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Protect Your Property From Downpours, Snowmelt

You can take steps to protect your property and family from a heavy rainstorm or fast snowmelt.

“Snow can hold a lot of water,” says Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University Extension Service flood expert. “For instance, a 10-foot-high pile of snow 20 feet in diameter contains 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of water. And about 2,500 gallons of water will come from a 1,000-square-foot roof with snow 1 foot deep across the roof.”

This checklist can help you reduce the severity of damage and keep your family safe:

  • Move snow away from your home’s foundations. Snowmelt can cause a wet basement if it’s allowed to run along the basement wall. Moving snow just 3 to 5 feet from the house will reduce problems if the ground near the house is sloped 1 inch per foot.
  • Build dams and contour the ground so water will drain away from the house instead of into window wells.
  • Get eaves troughs and downspouts into place so they can carry water from melting snow or a heavy rainfall away from the house.
  • Do not use salt or a chemical to melt snow and ice in downspouts because salt and chemicals probably will damage the lawn.

For more information, visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/flood or www.extension.org/Floods.

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