Floods Can Happen Anywhere And Everywhere - Are You Prepared?

Previous ArticleNext Article

Floods Can Happen Anywhere and Everywhere - Are You Prepared?

Floods can happen anywhere and at any time.

Coastal areas are at greater risk during hurricane season, while the Midwest is at a higher risk in spring and summer with heavier rain fall. The late summer is problematic for deserts in the Southwest when the monsoon rains start, and even the mountainous regions of the US, having experienced severe wildfires, are now at a higher risk for flooding due to the burn scars plaguing the western state landscapes. Flood risk exists everywhere.

It’s not just natural settings floods are likely to happen though.

Overdevelopment and urbanization in cities and suburban communities can experience flooding. The moral of the story is that all areas are at risk for flooding; regardless of where you are or the time of year.

The American Red Cross reports around 90% of damage caused by natural disasters is due to flooding and the debris it carries, and floods “kill more people each year than tornadoes, hurricanes, or lightning,” reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In recent years, the most fatalities in the US from flash flooding are from vehicles driving into flooded roadways.

The dangers exist, and so does the damage to our homes, our property, and our lives as well. As weather becomes even more unpredictable, it is even more important to be prepared both with a plan and be protected by your insurance coverage should the unfortunate happen and you experience flooding. Only one inch of water will cause over $25,000 in damages to property, and when a 6-inch deep creek can swell to a 10-foot deep raging river in less than an hour during a lingering thunderstorm, it demonstrates the importance of adding flood coverage to your homeowner or renters insurance policy.

Your and Others Personal Safety

In terms of your safety, be aware that only 6 inches of fast-moving water can knock you over and only 12 inches can carry your vehicle away. Don’t ever attempt to drive into a flooded area and don’t try to swim in flooded areas. Get yourself and others to higher ground and wait for help.

Flood Watch vs. Flood Warning

The difference between flood watch and flood warning is when flooding or a flash flooding is possible in an area, whereas the warning is released when the flooding or flash flooding is occurring or soon will in your area.

Understand Your Flood Risk

  • Learn the different types of flooding that can impact your community and home
  • Types of flooding like river flooding, flash floods, storm surges, debris flows, dry wash, dam breaks,and levee failures among others
  • Know your home and community’s flood risk. Look up your address on the FEMA Flood Map Service

Make Your Flood Safety Plan

  • Flash floods can be sudden and violent. You will have little to no warning. Designate a place on higher ground you and your family can get to quickly and get there before flooding begins
  • If you’re in an area prone to river flooding, have an evacuation plan in place and leave if officials advise you to evacuate
  • If your home is in an area prone to storm surge, be prepared to evacuate when advised as water levels can rise quickly and in minutes
  • Have a plan to move inland if you live in a coastal area and listen to the authorities when they tell you to evacuate

Prevent Injuries and Protect Your Health

The American Red Cross details important things to keep in mind during and after a flood.

  • If evacuated, wait for officials to tell you it’s safe to return home
  • Avoid fallen power lines, poles, and wires as you could be electrocuted
  • Watch out for falling trees and other debris
  • Use flashlights and battery-powered equipment rather than candles
  • Wear protective clothing during cleanup like boots, long pants, gloves, eyewear, and N95 respirators
  • Avoid touching electrical equipment if wet or if you are standing in water
  • Drink bottled water as flooding can contaminate drinking water
  • Throw out food that may have spoiled. When in doubt, throw it out
  • Stay away from floodwaters as they may contain sewage, sharp items, and chemicals
  • Assume you have mold if you cannot return to your flooded home within 24 to 48 hours following a flood incident
  • Be mindful of the dangers of carbon monoxide, gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal and the poisoning they cause. Never use devices fueled by these chemicals inside a home, basement, garage, tent, or camper; even if you are close to a window.

Low risk does not mean no risk

Severe thunderstorms or short bouts of intense rainfall will cause flooding. Barren mountains from wildfires will see flooding. Rising river banks from winter snow runoff can cause flooding. In fact, there is no specific flood season, although floods are more likely to occur during the spring through the fall.

Download the American Red Cross’s Flood Safety Checklist and be prepared.

Need to add Flood Coverage to your Policy?

Interested in speaking to someone about adding flood to your homeowners or renters insurance policy? We’re here to help! Simply call 833-487-2683 or contact us. We are always available to assist with all of your insurance needs.

We've got you Covered.