Well, it's Monday yet again, and if you live in Northwest Florida as I do, you've been seeing ridiculous amounts of rain over the past week or so.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in case you haven't checked out the forecast, it doesn't look like it's letting up in the near future. We all know that catastrophic rain can cause damage to our homes, so I've put together my top 3 tips so that you can be sure to weather the storm without worry!

1.  Climb up on your roof and check it out!  Before I get started, PLEASE don't climb up on your roof DURING a storm, ok?  When you see that severe weather alert pop on on your phone or TV screen, head outside and take a peek at your roof and gutters BEFORE the storm hits.  Be sure to pay extra attention to the roof around any vent pipes or seams.  You can use a product like FlexSeal to spray around these areas, reinforcing their water resistance. Make sure that all gutters are clear of debris, connected properly to the roof, and that your downspouts are leading to an area that can take the rapid influx of water.  Quick story: my neighbors use their home as a secondary residence, so they aren't here that often, especially in bad weather.  Their gutters look great from the outside, and I've seen the neighbor out there doing regular maintenance.  BUT, I had to give him a call last week and let him know that his house was flooding.  Turns out, whoever put up the downspouts didn't think about where they were draining, and the water was basically following a channel right onto his sunken back porch.  He rushed down as soon as possible, but not soon enough to prevent about 4 inches of water from seeping into his living room through the back door.  He did come up with a pretty inventive solution to the problem, however.  He dug a big trench from the downspout to a wider area of the yard that angles away from the home itself, and buried a 6'' PVC pipe in the ground.  It only took a few hours to complete, and now the water drains safely into the ground instead of collecting in his porch!  

2.  Check the inside of the house for leaks!  Turn off your TV, radio, tell the kids to pipe down, and take a minute to listen carefully to the sound of the rain.  Oftentimes a leak will pop up long before you actually see the damage to the drywall or ceiling, so taking some time to listen and see if you can hear that tell tale water drip inside the walls can prevent damage from getting really bad.  Go up into the attic or crawlspace and make sure that you don't see any areas where your insulation looks damp or smells musty.  Yes, it'll probably be a pain to get the leak fixed if you find one, but it's a heck of a lot better than dealing with it after the sheet rock is falling to pieces and mold is starting to grow!

3.  Remove any potential hazards from the outdoor areas!  Either before rainy season starts or after the storm passes, go around your outdoor areas and identify any potential hazards.  I know we all love to have those huge old trees in the yard, but make sure you keep the branches that overhang the roof pruned back!  Also, be sure that any items like lawn furniture or kids' toys have a safe place to go before the wind kicks up.  If your home doesn't come equipped with outdoor storage, there are plenty of inexpensive, free standing shed units that will do the job nicely. 

BONUS TIP:  Take the time to dump out any standing water that may be lurking after the severe weather clears out.  Mosquitoes just LOVE to lay their eggs in your empty flower pots!

I know, living in a place with a foot of rain falling on your head in a weeks' time can make things feel a little blah, but take the time to prepare for the severe weather in advance and address any damage before it gets too bad.  Then you'll be free to curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and read that book all your friends have been talking about!