Before the Deluge?

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FEMA is cautioning residents in flood areas to be prepared


Sooner or later those gigantic snow mounds are going to melt and we may be in for some serious flooding. In fact, one of the clear consequences of climate change is more extreme weather and greater flood risks from snow melts, ice jams, heavy rains and more—all of which we may be experiencing in coming weeks.

Consumer groups and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are cautioning homeowners, renters, and condo owners  in flood-prone areas (that’s all of us around here these days) to purchase flood insurance policies. Most homeowners insurance policies typically do not cover flood damage.

What could flooding cost you? An interactive widget:

This, above, shows the cost of a flood to your home, inch by inch. According to the calculator, just one inch of rain in a 1,000 sq. ft. home can cost over $10,000 in damages.  The average claim over the last 10 years nationwide amounted to more than $33,000 says FEMA.

In contrast, the cost of annual insurance coverage with a typical policy starts at about $129/year and most cost less than $570 annually.  But it takes 30 days for this type of coverage to kick in, so check out the risks and learn more.

According to Westchester County legislator Judith Myers, a Mamaroneck Town resident and member of the county’s Flood Action Task Force, homeowners should speak with an insurance professional about whether their home should be insured by FEMA.

Myers added, “There are also very good tips at the Westchester County website with regard to making your property as ‘flood friendly’ as possible, meaning maximizing the pervious and minimizing the impervious surface:  These include everything from removing asphalted surfaces in favor of paving, gravel, grass, or the newer pervious asphalt, to rain gardens, rain barrels, and other types of water retention/detention projects.”

Local flooding maps

To find out if your residence actually is in a flood plain and to locate your watershed area, you can go to the Westchester County interactive maps.

On the county map, you can enter your address and click “Go.” Next select the item “Show Additional Data on Map,” and then click the “plus” sign in front of “Environmental Features.” If you scroll down the list and click/check the tiny grey boxes in front of “100 year Flood Plain” and “Watershed.” You can see the color-coded flood plains and watersheds areas that overlap with your address located on the map.

 

Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy award-winning journalist whose credits include a wide range of environmental and “green consumer” websites and TV programs. She lives in New Rochelle.

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