How to keep your basement from flooding during Hurricane Florence

Just when you thought the region had already seen enough biblical flooding for one summer, a hurricane is scheduled to make landfall later this week.

For many homeowners and renters, the recurring downpours have meant a season of flooded basements.


“It’s been insane,” said Kim Wagner, office manager at Worldwide Basement Waterproofing. The Maryland company offers waterproofing and foundation repairs in the region — but it’s booked through October already. With this summer’s historic rainfall, Wagner says, “This has been one of the busiest seasons in a really, really long time.”

And while current models don’t predict Hurricane Florence will hit Maryland directly, officials warn that the region is still likely to see buckets of rain this week.


Wagner offers these suggestions to people hoping to keep their cellars dry:

» Make sure drains are cleared. If you think a drain is clogged, “Get that sucker snaked out now,” said Wagner, preferably by a professional plumber. She also recommends a tool called the Puddle Sucker.

» If you have a sump pump, make sure it’s working. Sump pumps can become unhooked, similar to the workings of a toilet, Wagner says. Test out the outlets with a hair dryer to make sure they’re active.

» Seal windows and door frames.

» Sand bags can be piled anywhere a leak is feared — in front of a basement door, or even around the entire perimeter of your house, Wagner says.

Here’s where area residents can find sand bags:

» Annapolis city residents and business owners can fill up to 10 sandbags at the Truxton Park Pool on Wednesday. Hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Proof of residency is required.

» Joppa and Edgewood residents can fill up sand bags at Copenhaver Park this week on a first-come, first-served basis. Shovels and bags are not provided.


For residents in the hurricane’s path, the Red Cross advises the following safety measures:

» Build an emergency kit with supplies for about three days, including a gallon of water per person per day, nonperishable food, batteries and copies of important documents.

» Store outside lawn furniture and trash cans to prevent them from being blown away and possibly hurting someone.

» Clean out gutters and protect windows with shutters or even plywood.

» Fill up your car’s gas tank in case an evacuation order is issued. Turn on the news or radio every 30 minutes to check for storm updates and emergency announcements.

» Remember that phone lines often get overloaded in emergency situations. Be prepared to text instead of make phone calls.