Veronica Johnson stands next to the high water markings from historical flood events alongside the train bridge in Old Ellicott City. She’s a longtime resident of the city.

Veronica Johnson stands next to the high water markings from historical flood events alongside the train bridge in Old Ellicott City. She’s a longtime resident of the city.

By Veronica Johnson, NBC4 Meteorologist

We should all take a look around our homes, our neighborhoods and in our towns and cities and know where those flood hazards are located. FEMA.gov provides flood insurance rate maps and data on the flood elevations in every community. Be Climate Ready and Know Where the Flood Line is In Your Community. Look around in your community where the high water mark signs are located. Help educate your neighbors and build an awareness of flood risk.
 
Everyone needs flood insurance. We have seen far too often that the government does not always provide financial assistance in the wake of flooding. At some point and time, as a homeowner, you are likely to be impacted by flooding.
 
Statistics from the National Flood Insurance Program

  • In the past 5 years, all 50 states have experienced flash floods.
  • 20 to 25% of all flood insurance claims are filed in low to moderate-risk areas.
  • Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage
  • Your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of fire.
  • Over the past 10 years (1999-2008), the average flood insurance claim paid in the US was more than
    $45,000.

Flood Insurance Facts

Flood insurance only covers damage caused by waters rising from the ground. According to FEMA, the official definition of a flood is “a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is your property).” FEMA specifies that floods are caused by:

  1. Overflow of inland or tidal waters
  2. Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
  3. A mudflow
  4. The collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or another body of water, caused by erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water
    If your home is damaged by a rush of water from broken pipes or a main break, FEMA says your flood insurance will not cover it unless “there is a general condition of flooding in the area and flood is the proximate cause of sewer or drain backup, sump pump discharge or overflow, or seepage of water.”

What Should I Do?

Before A Flood – Stay informed to the forecast. Take action around your home.

During A Flood

  1. Be ready to evacuate or move to higher ground
  2. Do not attempt to move through or drive through moving/high water. “Turn Around, Don’t Drown!”
  3. Do not touch electrical wiring

After A Flood 

1. Continue to avoid high water

2. Return to your home when authorities allow

3. Clean and dry out wet items or structures

Photo credits: Dave Harp