Rainy Day Blues

Rainy Day Blues

The old adage “April showers bring May flowers,” is such a happy thought. Pots of marigolds and geraniums brighten porches and zinnias dance as butterflies tickle their garden blooms. But, come July through September, the spring and summer blooms begin to fade and the reality of near-daily torrential rainstorms, afternoon showers, and lightning brings homeowners the less-than-happy thoughts of flash floods, leaky roofs, and water damage.   Here are a few tips and resources to help weather the stormy days of summer.  


The Basics

  • Maintain gutters. Clean gutters, downspouts, and drains are the first line of defense against heavy rains.  Twice a year – preferably spring and fall – remove leaves and other debris and make sure water is directed away from the foundation.   Neighborhood storm drains should also be clear.  If it appears rain is not moving into the drain quickly, you need to contact local officials for maintenance.
  • Remove yard debris and trim trees. Leaves and branches in the yard can clog drainage systems.  Remove debris and look for loose tree limbs that could fall and cause damage during heavy rains.
  • Check window air conditioners.  According to distasterpreparedness.org, window units in homes and outbuildings should have an adequate size internal drain pipe and water should flow freely.  The unit should have good caulking and weather stripping.  Finally, make sure the unit tilts toward the outside with a ¼ inch (2 degree) bubble. 
  • Inspect the chimney and basement.  Cracks in the chimney or basement walls provide easy access for moisture that can lead to mold.  Consider a chimney cap to deter water and make sure the basement has a sump pump if the location is subject to flooding from heavy downpours.

Damage Control

  • Take pictures. Document the extent of water in the home and any visible damage.  Clear photos taken before any clean up or repairs will help with insurance claims.
  • Wear protective gear. Whether or not water appears dirty, it may contain harmful bacteria or contaminants.  Be safe and wear tall waterproof boots and rubber gloves to minimize exposure.
  • Evacuate the water.  A small amount of water can be removed with a sump pump or wet vac.  Open windows, if possible, to speed drying and air circulation. 
  • Consider hiring a pro.  HouseLogic.com suggests hiring a flood restoration service as soon as possible to mitigate damage.   “Look for those with Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification.”


  • Homeowner's Insurance. Traditional homeowner’s insurance covers flood damage from rain, right?  It depends.  PolicyGenius explains that homeowner’s policies generally cover flood damage if it occurs as the result of some other event such as a windstorm or a tree falling and creating a hole in the roof.  If your home floods because of heavy rain, the damage wouldn’t be covered.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says, “Unfortunately, many homeowners do not realize until it is too late that their homeowners’ policies do not cover flood damage.”.
  • Flood Insurance. Special flood insurance picks up where traditional homeowner’s insurance stops.  FEMA administers and manages the National Flood Insurance Program, created in 1968, to meet the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods.  Homeowners in high-risk areas, called Special Flood Hazard Areas, must purchase flood insurance if they have a federally insured mortgage.  Those outside high-risk areas also may purchase flood insurance and get lower rates.  In fact, a quarter of all flood insurance claims come from low-risk or medium-risk areas.  For more information about federal flood insurance click here.
  • Evacuate the water.  A small amount of water can be removed with a sump pump or wet vac.  Open windows, if possible, to speed drying and air circulation. 
  • FEMA provides detailed instructions for flood damage and claims at floodsmart.gov


  • Before you buy, a REALTOR® can likely determine if a property is in a zone where National Flood Insurance Program coverage is required.  If insurance is required, a REALTOR® may be able to recommend a provider.
  • REALTORS® can recommend flood insurance programs for homeowners not in a Special Flood Hazard Area.  Keep in mind there is a 30-day waiting period for coverage UNLESS the policy is issued while in the mortgage process.  In that case, there is no waiting period.

Alabama has more than its share of extreme weather events.  From rainstorms to tornados and hurricane seasons, planning ahead with preventive maintenance, a mitigation plan, and insurance coverage is your best protection.