The last few years have been a wake-up call for many of us regarding the “new normal” of having to deal with intense changes in weather patterns.

I think the first major wake-up call was back in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy hit us so hard here in the Five Towns. Although we all dealt with hurricanes on and off over the past decades, we never had to deal with a situation quite like Hurricane Sandy, and we were not prepared for the havoc and destruction that came with this disaster.

Although there are loads of articles in just about every newspaper telling us about the scary aspects of global warming and climate change, I have yet to see a more nuanced article geared to the individual and what we as individuals can do to add some small defensive measures to our living spaces to lessen the possible damage to our homes when severe weather strikes.

For instance, we had some intense rain a few weeks ago that created flooding conditions in the streets because the rain was coming down so hard. There were many homes that were flooded as a result, mostly in their basements. Some homes flooded because they had first floors at ground level, no steps, and no means to keep the heavy rain from accumulating outside from leaking into the house.

Where most of the flooded basements were concerned, it seemed that many of those with sump pumps found them with water backing up into the basement. I actually had this situation in one of the houses I manage, and couldn’t figure out why the water was backing up into the basement while the sump pump was actually working. Then I went outside to locate the outlet where the water is supposed to feed out to the street from the sump pump. I noticed that with the heavy rain coming down, the water level alongside the gutter was so high, it was actually blocking all the outlet holes on the street from the houses with sump pumps. As a result, the water from the street was not only blocking the sump pump from exiting, but was pushing it from the street back into the houses!

I assume this type of heavy rain situation is not an isolated event, and there will be future times when we will have to deal with heavy rain. A possible alternative solution to bypass the outlet holes built into the curbs adjacent to the street gutters for sump pumps should be considered. Then, in times of heavy rains, the alternative solution can be used temporarily to avoid basement flooding when water backs up into the street.

For those homes with no steps at ground level who also suffered flooding from water seeping into their front door, some sort of protective portable barrier should be considered. This barrier can be put in place specifically for these types of heavy rains and then removed when rains stop. This could be a possible spot-on solution for preventing rain seepage or flooding through entrance doors during these intensive types of rain.

There are many other larger projects that can be implemented to mitigate the flooding in the event of heavy rain. Some people are now installing gas powered generators that automatically turn on when the electricity goes out. This is wonderful in many respects as it enables not only the lights and appliances, it also keeps the sump pumps running to prevent flooding, not to mention the heat and air conditioning, to minimize the suffering of those during an extended power outage.

In today’s world of extreme weather patterns, homeowners have to carefully consider their situation and explore ideas and solutions to prevent the larger problems caused by heavy rainstorms that may be the norm going forward.


Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real estate broker (Anessa V. Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full service residential, commercial, and management real estate and mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website at Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to Read more of Anessa Cohen’s articles at


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