Experts educate community on spring flood preparedness

Fargo hosted first of three flood awareness meetings to take place across the Red River Valley

FARGO, N.D. — According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, North Dakota and Minnesota had their wettest year on record in 2019.

Heavy rain and quick snowmelt can increase chances of flooding.

But it’s not all bad news.

“The good news that I heard was the frost depth is not as deep as other bad flooding years, but some of the concerns are the amount of moisture and the water snow equivalent that is out there,” says State Coordinator of the National Flood Insurance Program Dionne Haynes.

Experts say there’s still plenty of winter left, so the best thing to do is understand the risks and be prepared.

“Flooding can happen any time of year. Whether it’s snow melt or rain event, so we encourage people to buy flood insurance to be protected year-round. It does take 30 days to go into effect, so we want to be proactive,” says Haynes.

Those at FEMA say everyone is at risk of flooding, but the level of risk can differ from low, medium or high.

Their number one recommendation is to be insured, but there are secondary things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your finances.

“Getting that emergency kit in place, you know, documenting their important documents, keeping them in a safe place, creating a plan so if the flood does come, what do they do with their pets or family members who may need assistance or elevating their possessions from the basement,” adds Haynes.

Other tips include installing a battery backup for your sump pump, clearing debris from gutters and downspouts and taking photos to conduct a household inventory.

One insurance specialist says just one inch of water can cause 25,000 dollars worth of damage.

“The rivers are already high, you know, we’re just going to have a lot of precipitation this that’s going to increase that and the risk for flooding is higher,” says FEMA Regional Senior Insurance Specialist Diana Herrera.

It’s also important to remember that most standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage.

An average flood policy costs around $600 a year.

State officials say the time to contact an insurance agent is now.

The National Flood Insurance Program is available in more than 300 North Dakota communities.

Find more information on flood insurance resources and preparedness by clicking these links:

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News