WINTER WEATHER PATTERNS CAN INCREASE RISK OF FLOODING
Prepare Now and Protect Your Family, Your Home and Your Finances
Washington, D.C., December 27 /PRNewswire/ — The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® encourages families in the Northwest to understand their unique winter flood risk and prepare now to protect property and possessions from flood damage.
Floods are a year-round hazard, and the risks do not end when cold weather begins. Heavy seasonal rains and snowmelt often lead to flooding during the winter months. Even areas that receive less snow and rain this winter season might experience drought-like conditions that ultimately can lead to flash flooding when it does rain.
“Winter is the rainy season for the West Coast, and where it can rain it can flood,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, FLASH President and CEO. “Because homeowners insurance doesn’t typically cover flood damage, families need to consider purchasing flood insurance now as a standard flood insurance policy typically takes 30 days to go into effect. They should also start now to take measures to protect their homes from costly flood damage.“
Winter rainy season in the Pacific Northwest consistently delivers intense winter storms, which account for the majority of annual precipitation to the region. Many areas in the Northwest also are at an increased flood risk due to a near-record wildfire season in 2012.
After a wildfire, the charred ground where vegetation has burned away cannot easily absorb rainwater, increasing the risk of flooding and mudflows for a number of years. For only the third time on record, the burned areas in the region totaled more than 9 million acres.
Additionally, heavy snowfall, ice jams, rapid snowmelt and intense rainstorms caused by fluctuating temperatures all can increase the likelihood and the severity of localized flooding, particularly in the Midwest and Northwest.
The good news is that there are simple steps families can take to address these risks. First, they should visit www.flash.org to find ways to make their homes more resistant to flood damage. Families also should have an emergency supply kit with items such as non-perishable food, water, and a flashlight with batteries, and a family emergency plan that considers their insurance coverage, especially flood insurance. Everyone should visit FloodSmart.gov to learn about flood risk and flood insurance.
Many people mistakenly believe that their homeowners insurance covers flood damage. Only flood insurance financially protects properties from flooding, the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster. It typically takes 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to go into effect, so residents should not wait for the threat of flooding before purchasing coverage. It only takes a few inches of water in a home or business to cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage. The time to get protected is now.
Between 2007 and 2011, the average flood claim was more than $33,000. That’s more than many survivors can afford to pay out of pocket for damages due to flooding. While no one wants to experience a flood, with federally backed flood insurance, residents have an important financial safety net to help cover costs to repair or rebuild if a flood should strike.
Flood insurance is available through approximately 85 insurance companies in roughly 21,000 participating communities nationwide. Homeowners, renters, and business owners can purchase flood insurance.
Last year, more than 20 percent of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program were for buildings located outside mapped high-risk areas. In these areas, lower-cost Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs) start as low as $129 a year.
Learn more about flood risk and options for insurance coverage by visiting FloodSmart.gov or by calling 1-800-427-2419.
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