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High Risk of Spring Flooding, Residents Advised to Consider Flood Insurance

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: March 10, 2019 10:31 PM

With record breaking snowfall this year, the National Weather Service says the likelihood of spring flooding is high. Looking into flood insurance is important to do now to protect you and your homes before it's too late.

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"Across northern Wisconsin we have some areas where we have an excessive eight inches of water equivalent in snow pack and some parts of northeastern Minnesota, especially in higher terrain in the North Shore that have an excessive eight to 10 inches of water content,” Dan Miller, a Science and Operations Officer for the National Weather Service in Duluth, said.

Depending on how fast the snow melts, the excess in water can lead to flooding and cause thousands of dollars in damage to homes.

"With the wet ground conditions, the deep frost, the snow that we have, and the water equivalence to it, I think it’s prudent that people prepare for spring flooding,” Miller said.

"We're going to have an increase in water and sewer backup claims, sump pumps failing to get rid of water as its coming through, or seepage and water leakage coming from floods," Zach Walters, an insurance agent for Great Lakes Insurance Agency, said.

That's why before the snow melts, local insurance programs and agencies are encouraging folks to look into flood insurance sooner than later.

"The first step is really to reach out to your insurance agent and talk to them about coverage and the second step is making sure the coverage they have is adequate for your risk,” Julia McCarthy, a senior program specialist for the National Flood Insurance Program(NFIP), said.

A standard homeowner's insurance usually doesn't offer flood coverage. Reaching out to the NFIP for insurance options is recommended.

"They can get flood insurance in any community that participates in NFIP. Most communities in Wisconsin and Minnesota do participate in that program,’ McCarthy said.

It's also important to keep in mind that there's a 30 day waiting period on flood insurance policies, so acting now is key.

McCarthy said residents can evaluate the flood risk in their region online.

“Consider a preferred risk policy. A policy with some lower premiums based on the risk level,” McCarthy said.

"Insurance in general is the thing you want to make sure you have in place to make sure you're prepared for worse circumstances,” Walters said.

There's also some tips to help slightly decrease chances of flooding in the home. Public works departments are asking residents to help clear snow and ice from storm drains and grates.

It’s also recommended to residents to remove snow from roofs, make sure vents are not covered by snow, check that the sump pump is working properly, and also clearing snow piles away from the home to prevent water seepage through the foundation.

Helpful resources on flood insurance:

https://www.floodsmart.gov/

https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program

https://www.ready.gov/floods

You can also call the National Flood Insurance Program's at 1-888-379-9531 for more information about purchasing flood insurance.

Credits

Alejandra Palacios

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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