How to Prepare for Water and Flood Damage in GA?
Georgia is a state that faces various natural hazards, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, and flood damage. Among these, floods are the most common and costly disasters, affecting millions of people and properties every year. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Georgia has experienced more than $1.2 billion in flood insurance claims from 1978 to 2020. In this article, we will look at some of the factors that influence the risk and impact of water and flood damage in Georgia. And what residents and local governments can do to reduce these damages in the next 10 years?
Climate and Precipitation Patterns in Georgia
Georgia has a humid subtropical climate, with hot and humid summers and mild winters. The state receives an average of 50.7 inches of precipitation per year. This is much higher than the national average of 38.6 inches. However, the distribution of precipitation is uneven across the state. The northern and eastern regions receiving more rainfall than the southern and western regions. The state also experiences seasonal variations in precipitation. The wettest months are March and July, and the driest months are October and November.
The amount and intensity of precipitation in Georgia are influenced by several factors. These factors are:
- Atlantic Ocean
- Gulf of Mexico
- Appalachian Mountains
- El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle
These factors can create different weather patterns that affect the frequency and severity of floods in the state. For example, tropical storms and hurricanes can bring heavy rainfall and storm surges along the coast and inland areas, causing flash floods and riverine floods. On the other hand, cold fronts and low-pressure systems can produce thunderstorms and hailstorms, resulting in localized flooding and damage. Additionally, ENSO can affect the temperature and moisture of the air masses that influence the climate and precipitation in Georgia. El Niño events tend to increase the rainfall and flood risk in the winter and spring. While La Niña events tend to decrease the rainfall and flood risk in the summer and fall.
Climate Change and Global Warming Effects on Georgia
Climate change and global warming are expected to have significant impacts on the climate and precipitation patterns in GA. As well as the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the average annual temperature in Georgia has increased by 2°F since the early 20th century. And is projected to rise by another 4°F to 9°F by the end of the 21st century, depending on the greenhouse gas emissions scenario. This will result in more heat waves, droughts, and wildfires, as well as higher evaporation rates and lower soil moisture levels.
The effects of climate change and global warming on precipitation and flooding in Georgia are more uncertain, but some general trends can be expected. The annual average precipitation in Georgia is projected to increase slightly by the end of the century, but with more variability and extremes. This means that there will be more heavy rainfall events that can cause flash floods and urban floods, as well as more dry spells that can increase the risk of droughts and water shortages. The intensity and frequency of tropical storms and hurricanes are also likely to increase, leading to more coastal and inland flooding and damage. Furthermore, the sea level along the Georgia coast is projected to rise by 1 to 4 feet by 2100, depending on the emissions scenario and the land subsidence rate. This will increase the vulnerability of coastal communities and infrastructure to storm surges, erosion, and saltwater intrusion.
How to Reduce Water and Flood Damage in Georgia?
Given the current and projected risks of water and flood damage in Georgia, it is important for residents and local governments to take proactive measures to prepare for and mitigate the impacts of these disasters. Here are some of the actions that can be taken to reduce water and flood damage in Georgia:
Purchase flood insurance:
Flood insurance is a type of insurance that covers the financial losses from property damage caused by external flooding. Water damage is not covered by standard homeowners or renters insurance policies. It’s essential to purchase a separate flood insurance policy to protect your home and belongings. Flood insurance is available through the NFIP, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), or through private insurers. The cost and coverage of flood insurance depend on several factors, such as the location, elevation, and construction of your property, as well as the flood zone and flood risk level assigned by FEMA. The average cost of flood insurance in Georgia is $689 per year, but it can vary widely depending on your specific situation. You can find out more about flood insurance and get a quote from an insurance agent or company in your area.
Implement flood-proofing measures:
Flood-proofing measures are actions that can be taken to reduce the exposure and vulnerability of your property to flood damage. These can include structural and non-structural modifications. Such as:
-elevating your home;
-installing flood vents;
-sealing cracks and openings;
-moving valuables and appliances to higher floors;
-landscaping your yard;
-installing sump pumps and backflow valves.
These measures can help you prevent or minimize water intrusion, mold growth, electrical hazards, and structural damage. You can consult a professional contractor or engineer to assess your property and recommend the best flood-proofing options for your situation.
Follow flood safety tips:
Flood safety tips are guidelines that can help you protect yourself and your family from the dangers and hazards of flooding. These can include:
-preparing an emergency kit;
-creating a family communication plan;
-staying informed of the weather and flood conditions;
-evacuating when ordered, avoiding driving or walking through flooded areas;
-cleaning and disinfecting your home after a flood.
You can find more information and resources on flood safety from FEMA, the American Red Cross, and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency.
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Water and flood damage is a serious and costly problem in Georgia, and it is expected to worsen in the future due to climate change and global warming. However, there are steps that residents and local governments can take to reduce the risk and impact of these disasters. Such as:
- purchasing flood insurance;
- implementing flood-proofing measures;
- following flood safety tips;
- hire experienced water restoration company.
By taking these actions, we can make our homes and communities more resilient and prepared for water and flood damage in Georgia.