Severe Weather and Your Colorado HOA
Severe weather is not uncommon in Colorado.
People who have lived here a while are probably familiar with what Mother Nature throws at us from time to time, but newcomers might not know what to expect. With about 200 people moving to the Denver area every day, it is a good time to review the types of severe weather we get and how it affects HOAs.
The Denver area and its greater region is semi-arid. This means that it is dry. When a lot of heavy rain hits dry land, it doesn’t readily soak into the ground like it would in a moist deciduous forest. Instead, it tends to run off very rapidly towards the nearest river. Flash flooding is mostly a concern for your HOA if it is located in a canyon or near a river, some other stream, or a dry wash. Fortunately, most HOAs are located away from these areas. Private, single-family homes are more likely to be damaged from fast-flowing water and the destructive debris it carries because they do not need as large of a site as HOAs do and can fit in tight places more easily. That privacy might come with a cost! The homes damaged and destroyed during the 2013 Front Range floods were almost all located along a stream of some kind.
River Flooding and Standing Water
Flooding doesn’t always occur in ‘flash’ fashion. Rapid snowmelt can swell streams and potentially affect homes near stream banks. Sometime heavy downpours over the Plains will result in standing water. This can happen anywhere where there is poor storm water management infrastructure. Some newer HOAs built on the urban fringe are more likely to suffer damage from this water than HOAs in the central city. This is because street designs may not be as high of quality or as tested as those found closer to downtown. Necessary storm water infrastructure may not even be completed when severe weather strikes! The risk of damage with slow-rising and standing water is flooding of basements and damage to landscaping and other improvements.
People who move to Colorado from lower lands are often surprised to see how common hail is. It happens all the time. Sometimes the damage is to foliage or none at all. Sometimes, it’s big enough to destroy cars and roofs. HOAs anywhere in Colorado, but particularly on the Plains (i.e. the Denver area), are at risk of hail damaging their roofs. With good insurance and warranties, HOAs can usually walk away without too much of a financial blow. Roofing companies, such as Littleton’s Heritage Roofing, provide free affordable inspection services.
HOAs built in or near the foothills or other forested areas are at a great risk of damage from wildfires. Fires are common in this dry region, especially after periods of little or no rain. Just take a look at the Waldo Canyon fire of 2012. It was highly destructive to the Mountain Shadows Community Association where over 300 homes were lost. All it takes is a lightning strike or a lit cigarette. HOA boards can enhance the safety of their foothills properties by making sure no foliage is very near to the structures.
Any HOA located on the Plains, in a highly-developed area or otherwise, is exposed to the risk of twisters. While they do not commonly hit Denver proper, they have in the past. Be sure to carry insurance with full replacement cost if your HOA is on the far eastern end of the metro area or beyond.
Blizzards and extreme cold
Even though Denver enjoys relatively fair weather much of the time, it can get bitterly cold. This is a risk for plumbing. Let us know if you would like us to hook you up with a good plumber for preventative maintenance or repair. While blizzards are usually more of a headache than highly destructive, they have been known to collapse weak roofs. This is something that roof inspections can help you avoid.
While we do not get hurricanes in Colorado, we get out share of troublesome weather. However, no matter where you live, you are at some risk of severe weather. Overall it is pretty great living in a Colorado HOA. Got to love all that sunshine!