covered streets and, in some instances, entered homes in northwestern Louisiana on June 6.
The Red was more than five feet above its 30-foot flood stage in Shreveport and was expected to crest there on June 7 at more than 36 feet.
Caddo Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Chadwick said at least a dozen Caddo Parish homes had flooded — some with at least a foot of water — along the Red or its tributaries. There was flooding reported on major Shreveport area thoroughfares and scattered evacuations in some areas.
“There are other areas where, if you don’t have water in your home, it’s knocking at your door,” Chadwick said.
Chadwick said officials were taking steps to protect water treatment plants and other infrastructure.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has activated up to 200 Louisiana National Guard members to help the state and local emergency effort. The governor’s office says 255,000 sandbags are being distributed in Bossier, Caddo and other parishes along the Red.
An RV park in Bossier Parish has been evacuated. Bossier City officials say ramps from the Shreveport Barksdale Bridge that leads to the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway have been closed because of flooding on the east side of the parkway.
Water is expected to remain high for several days. More above-flood-stage crests are expected further downriver later in the week.
The Red was expected to crest at 38.5 feet on June 9 at Coushatta, more than seven feet above flood stage. At Alexandria, the Red was expected to cause moderate flooding when it crests on June 13 at 38 feet, six feet above flood stage.
Source: Insurance Journal, June 8, 2015.
We’ve all heard the quote, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And those words certainly ring true when it comes to preparing your home to withstand the often crazy spring storm season. Taking just a few preventative measures now can save you from dealing with substantial damage later.
Now that warmer temperatures are here and homeowners are thinking about spring cleaning and projects around the house, it’s an ideal time to take steps to prevent storm damage to your home. Here are a few tips to prepare for the stormy season ahead:
1. Identify any existing roof or siding problems: A licensed contractor can inspect your roof for missing shingles and possible leaks and do any repair work if necessary. It’s also a good idea to inspect and reinforce any loose siding, which can quickly rip off during high winds.
2. Use shredded bark mulch as landscaping material: If you have rock or gravel landscaping, it’s a good idea to replace it with bark, which won’t cause damage if blown around in high winds.
3. Maintain trees and shrubbery in your yard: Spring is the perfect time to remove dead or weak branches or remove trees that could fall on your home during a storm. Check trees and shrubs regularly to identify potential problems.
4. Ensure gutters aren’t loose or clogged: Clear your gutters of debris and make sure they are tightly attached to your house. Strong winds can quickly tear loose gutters from your home and cause damage. Also, it’s important to make sure downspouts are positioned away from your home’s foundation to help prevent basement flooding.
5. Secure top-heavy furniture: Don’t forget about the inside of your home too. Walk around your house and secure large, top-heavy pieces, such as bookcases, to the wall.
Now it’s time to follow through and take action. We have been fortunate that the last two years have produced quiet hurricane seasons in the tropical Atlantic. And according Colorado State University researchers, this year also looks to be quiet. However, we all know that forecasts are subject to change and it’s always important to be prepared.
Of course, sometimes careful prevention and planning can’t withstand the wrath of Mother Nature. An Access Home Insurance Company policy provides coverage for most severe weather-related losses – other than flooding. A separate policy to cover flood damage is available. If your home does sustain damage during a storm, contact your insurance agent.
For information on our claims process or to submit a claim, visit the Claims page.
Last month, we highlighted the importance of keeping your pipes from freezing, however there are other trouble areas within your home, that if not properly maintained, can also lead to water damage.
Here are the most common culprits:
According to a study by the Institute for Business and Home Safety1 nearly 75 percent of all water heaters fail before they are 12 years old. A leak in your water heater can cause significant damage to your home. The water supply is endless as most tanks are designed to continuously fill.
Fix: If your water heater is over 10 years old, consider replacing it. Otherwise, flush the tank to remove sediment and debris on an annual basis. You can easily do this by hooking a garden hose to the drain valve and drain the tank until the water coming from the hose is clear. This will not only help the unit heat more efficiently but also operate more quietly.
Inadequately maintained washing machine hoses can leak or burst, flooding your home.
Fix: Replace rubber hoses with stainless steel braided hoses. While these hoses aren’t entirely leak proof, they are more reliable. Also, consider installing a washing machine valve shutoff kit. These kits have a sensor that is mounted to the floor which will detect the presence of liquid and shut off the water valve.
Clogged drains or improperly maintained drain hoses can cause water to back up and leak. Opening your dishwasher after it runs through a wash cycle to discover water remaining in the tub is alarming. While about 1 to 2 cups of water remaining in your dishwasher tub is normal, water that floods the bottom indicates the dishwasher isn’t draining properly.
Fix: No more than 1 to 2 cups of water should remain at the bottom of the dishwasher after running a wash cycle. If more than this exists, check the pump, which is in the bottom of the dishwasher, for food, paper or other debris that might beobstructing drainage. Remove anything blocking the drain. Most dishwashers drain into the kitchen sink or a garbage disposal. Make sure these drains are clear.
Other Trouble Spots:
A partial clog in your toilet or bathtub can be a problem. Make sure to keep these drains clear as well.
Don’t assume that you will see a leak whenever there is one. Sometimes leaks occur at the joints between pipes in your walls. It is a good idea to know where the main water shut-off valve is in your home so you can turn off the water source should a leak occur.
If your home does sustain water damage, it is important to start the water damage cleanup immediately. Moisture promotes the growth of mold and other organisms, increasing the risk for serious health problems. Cleaning up immediately can help mitigate the health effects of those in the home as well as prevent further damage and expense for repairs.
Hiring a water damage restoration company can make the cleanup process easier to handle, as these companies employ experienced workers who know the best ways to repair or replace damaged items and help with water damage cleanup.
Most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for this type of water damage. Review your policy or check with your agent to make sure you understand what is covered.
Resources: 1Institute for Business and Home Safety
Freezing temperatures and wind can devastate homes and businesses if proper precautions aren’t taken. Winter temperatures can cause water lines to freeze and rupture, spilling water and causing significant damage to homes. Next to hurricanes, water damage is the most common and costly cause of homeowners insurance claims every year.
What to do before the temperatures drop:
Here are some tips on how to protect your plumbing from freezing temperatures:
Resources: NOLA.com, National Weather Service