As if this year has not brought enough challenges, residents of Hobe Sound are now facing potential home moves they were not planning to make. After days of heavy rainfall  across Treasure Cove, Hobe Sound endured 11-12 inches of rain, leaving over a dozen of homes nearly irreparable.  With little to nowhere else to turn, Martin County commissioners are now considering the option of buying these properties from the owners.

Why is Flooding an Issue for the Hobe Sound Area?

This specific area is lower than others, so the opportunity for water to recede elsewhere is not great. There is no real outfall for the rain water, and creating one in the neighborhood is nearly an impossibility. Instead of exiting through an outfall, the water tends to sit and gather until it reaches dangerous heights that cause damage to homes. Flooding is not a new problem for this area, and the Public Works Department actually put in a request with the Federal Emergency Management Agency last year for over $2 million to create a pumping system to alleviate the trouble for Hobe Heights. Unfortunately, they are still waiting for a response a year later.

Residents suffering from the early June rain are now taking inventory of their homes and realizing not much can be saved. With anywhere between 4-12 inches of rainwater damage, several people have finally given up the hope that even their drywall can be saved. Aside from objects that can be removed from the home, it’s the structural items of the house that have homeowners very concerned.

What are the Lingering Dangers of Flood Water?

Flood water poses several threats long after the rain actually stops falling. Residents in Hobe Heights experienced waist-deep waters, evacuations, and the closing of several main streets and intersections. For those who are still in their homes or are now returning to their flooded homes, there are certain precautions that should be taken. For one, the flood water itself is more than likely contaminated. The water could contain fecal matter and other germs that have been sitting stagnant for days. Second, there could be misplaced wildlife, like snakes or alligators, roaming the area. Third, the structure of your home could now be compromised from the water damage.

Steps to Navigating Flood Water in Your Neighborhood

  • Do not eat or drink anything that you suspect was made with flood water.
  • Use boiled water or bottled water to bathe yourself and clean items. If you have bottled water on hand, use that, but boiling the water you have at home is an understandable choice that is more affordable.
  • Do not allow kids to play in the water. Keep a close eye on children and be weary of the toys that were left outside.
  • Wash any toys that come into contact with the water. Being proactive and cleaning everything that was outside might take up some of your time, but you will never regret being extra careful.
  • Be especially careful not to touch flood water if you have an open cut or wound. Even if the wound is now bandaged, steer clear of the flood water to avoid illness. If you show any signs of illness, be sure to contact your primary care physician immediately.
  • Conserve your water and do not pump septic tanks. Some people will be tempted to do this, but it is not immediately necessary and could cause you more problems later.
  • Wear protective gear like gloves and boots if you have to touch the water. Be sure to cover children, as well.
  • Clean items with hot water and a bleach solution (1/4c. Bleach per gallon of water).
  • Throw away items that cannot be cleaned or sterilized, like mattresses, drywall, and rugs. The longer you keep them inside the home, the more of a danger they pose to the integrity of the house.

Your Next Steps if You Have Experienced Home Flooding

If you or a loved one have experienced flood damage at home, now is the time to start contacting your home insurance to see what kind of coverage you have. Consider running your policy by a trusted lawyer to make sure you understand every bit of your coverage. Immediately document all of your damage and file a claim as soon as possible. If what your insurance company offers does not meet the agreement in your insurance policy, contact us at Keller, Melchiorre, and Walsh today to set up a consultation to discuss your needs. For some dire situations, like that of Hobe Sound, waiting for an insurance payout might not even be the best option to consider. Let a legal professional help guide you in this decision today so that you can be on a better path tomorrow for you and your family