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Friday, August 12th, 2016 by Corey Mosher
First rain in a while ... Why does my basement leak if the ground is soooooo DRY.
My Basement Flooded ... Why did the ground not soak up all the water on this rain? Amanda McAllister from our Basement Network does a great job on explaining "Why Basements Flood During a Drought"
Why is My Basement Flooding During a Drought?
Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 by Amanda McAllister
It’s no secret that it’s been dry. Very dry. The summer version of Hoth dry. So when it finally started raining Saturday morning, and continued raining for more than 5 minutes, I was happy the grass would finally get a much needed drink, and that maybe the earwigs would stop trying to move into my townhouse.
I was not happy to discover water in my basement.
It seems counterintuitive - if the ground is parched, shouldn’t it soak up the water? But it’s really the opposite, and once again I’m going to use household items to explain why. This time we’ll need a kitchen sponge and one of those gross plush bathrobes that’s too slimy to actually feel soft. No offense if you like your plush bathrobe.
Flooding occurs after a drought due to surface tension. Think of a desiccated old kitchen sponge that’s all shrivelled up on your sink because you rarely actually wipe down dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. When you finally go to use it, those first few seconds are pretty grim - the water runs right off of it and you start contemplating your mortality wondering if it’s ever going to re-sponge. But after a moment it gives, and suddenly you have a sponge!
Same with the bathrobe. What once felt soft turns into a slime nightmare when you put it on after a shower - the water slides around for a few moments until it finally absorbs. Once the fabric is even a little damp it will absorb future water much faster.
Both of these are due to surface tension between the water and the material it’s meeting. Once the tension breaks and even a little absorbs, it’s much easier to continue absorbing.
So think of the ground as a giant sponge. It’s been dry for weeks, baking in the sun until the dirt looks more like bricks than anything else, and suddenly there’s water rushing over it. It’s going to take a few minutes for the dirt to actually start to absorb the rain, and in the meantime that water needs somewhere to go. It will find any little nook and cranny and crack in your foundation, and in the blink of an eye there’s water in your basement.
So if you’re like me and scratched your head wondering how you could have a flood during a drought, there you go. The good news is we have solutions for all water problems, and one call to us could mean no more surprises in your basement.