As Hurricane Ian makes its way toward the Carolinas, meteorologists say Charlotte residents should brace for strong winds, heavy rain, and flash floods.
Though Ian is expected to weaken into a tropical depression, it could bring up to six inches of rain to the Charlotte area Friday afternoon.
This means some areas could be at high risk of flooding, Andrew Kimball of the National Weather Service office in Greer, South Carolina, told The Charlotte Observer.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, an inch of flooding can cause up to $25,000 in property damage.
Here’s how to check whether your home is prone to flooding and how to protect it from water damage.
Check whether you live in a floodplain
The best way to determine whether your property is a flood risk is by checking if you live in a floodplain. Mecklenburg County residents can enter their address in the 3D Interactive Floodzone Map on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services website. You can also enter addresses in FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center.
How to protect your Charlotte home from water damage
Here are some steps you can take to make your home more flood resistant:
Keep your gutters and drains free of debris
Install a water alarm
Replace carpeting with tiles
Stockpile emergency protective materials such as plywood, plastic sheeting and sandbags
Elevate your heating system, water heater and electric panel
Elevate or move your furniture
Waterproof your basement
Invest in a sewer backflow valve to prevent sewage backup
Purchase flood insurance
One of the best ways homeowners can prepare for floods is by purchasing flood insurance, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services Senior Communications Specialist John Wendel told the Observer.
“Flood insurance is not typically covered by your homeowner’s insurance, so you need to add that if you live in a floodplain,” Wendel said. “In fact, many mortgage lenders may require you to have flood insurance if you live on a floodplain.”
However, flood insurance plans usually have a waiting period of around 30 days, Wendel said, meaning damage from Hurricane Ian would not be covered if they were purchased recently.
If you need help finding a provider, visit floodsmart.gov.