FEMA: Decreasing Temperatures, Increasing Flood Risks for Western Residents

November 28, 2007

Winter brings more than just cold temperatures. It also brings an increased flood risk and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is warning residents of Idaho to prepare now — well ahead of rising waters. This year, predictions for La Nina call for an even wetter-than-average 2007-2008 winter season in parts of the Northwestern United States, including California, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Montana. The time to prepare for this year’s rainy season and possible flooding is now.

“Recovering after a flood can be overwhelming. With flood insurance, you have the financial support to get back on your feet as quickly as possible,” said David Maurstad, assistant administrator of mitigation and federal insurance administrator for FEMA. “Too often, people mistakenly think flood damage is covered by a homeowners policy. Flood coverage must be purchased separately, and there is typically a 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy becomes effective.”

Many residents may face an even greater risk of flooding this year due to summer wildfires. After a wildfire, the charred ground where vegetation has burned away cannot easily absorb rainwater, increasing the risk of flooding for a number of years. Properties directly affected by fires and those located below burn areas are most at risk, including properties located outside of high-risk flood areas.

FEMA has a checklist of tips for homeowners available at www.FloodSmart.gov or by dialing 800-427-2419.

Flood insurance is available through approximately 90 insurance companies in more than 20,300 participating communities nationwide.

Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency

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