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Mar 24/15

Spring Thaw

While spring brings the promise of warm weather and longer days, it also brings a variety of conditions that can include heavy rains, severe weather, and rapid snowmelt that can increase your flood risk.

Don't be caught off guard.

Get the facts.

Know the risks.

Take action to protect yourself, your family, your investment, and your finances-before a weather event occurs and it's too late.


Spring Flood Risks:


  • Spring thaw - Warmer temperatures and resulting snow melt can produce large amounts of runoff in a short period of time, as each cubic foot of compacted snow contains gallons of water. During the early spring, frozen land prevents melting snow or rainfall from seeping into the ground. The water then runs off the surface and flows into lakes, streams, and rivers, causing excess water to spill over their banks. Add seasonal storms to the mix, and the result is often severe spring flooding.
  • Spring rains - Spring storms can bring several inches of precipitation in just hours or can stall out over an area for days. These heavy rains can lead to severe flooding by over-saturating the ground, overfilling storm drains, or causing rivers to spill over their banks or levees.
  • Flash flooding - A flash flood is a rapid flooding of low-lying areas in less than six hours, which is caused by intense rainfall from a thunderstorm or several thunderstorms. Flash floods can also occur when there are drought-like conditions.


Be prepared:


  • Clear sewers and ditches around and in front of your home - it's a good idea to make sure all debris is cleared away from sewers and ditches before the spring thaw comes.  It's easy for litter, sticks, and leaves to become lodged in these areas, which could cause serious problems with flooding.
  • Spread the snow - If you have huge mountains of snow around your yard, with gaps of barren grass, shift the snow a bit.  This will help the snow melt a little bit faster.  It will also prevent snow from subsuming an entire section of your yard from too large a mound. 
  • Ensure your downspouts are extended so they discharge rain or melt-water at least two meters away from the foundation. Downspouts should not be connected to the sanitary sewer system inside your home.
  • Check to make sure your sump pump is working. If you don't have a sump pump, consider installing one.
  • Check your basement regularly for signs of water.
  • Consider installing a mainline sewer backwater valve to protect against sewer backup if you don't have one.


Although home insurance policies cover water escape and rupture situations, damage caused by flooding, seepage and continuous or repeated leakage is not covered. Sewer backup insurance is often sold as an optional coverage and may be subject to certain conditions, limitations or exclusions. Talk to your insurance broker for all the details.