Resources to Help You Prepare for Wet Weather

Seattle’s reputation may be a rainy one, but did you know that the Emerald City only receives an average of 38 inches of precipitation a year? That’s about the same as the national average. Our reputation for precipitation comes from the fact that we have a higher number of days with rain– it rains more frequently here than most other U.S. cities. When wet weather hits, make sure you’re prepared with the tips and resources below.

What To Do BEFORE Heavy Rains

Planning and preparing for wet weather can reduce ponding and flooding, and that can protect you and your property. Please remember to stay safe and follow the safety recommendations listed here.

Keep leaves, debris, snow and ice from blocking drains. Clear your drain only if it is safe. Stand on the sidewalk or parking strip (not in the road!) and use tools (not your hands). Place materials in yard waste or garbage as appropriate.

Maintaining your property’s drainage system is your responsibility. You’ll want to inspect your property’s drainage regularly. This can include inspecting your underground drainage with the help of a professional, clearing drains in and near your property, checking any retaining walls if available, and looking for signs of earth movement.

In addition to this, you’ll also want to inspect your gutters & downspouts for leaks and damage, clearing debris at least twice annually. If needed, you may have to create “flow paths” for stormwater to flow to avoid damage to your own property or that of your neighbors’ properties. This can be done using landscaping or even sandbags.

Using sandbags to create a temporary flood barrier can help reduce and prevent flooding. Households and businesses in flood-prone areas can access free sandbags if needed while supplies are available. Sandbags don’t seal out water but can help redirect the flow of water and protect property from debris. Sandbags must be used with caution because it is illegal to divert water to your neighboring properties. Click here for more information on sandbags and to find out where to pick-up available sandbags.

Talk to longtime residents in your neighborhood about the history of flooding or landslides where you live. Find your property on the Federal Emergency Management flood risk website. If you think your property may experience flooding, prepare for storm season.

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Sign up for AlertSeattle and follow SPU on social media for updates during inclement weather (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

What To Do DURING Heavy Rains

When heavy rains hit, be ready and know where to find your resources if you should need them.

If you see flooding or sewer backups, call SPU’s Operations Response Center at (206) 386-1800. When you call, provide your name, address, contact information, the address of issue, and general information about the issue.

During heavy storms, you may not be contacted directly by or see the crew that is working on the problem. Crews move quickly to resolve issues.

During flooding, remember to stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires, stay out of your basement, disconnect electrical wires, and avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Stay tuned to local stations and follow the instructions of local authorities.

Heavy rains can cause major damage so taking the time to be prepared can make all the difference. By following these tips and utilizing available resources, you can protect yourself, your property, and others during wet weather.

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