California living comes with many benefits. The weather is amazing, the universities are great, the job opportunities are endless, and the pristine beaches and attractions are plenty. Like any other state, however, the Golden State isn’t perfect. Californians are at risk of three major types of disasters: earthquakes, fires and floods. Earthquakes are the least common among them, as it represents about 7 percent of state emergency declarations, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).
Fire and Flooding are more common. Of the 309 State of Emergency declarations made by the governor over a 67-year period, over 30 percent were related to fires. That number only increased, as the recent wildfires left cities like San Francisco with red skies, scorched properties, and poor air quality.
The most prevalent natural disaster in the state is flooding, which made up about 40 percent of declarations. This mostly happens in coastal areas, but according to the LAO, every part of the state has experienced some sort of flooding event. It’s located next to the coast, after all. About one in five Californians live in areas that have a one in 500 probability of flooding at any time of the year. And this issue is bound to get worse, according to recent data.
The Risk of State-wide Flooding
Over the past hundred years, the sea level has risen nearly eight inches on the California coast, according to a study by the Pacific Institute. It also found that the coast is projected to rise from 1.0 to 1.4 meters, as climate change continues. This rise may seem small, but the researchers found that it can put 480,000 people in the state at risk of a flood event spanning a century. This can also put hundreds of businesses and infrastructures at risk of being flooded.
It’s not just the sea creeping up to the coast. Groundwater is also rising, according to research from the University of Californa – Berkeley. Groundwater is found under the surface, absorbed from the sea through cracks and spaces in the soil. This can affect cities across the state, not just the Bay Area. Overland flooding from the sea can be held back by walls and berms. Groundwater flooding, however, can’t be stopped.
How to Make Your Home Flood-resistant
With possible flooding across the state being imminent, you need to get your home ready for the worst.
Here are efficient ways to make your house resistant to floods.
Get Flood Insurance
While flood insurance isn’t required by the state of California, the risk of flooding in the coming decades, or even years, should convince you to get one. You don’t want to rely on government help if your home gets flooded. Speak with your homeowners’ insurance provider to add flooding to your current plan. Ensure that you have enough insurance to cover the value of the contents of your whole house.
Raise Your Electrical Equipment
A variety of electrical utilities are below ground level, like your electrical switches, boilers, utilities and other HVAC components. When these devices get submerged in water, they could corrode and short out, bringing your whole electrical system along with them. Contact your local electrical contractor to elevate these to another floor in your home.
Update Your Sealants
If it’s been decades since you got your home, it may have a few cracks that flood water can creep into. Get a concrete contractor to help you apply dry coatings and sealants to your walls and foundation. Update the weatherstripping on your door jambs and windows as well. While these rubber sealants are durable, they’re bound to get thinner and less effective from years of wear and tear.
Get Foundation Vents Installed
If your home is at high risk of flooding, you may want to consider getting foundation vents. These small, grated holes in the foundation that have multiple roles. First, they allow air to circulate through the floor to prevent moisture buildup. During floods, these vents allow water to flow through your home, instead of pooling up around it. You could also get a slump pump, a mechanical device that pumps floodwater out of basements, just in case the flooding gets too much to handle.;
Raising your whole home on stilts is also a possibility if you really want to prepare for the worst-case scenario. This process is expensive and tedious to do for already established houses. However, it may be worth the price, as it guarantees that your whole house will be protected from floods.
Flooding is one of the most common natural disasters in the sunny state of California. And recent research has found that it’s bound to get worse in the coming years. And although it may take decades before flooding becomes a significant problem, flood-proofing and flood insurance are worthy investments if you want to keep your family safe and secure in the future.