LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Just because you live far from the river, doesn't mean your home is safe from flooding.

Many area residents are dealing with water rising from the ground beneath their homes that they didn't see coming, like 90-year-old Betty Curtis.

"I came down the steps, I heard it!" Curtis said. "It was making a heck of a noise, and I thought, 'What is that?'"

The sound she heard was a solid stream of water pouring from a seam against a back wall in her basement into a floor drain in her washroom just in front of the dryer. She lives off Don Dee Drive, no where near a river, a lake or a stream.

"Anyone who has a basement with a sump pump in it -- they've got to check that sump pump and ensure that it's running," explained Keith O'Gara, of B-Dry Systems Waterproofing, adding that if the sump pump fails, "it can go to no water in a basement, to three feet of water in a basement, in an hour-or-so."

O'Gara says he has more calls like Curtis' than he can count and warns that distance from the river doesn't necessarily mean your home is safe from flooding.

"When you think of flooding, you think of rivers overflowing, and people setting out sand bags around," he said. "Actually, most of the damage in rains like these occurs in basements, simply because the water level is rising. All that water has to go somewhere, and it's permeating into the ground, and it's rising up. It's putting pressure on the floor, and on the walls, and that water is going to find its' way in."

O'Gara offers four tips to stay dry:

  • Make sure your sump pump is working and keep a backup up in your home as water case rise several feet in just an hour when it fails
  • Make sure your down spouts outside your home are directed away from the foundation of the home.
  • Clear all gutters and basement window wells.
  • Take pictures inside your undamaged home, showing your belongings in their true condition. It helps if you have an insurance claim.

"We're getting a lot of calls where the window wells are filling up, and water is coming in through the window," said O'Gara. "In that case, a small utility pump put in the window well with a small hose running off can keep it from coming in the basement."

This isn't the first time Curtis has had to deal with a flooded basement. She still remembers the last time her house took on water.

"Yes, on our 50th wedding anniversary," she said.

It was March 1997, during a flood that caused $200 million in damage in the Louisville area, and flooded 50,000 homes. Forecasters expect Ohio River levels to fall just short of that event this time.

With age comes wisdom. With all the headaches the water can cause, Curtis says that this, too, shall pass.

"God will take care of me," she said.

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