Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Flooding: It Can Happen to You

Posted by: Madeleine Brooks

By definition a flood is " a great flowing or overflowing of water". A flood can be a condition in which two or more properties/two or more acres of normally dried land is overflowed with water and/or mudflow. What causes a flood to occur? There are several different items that can cause a flood to happen. Here are the most common causes of flooding:

  1. Heavy Rain
  2. Spring Thaw
  3. Tropical Storms and Hurricanes
  4. Levees and Dams
  5. New Development of Land
  6. Flash Floods
Flooding can occur just about anywhere. There are flood maps called "Flood Insurance Rate Maps" also known as FIRMs that layout different flood levels. FIRMs break it down into three categories of flood levels. The first is High Risk Areas that have a 1% chance of flooding annually and that estimates to around a 26% chance of flooding over a thirty year mortgage. People in High Risk Areas are required to buy flood insurance. On a FIRM, these areas are marked with the letters A or V. The second flood level is called Moderate to Low Risk Areas also known as Non-Special Flood Hazard Area. There is a lower percentage of flooding to occur annually but its not removed from possibility. Areas that are moderate to low risk are not required to purchase flood insurance but it is always recommended in case that rare occurence does happen. On a FIRM, these areas are marked with letters B, C or X. The last flood level is called undetermined risk areas where there hasn't been an analysis of flood risk. Flood insurance rates reflect the uncertainty of a flood happening and these areas are marked with the letter D on the FIRM.

So, how do you know if where you are living is in any of those three flood levels? The government agency called the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created "to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the Nation from all hazards, including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters, by leading and supporting the Nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation." FEMA gives the proper precautions to take so one can plan ahead in case of a flood. Click this link to read up on the information FEMA gives. FEMA drew up FIRMs so that when people are looking to live places they know what the flood levels are in that community. To find a flood map you must look up your state, the county you live in and the district/community you reside in. Once you know all three of those items you can click to upload a flood map so see the risk you are at. If you want to look up the area you live in and what the flood risk you are at click here.

Hopefully this will give you more insight on what you can expect if you are in a flood-prone area and what actions you must take to survive a flood.



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