Rain! Rain! And more Rain!
It’s hard not to notice that the rain keeps coming and coming this year!
While November is historically one of the rainiest months in Grays Harbor, it’s not your imagination that we’ve been through an especially wet one. In fact, at 17.2 inches measured at Bowerman Basin in Hoquiam, this November our average rainfall was 6.3 inches above the average November rainfall of 10.9 inches. That’s significant!
As the saying goes, “Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it!” Well, we here at NeighborWorks can’t help with the weather, but we do have some good reminders about how to not let the rain adversely affect your home!
For starters, we often say this, but if you live in one of Grays Harbor’s cities and are able bodied, make it your goal to help keep the streets clear by cleaning out plugged storm drains near your home. Our city crews are great, but with all the rain and all the leaves, they can use a hand clearing the debris. Make sure to put some work gloves on and then scoop up the leaves and garbage away from the grate and into a garbage sack. This will help keep our streets safer for drivers and pedestrians alike.
Clear those gutters!
At your house, have you unplugged your gutters recently? We should be about done with trees losing their leaves and this is a great time to unplug and clear out those gutters.
If you are using an extension ladder, you should be using a ladder stand-off for safety’s sake. We loan them out here free of charge if you’d like to borrow one. Just give us a call and we’ll make arrangements! (Perhaps a ladder stand-off is a gift to consider giving your favorite DIY-er for Christmas.) You can see how they work in a ladder safety video on our Facebook page.
It’s not just the gutters that need help at our homes. Each downspout needs to have a 2- foot- long splash block or better yet, a pipe extension to convey the rainwater 8-10 feet away from your foundation or basement.
In addition, it’s important to clean out any driveway drain boxes you may have and make sure they drain properly at the edge of your property leading safely toward a street storm drain. Adding a mesh screen keeps debris out of the system.
Assess your landslide risk
If you live on or at the toe of one of the many hill areas of Grays Harbor, you need to be especially aware of what this much rain can mean to your home and nearby properties. It’s been a few years now, but indelible memories of major landslides remain fresh for many. The key for homeowners is to do what you can to get as much water directed away from your house and land, but in a storm-safe manner, through grated collection boxes, pipes, French drains, swale drainage measures and even shallow ditches. Capture, control and slow release toward the city’s storm drain system is a best practice that respects every property along the way.
With a warm, wet winter, we are also likely to see more windstorms. That can mean power outages.
Do you have what you need to stay in your home for a few days without power? Finding and installing fresh batteries and strategically placing a few lanterns or flashlights around the house may save panic later and will help you find the rest of your essentials while in the dark! While you’re at it, are the batteries in your carbon monoxide/smoke detectors fresh?
Remember to avoid using any kind of fuel-burning lighting or cooking appliance inside the house. Candles need to be in a safe vessel and located on stable surfaces to prevent fires.
Once again, look around your yard, are there items you don’t want flying around if the wind kicks up or drenched if the ground gets covered in floodwaters? Wait for a break in the weather, if you can, and tidy up any vestiges of summer or fall outside.
The same goes for tree branches that are a little too close to your house or the powerlines. It’s not worth the risk to ignore them. There are plenty of people on the Harbor who know how to safely remove tree limbs, give one of them a call!
Keep the moisture out!
How are you doing keeping the moisture out of your house? It feels nearly impossible lately to keep up with the wet raingear and wet pets. Towel dry what you can. And keep the wet gear out in the garage or mudroom if possible.
Use your fans in the bathroom, laundry room and kitchen – and keep them on for a full 10 to 15 minutes after you are done cooking, showering or doing the laundry. This will help clear the moisture out of the air. Trapped moisture is your home’s top enemy!
Having good door mats and floor mats – both inside and out – can prevent a lot of dirt from coming inside as well as soak up water that can otherwise create inside moisture issues.
It’s also a good time to start dreaming of a white Christmas – at least that’s prettier than all this rain!