Try explaining Chicago weather to someone who doesn’t live here or spend a lot of time here. When the sun shines bright on a spring day, there’s not another city as beautiful as Chicagoland. When the skies crack open with torrential downpours, there’s no place to hide.
Why is our weather so unpredictable? How do you deal with spring floods that threaten your property?
We hear both questions when we help area homeowners take care of water damage cleanup after Chicago storms. Let’s consider what we know about our local climate and share ideas on how to weather it when it really gets bad.
Chicago’s Stormy Weather: 6 Things You Need to Know
No matter how well meteorologists upgrade their forecasting technologies, our weather will always be unpredictable. These six facts can help you understand its potential dangers and be better prepared for our next flooding event.
1. Lake Michigan Plays a Big Role
With 22 miles of its shoreline as our northeast boundary, it’s no surprise that Lake Michigan affects Chicago weather year-round. The enormous body of water forms a thermal mass that influences everything from spring floods and summer storms to winter blizzards.
The temperature fluctuations caused by lake waters intensify atmospheric activity. Our lakeside location puts us in the center of colliding warm and cold air masses, and that keeps us in the crosshairs of severe weather.
2. Floods Are Always Dangerous
We’re never surprised when heavy Chicago rains shut down city streets and overrun water mains. We don’t panic, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the serious dangers posed by flooding.
Rising water threatens a property’s structural integrity while it also creates serious hazards through damaged electric and gas lines. Flooding often backs up city sewage lines contaminating residential and business plumbing systems with dangerous bacteria and pathogens.
3. It Doesn’t Take a 100-Year Event
The duration of a storm counts as much as its total rainfall. In just a few hours, streets can fill with water. In less than a day, flooding can overwhelm city drainage systems. One of Chicago’s worst floods only dates back to 2008.
Even areas that aren’t located in the city’s 100-year flood zone routinely deal with rising water that threatens streets and property. It doesn’t take a major weather event to shut down roads, close businesses and damage homes.
4. Understand Your Risk in Detail
Don’t assume your current homeowner’s insurance policy covers flood damage. Most policies don’t cover flooding caused by natural events, so contact your insurance carrier now, and discuss the details. Your agent will probably recommend purchasing protection through the National Flood Insurance Program.
This is a good time to update insurance information about your home and its contents. Addressing and documenting changes in coverage now makes future claims easier to process. Even if you rent, you still have options for covering losses in case of flood damage.
5. Your Property Needs Your Help
While insurance protects you from financial losses and helps with water damage recovery, your home still needs help holding up to stormy Chicago weather. Take a good look around, beside and on top of the house. Practice preventative maintenance now before we get any more rain.
Give the basement extra attention too. Things as simple as inspecting interior foundation walls and checking the sump pump can keep downstairs from becoming an indoor pool. The time invested in prepping your home for potential flooding minimizes water damage and maximizes your peace of mind.
6. You Need an Evacuation Plan
Flood waters can rise very quickly stranding you inside the house. The failure of electric, gas and sewer lines add to the risk of trying to ride out a storm while you’re trapped in your home. You should always have an evacuation plan.
Start now by mapping out the safest routes through your area. Keep a small bag handy for quickly packing important papers, medications and first aid supplies. When the local weather forecast issues severe storm warnings, stay tuned and ready to go until you get the all-clear.
Helping You Weather the Worst
When it rains, it doesn’t always pour, but we want you to be prepared before it happens. It’s easier to minimize water damage cleanup in your Chicago home or business when you’re ready for the worst, so we hope our suggestions help you weather our next round of flooding.
If the recent spring downpours affected your property, tell us about it through our Comments Section. You’re always welcome to join our conversation and a be part of our online community.
ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba stands ready to help you weather the worst. When you need the best Chicago water damage restoration services available, we’re always here to answer your first call.