Wet Weather Preparation Tips

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 below.

Clear Blocked Drains

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. Learn more about leaf raking and free, extra yard waste pick-up in November.

In fall, keep leaves and debris out of drains: You can prevent flooding by adopting your local storm drains to help keep in working conditions.

  • Rake fallen leaves and sticks in your yard BEFORE the reach the storm drain.
  • Rake or sweep leaves and debris from the tops of storm drains.
  • Submit a clogged drain report or call our problem hotline at (206) 386-1800 if you can't clear a storm drain.

In winter, keep snow and ice from blocking drains: After snowfall, melting snow and rain can block storm drain inlets and cause localized flooding.

  • Remove snow and ice from your local storm drain with a snow shovel, garden shovel, rake or other strong tool. to prevent flooding or ponding in your neighborhood.
  • Clear a channel for runoff if an inlet or street drain appears to be blocked by snow or debris.
  • Submit a clogged drain report or call our problem hotline at (206) 386-1800 if you can't clear a storm drain.

 

Maintain Your Drainage System

Maintaining your property's drainage system is your responsibility.

  • Inspect regularly. This is especially important on commercial properties that have catch basins or other drainage systems.
  • Ask a professional to "video inspect" your underground drainage system.
  • Clear drains in and near your property. If you have sloped driveway, clear the drain at the bottom of the slope.
  • If you live at the base of a hill or on a bluff, check that drainage and retaining walls are properly functioning.
  • Water causes unstable slopes, mudslides and erosion. Check your property for signs of earth movement, such as leaning trees, or cracks in the soil or sidewalks. If you have a problem, contact a soils engineer (search the Web for "Engineers Geotechnical Soils") to evaluate the situation.

Gutters and downspouts:

  • Inspect regularly for leaks or damage.
  • Clean at least twice a year.
  • Direct downspout flows at least 5 feet away from your foundation, without sending flows to adjacent properties.
  • Direct downspout flows away from your foundation without discharging flows to adjacent properties.
  • Never discharge water over the edge of a steep hill.
  • Coordinate with the Seattle Department of Planning and Development for approved points to discharge water.

Grading, sandbags, and plantings:

  • Create “flow paths” on your property where water can flow during a storm without damaging your neighbors’ properties or valuable gardens.
  • Consider using sandbags to redirect flows.
  • Plantings can reduce the chance of a mudslide or flooding. However, avoid planting over side sewers that could create problems from plant roots in the future. Read advice on choosing the right plants.

 

Assess Your Property's Flood Risk

Talk to longtime residents in your neighbor about history of flooding or landslides of 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.

Prepare and/or retrofit your house:

      • Elevate large items: Elevate your furnace, water heater, washer/dryer, and electric panel if they are susceptible to flooding. Use masonry blocks, concrete, or pressure-treated lumber so that they are at least 12” above the projected flood level.
      • Learn about side sewers.
      • Retrofit your house: If your house might flood, you can make changes that will improve its ability to withstand water. See FEMA’s Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding. Contact the Seattle Department of Planning and Development regarding requirements for discharging water from your basement, permits, and solutions for side sewer problems.

Consider flood insurance

Everyone is eligible for flood insurance. View Flood Insurance, How It Works (National Flood insurance Program).

Check your homeowners’ insurance agreement for flood coverage. Flood insurance protects you from the financial damages caused by flooding. Learn more about obtaining flood insurance.