The coming of spring brings many simple pleasures: warming temperatures, the return of wildlife, longer days, and more opportunity to get outdoors. Unfortunately, spring often brings an increased risk of flooding in areas around the country. The rainy months of March and April, combined with melting snow packs, can cause water levels to rise in rivers and streams in many areas.
The cities of Moorhead, Minnesota and Fargo, North Dakota have historically been hit hard by flooding of the Red River, especially with the activity of the last two years. With the National Weather Service calling for another busy flood season along the Red River, we’ve been getting the word out, along with our local and state partners, to make sure residents are taking steps to be prepared for spring flooding.
Moorhead, MN, April 4, 2009 -- The Red River drowns the roadway and completely covers over a bridge just north of Moorhead, MN. According to local officials, the 2009 spring flood of the river was the highest ever recorded.
See the recent stories in KSTP (Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN) and the Associated Press, highlighting the National Weather Service forecasts and preparedness messages from local officials.
While flooding along the Red River has been in the headlines recently, flooding can happen in every U.S. state and territory. In particular, the risk of flooding is higher if you are in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam or where the surrounding geography has been changed by development.
As warmer weather approaches, there are simple steps you can take to prepare for seasonal winter flooding:
- Make a plan – Your family may not be together when a flood hits, so it's important to know how you will contact one another, how you will meet up in a safe place and what you will do in case of an emergency. Not sure where to start? Ready.gov has a great checklist for making your family emergency plan.
- Get a kit – An emergency kit can be your life line after an emergency. It should sustain yourself and your family for up to three days. For flood prone areas, keeping your important documents in a sealed, airtight container will keep them safe from water damage. See other tips on getting your emergency kit in tip-top shape.
- Know your risk – One of the most important steps of being prepared is to find out if your home is at risk for flooding. After you know you risk, check out this tool to estimate the financial impact a flood could have your home.
- Protect your property – A final step to make sure you’re prepared for flooding is to purchase flood insurance. Unfortunately, most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and consider flood insurance coverage.
** Flood policies typically take 30 days to become effective, so make sure to purchase flood insurance as a way to prepare before potential flooding. **
What steps have you or your community taken to reduce the impact of flooding? Leave a comment below and share your success stories.