Last-minute tips protect homes in downpours

Heavy runoff from a rainstorm empties from a downspout and pools around a house foundationHeavy rain is drenching much of the Northwest today, but it's not too late to take simple steps to prevent flooding and seepage in and around your home.

Yes, you'll get wet doing so. So next time, consider doing these chores before the storm arrives.

Unclog your gutters. If leaves and debris block your downspouts, water can pool on your roof and seep inside the home.

Direct downspouts away from your foundation. Many downspouts are rigid and discharge water directly into drains. But if yours empties water onto the ground, make sure it's pointed away from your foundation, where water can seep inside basements or crawlspaces. If necessary, extend your downspout farther away from the home.

If you have a below-grade basement with an outside entrance, clear the stairwell drain. They're usually set in concrete at the bottom of stairs.

Make sure your sump pump works if you have one. They're often in crawlspaces or overlooked areas of the home. Likewise, if you have a flood-prone crawlspace with a water sensor, check its battery.

Clear the storm-sewer grate on your street. Often times autumn leaves accumulate and block inlets, flooding roadways, while residents wait for a city streetsweeper to tidy up. Be a good neighbor. If the inlet needs unclogging, do it yourself.

And at the risk of stating the obvious, if you parked outside … did you roll your car windows up?

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