As temperatures in Michigan are being forecast to be above zero this week, many homeowners are facing a new problem other than snowfall which is melting snow that may cause flooding. Ice dams on rooftops caused by melting snow that freezes again, leaking basements and flooded property are all concerning when it warms up outside. Communities across the Great Lakes State will be on the lookout for water main breaks, flash flooding in drainage systems and potholes which grow as temperatures climb.
With highs mid-week being forecast to break the 40-degree mark, this warm-up will be the mildest weather the state has seen since mid-January so says the National Weather Service. Southeastern lower Michigan which includes the Detroit metro area could see some rainfall this week which will increase the probability of flooding now through the end of the month.
One inch of fresh snow equates to about a 10th of an inch of water. Because the frozen ground cannot take in a lot of water, there is a real risk of flooding and especially for homes and businesses in low-lying areas and those along streams, creeks and rivers. As it warms up, home and business owners need to be watchful for flooding and also for ice dams which build up on rooftops. An ice dam is caused by the warmth inside a home that heats up the underside of a roof. The snow and ice on the roof melts wherein the water refreezes and forms a dam. An ice dam can cause significant damage to a roof and can also cause water to leak through to ceilings and walls.
Large, hanging icicles which hang from the eaves or gutters are a sure sign of an ice dam. If homeowners spot icicles building up on their homes, they should remove them immediately before they lead to expensive leaks in roofs. There are special melting agents for sale in home improvement stores which remove ice from roofs and there are also professional services available that can remove ice dams.
This is the time of the year when homeowners should be watching for moisture in basements and crawl spaces. If moisture is found, it will undoubtedly get worse if the melting snow on the roof is not removed. It’s also the time of the year for homeowners to check to see if their sump pumps are working correctly. This is important because often, pumps don’t run during the winter when the ground is frozen and the water table doesn’t rise. It’s essential to check for corrosion on the float switch of a sump pump because corrosion can cause a float to become stuck wherein the pump won’t turn on which can result in a flooded basement.
It’s important to be sure that melting snow on roofs can flow freely through eave troughs, downspouts and gutters. Using a snow rake to remove snow from a home’s rooftop is advisable as doing so can prevent an ice dam from forming. If snow is mounded up around a home, it’s a good idea to remove the mounds before it warms up outside to avoid having the water enter the home.