We are already one month into Hurricane Season. As I write this, the second storm of the season and first storm in the Gulf, Hurricane Barry has swept through Louisiana bringing tropical rains that tested levy systems.
The busiest part of hurricane season occurs from August through October.
We naturally focus on potential wind damage from a hurricane, because we see dramatic videos shot during past storms. As the winds increase and the category rises, so rises the need to take care against the risk of storm surge as it approaches the coast. This is the killer. Higher winds above 90 mph start to cause worrisome damage and winds over 120 mph are dangerous.
Inland flooding occurs from rain, any time more rain than usual falls. Sometimes this happens when continual rain comes over many hours, and sometime heavy rainfall can bring several inches in a few hours. Once the ground is soaked it cannot absorb any more, so most of the rainfall shed fills drainage systems, low lying areas, and streets. As time permits the water is carried away, then it becomes a balancing act of drainage verses additional rains. That’s when damage from flooding occurs, even in areas not determined to be special hazard flood zones by FEMA.
Where are the flood zones located?
It can be said that the whole county is in a flood zone. There are over a dozen flood zone classifications. Those rankings are based on the estimated frequency that a storm will cause flooding in the area.
A common misunderstanding is if you live in the higher risk 100-year flood zone, you could receive flooding once every hundred years. This cannot be farther from the truth.
Stated another way, the home is in a 1% per year flood zone. This sounds low, but it is an accumulative risk, meaning that in 20 years you have a 20% probability that flooding will affect this area. However, it is just as possible that two flooding events can occur in one decade or even in one year!
Another fallacy arises in the idea that if a home is outside the line on the map for a higher risk flood zone, then that home is not subject to flood risk. Rainfall does not respect a map. Homes that are in low risk zones can flood, especially when they are not that much higher than the base flood elevation.
At least 20% of flood claims are made from so-called low risk zones. Flooding readily occurs in neighborhoods with large amounts of rain, or simply when debris clogs street drainage inlets preventing them from effectively working. Flooding even occurs in the flat countryside after the ditches have filled and water backs up into the yard.
The people in areas that haven’t been hit by a major storm become complacent. Both the people who have lived in an area for a long time, as well as those who recently moved in are sadly surprised to see flooding occur.
If just an inch of water inundates your home the cost to repair and restore it could be $25,000. See the damage estimator provided by FEMA. Would you rather bear that risk on your own, or transfer it to an insurer through a reasonable annual policy. We are here to answer your flood insurance questions.
Remember that flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period before going into effect, so don’t wait to act if you want to obtain a policy.
Contact us today to ensure you’re protected when disaster strikes.