news most costly natural disaster threatens with spring rains and hurricane season

Most costly natural disaster threatens with spring rains and hurricane season

The most common and costly natural disaster is flooding, and it could be around the corner.

Spring rains followed by hurricane season require Virginian homeowners, renters and business owners to prepare for the possibility of flooding.

Flood Awareness Week is March 12 to 18, 2023.

“Floods are a significant threat, not only in coastal areas, but across the Commonwealth. Our goal is to empower people to assess their flood risk and take the necessary actions to protect their homes and property,” Matthew Wells, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), said.

Virginia’s flood-protection activities are coordinated by DCR, which helps communities benefit from the National Flood Insurance Program. The program enables residents of nearly 90 percent of Virginia’s communities to purchase federally backed flood insurance.

DCR’s Flood Awareness website offers tools and information including fact sheets, a cost calculator and a risk-assessment tool. Flood Awareness Week, which runs March 12-18, is an excellent time to use these resources and prioritize flood readiness,” Wells said.

Key in your address to determine your property’s flood risk at Virginia Flood Risk Information System.

According to FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program, even an inch of water in a home can cause more than $25,000 in damages. Standard homeowners’ insurance and renters insurance policies do not cover property damage during floods. Only three percent of Virginians have flood assurance, according to the NFIP.

“Virginians should review their insurance policies now to make sure they have the coverage they need,” DCR Director of Dam Safety and Floodplain Management Wendy Howard-Cooper said. “It takes 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to go into effect, so it’s important to be covered before a storm.”

Renters, homeowners and business owners can reduce potential flood damage to some, but not all, of their property with the following tips:

  • Storing important documents in waterproof containers, on an upper floor.
  • Caulking windows, doors and gaps where pipes and wires that enter a building.
  • Labeling propane tanks with the owner’s name and address.
  • Choosing tile or other waterproof flooring over carpeting on lower floors.

“Anywhere it can rain, it can flood,” Howard-Cooper added. “DCR is proud to be Virginia’s partner in flood preparedness.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.

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