The start of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season is June 1 and comes on the heels of a record-breaking year of rainfall in Stafford County. Homeowners and business owners have already struggled with flooding in areas that have typically been dry in the past. Summer storms with extended periods of rain could bring even more flooding to the area before the hurricane season concludes on November 30. Now is a good time for residents and businesses to familiarize themselves with tools to help them evaluate flood risk.
Even if you are not located in a flood plain, you still could benefit from flood insurance. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), just one inch of water in a home can cause $25,000 worth of damage. FEMA estimates that more than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside high-risk flood plains.
What can you do? You can purchase an individual flood insurance policy from your private insurance provider, paying close attention to the terms and what is and is not covered. Keep in mind that there is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy takes effect. Federal government assistance cannot be relied upon for flood damage because most floods do not result in a Presidential Disaster Declaration. For more information on flood insurance, visit FEMA’s flood website at www.floodsmart.gov.
Despite Stafford’s location around 150 miles from the coast, the County is still well within the range of hurricane damage. Flooding is a big concern, on the rivers and area tributaries, as well as residential areas. According to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, intense rainfall is not directly related to the wind speed of a hurricane. Some of the most significant rainfall amounts occur from weaker storms that drift slowly or stall over an area, dropping vast amounts of rain. Inland flooding is responsible for more than half the deaths associated with hurricanes.
To find out if your property is in a flood zone, visit Stafford’s website at www.staffordcountyva.gov and follow the link to Stafford’s Potential Flood Zone Interactive Map Tool listed under Quick Links on the homepage.