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Many people are looking forward to this weekend's January thaw -- despite elevated flood concerns. Here's how you can mitigate the risk.

January thaw: Protect your home

Digital writers

Friday, January 10, 2014, 2:13 PM -

Many people are looking forward to this weekend's January thaw -- despite the elevated flood risk.

This weekend, the potential for localized flooding will be high in some communities, especially those that have snow and ice coating drainage systems, making it difficult for water to find its way into the sewer. 

Homes are also at risk of incurring damage. According to TD Insurance, an ice dam is a wall of ice that commonly forms at the edge of a roof during the winter. Warmer temperatures can cause this to melt and then re-freeze, contributing to build-up. This can eventually block water from draining, leading to costly damages.

"BC, Atlantic Canada and Ontario could see significant snow melt this weekend, and that could result in localized flooding," says Brian Dillon, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Authorities are warnings residents to avoid fast-moving water and keep a safe distance from rivers and streams. Should you encounter a flooded roadway, do not attempt to drive through it. The water may be deeper than you think.

Here are tips on how you can protect your home.

  • First, check with your insurer about flood coverage. Not all plans offer this, and knowing if you're covered ahead of time is a good way to avoid unwanted surprises. It may also be a good time to make sure all your policies are up-to-date and accessible.
  • Keep an eye on the forecast, and monitor your local water conservation authority. This is the agency that will issue flood outlook statements for your community.
  • Clean out gutters so that melting snow can flow freely.
  • Keep your attic ventilated. A cold attic results in less melting and re-freezing.
  • If it is safe to do so, make sure your shingles are secure to avoid damage from melting ice.
  • Seal small cracks in your home's exterior. This will prevent water from seeping into cracks which can freeze and expand, creating even larger cracks.

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