Better watch out and bring out your umbrella with you if you're in Alabama. This may get rough soon!

Alabama is expected to receive rain starting Thursday, February 3rd, and until Friday, February 4th. This is pretty normal if you'd think about it however there are some flooding concerns that may be seen during this time.

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022

In today's blog, we want to talk about this weather event in Alabama and the flood concerns arising from it.

Heavy Rain Brings Higher Waters

Alabama is up in arms as weather forecasts expect heavy rainfall to drop on the state. This heavy rainfall is expected to be averaging 2 to 4 inches of rain and will persist from Thursday to Friday as reported by the National Weather Service (NWS). Flood watches are being sent out already since we are already expecting 3 to 6 inches of heavy rain getting dumped on Alabama just for the night of February 3rd. This means that flash flooding has an up to 10% chance of happening across the state.

This event is also expected to have some major storms as seen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which places the south and south-central parts of the state at a marginal risk for severe weather this Thursday.

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022Photo courtesy of NOAA

This puts cities Mobile, Montgomery, Greenville, and Tuscaloosa at a high chance of facing an isolated major storm in the next two days. These types of storms usually create the biggest concerns are damaging wind gusts, which could take down trees and knock out power, and tornadoes.

After Friday (February 4th), the rain will begin to move out however it doesn't really mean that everything ends there since there are chances of additional rain happening during the weekends because the cold air will be rushing behind.

Flood Concerns

One of the biggest concerns that we should be aware of is that this type of weather event will surely create big flood threats and increase the overall flood risk for the whole state in the next two days.

This ranges from what we call a pluvial flood, where collected water has nowhere else to go so it starts to pile up and inundate the area. This isn't really impossible considering that we still haven't moved out of the winter season. During this time, we expect the ground to be oversaturated which generally means that it won't be able to take in as much water as it should.

Another reason why flooding may occur from a life-threatening storm surge as water levels rise due to the precipitation. This is most likely to happen in coastal Alabama like Mobile City. Generally, this means that we might see a cocktail of floods as all three types may occur during this weather event: pluvial, fluvial, and coastal flooding.

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022

Fluvial flooding is only different from pluvial because the source of the floods comes from a water source like a river, lake, pond, creek, and such. Generally, this type of flood has a very strong flow to it and most of the time can easily damage properties along its path.

Other than these flood concerns, when that rain starts to happen, it's most likely that roads and bridges are going to be slippier than ever. This is why we always remind people to not drive into standing water or flood, or even during a rain event like this if it's not really necessary. We don't want to be dark and grim, but most of the casualties and injuries that happen in times like this are located and involve roads.

Why Flood Insurance is Important

When it comes to floods, most people would say that they wouldn't want to leave their properties unattended because something might happen to them. This same thinking causes a lot of trouble for these property owners when water starts to inundate the property.

Flood insurance can really help you cover for this flood damage and flood loss that may occur during a time like this. More importantly, you get peace of mind that you will still have a home to go back to even after a flood.

You have two options when it comes to flood insurance in Alabama: the federal-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and its new Risk Rating 2.0, and Private Flood Insurance. Let's talk about these two.

NFIP

The federal flood insurance is gearing towards a fingerprint of flood risk for properties that get a policy from them since rates will be based on the individual flood risk. Although this makes it more affordable for flood insurance coming from FEMA, this may still bring an increase to rates for some property owners.

This type of change makes them a big contender to take the spot when you ask people where best to get flood insurance however it's integral to point out that other than how you're going to be rated, some things never change with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance.

When it comes to coverage, we're still talking about the same $250,000 maximum on dwelling or building coverage and $100,000 maximum when it comes to contents

Other than these, these are all that the federal government can offer when it comes to flood insurance even with the Risk Rating 2.0 update. Here's a quick breakdown of the NFIP 2.0 card compared to the current version we have at the time of writing:

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022

Private Flood

Private flood insurance has made a big push in the last 15 years. There have been a lot of changes in the last 5 years that allow private flood insurance to be a great flood insurance option for many property owners. Let's look at exactly what private flood insurance is.

For many years the only option for many property owners was the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). There were many limitations with this program like wait periods, coverage amounts, and cost of the policy.

It's important to understand not all private flood insurance options are the same. There are admitted and non-admitted carriers in the private market. Each one of these types of policies has different requirements they follow.

The private flood insurance market still offers flood coverage that doesn't really have any maximum amount. You can definitely still get more than $250,000. Even when it comes to personal items or contents coverage, you can definitely go more than $100,000 for flood damage. That coverage also comes with the loss of useadditional living expenses, and/or replacement costs.

We've also seen a lot of homeowners coming to us for flood insurance and were able to get it in just a few days. The maximum waiting period for a flood policy from a private insurance company is only 14 days.

Alabama Faces a Potential Flood Event in 2022

What This Means for the Future

Considering that both Risk Rating 2.0 and private flood insurance companies base flood insurance rates on flood risks, this type of weather event can really add up to the things that increase your risk of flooding. This can also be a hard-hitter when it comes to flood mitigation since more risks require more efforts to lessen the flood damage on your property.

If Alabama were to get dumped by heavy rainfall more frequently, this could mean that flood insurance rates will also skyrocket in most areas especially when such rain event causes huge flooding in the area.

We're starting the Month of Arts and Hearts with such a concerning scenario, so we hope that you stay safe during this time. If you really don't need to head out, please stay at home and follow your local government's guidelines on what to do when flooding starts to happen. The thing is flooding can happen anytime.

So if you've got questions on flood insurance in Alabama, what this rain event could mean for your flood risk score, or anything related to flood insurance, click below to access our Flood Learning Center.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

If you want to speak to us about your flood concerns, click below to contact us:

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

Remember, we have an educational background on flood mitigation which lets us help you understand flood risks, flood insurance, and protecting your property long-term.

As the country steadily moved into the Fall season, the southeastern region of the United States was hit by a substantial amount of rainfall. This was enough to cause flooding in some states, but the one most impacted was Alabama.

Alabama Flooding; President Biden Approves Disaster Declaration

A lot of families were faced with flood damage and today, we want to talk about how the federal government — under President Joe Biden, Jr. — are looking to help the victims of the flooding. Let's talk about how the disaster declaration issued on December 21st is going to help the people of Alabama in recovering from the flood loss during the October flood.

Alabama October Flooding

Shelby and Jefferson County received a significant amount of rainfall in October. According to National Weather Service (NWS) Birmingham, Alabama, several waves of slow-moving, intense storms brought estimated rain rates as high as 4-5 inches (100 to 130 mm) per hour late on October 6th, 2021.

The flooding itself was so bad that fire officials said they responded to 282 calls for assistance. This is outside of the 82 rescues that had to be done in homes and about a maximum of 20 for stranded vehicles in Pelham, Alabama alone.

Alabama Flooding; President Biden Approves Disaster Declaration

This event also caused a lot of casualties. At least four people died including children. Most of these deaths were vehicle-related meaning to say that the victims got overwhelmed with water while they are in their vehicles. These people and their respective families are in our thoughts.

When there's a flood, there's also bound to have damages on multiple infrastructure and properties. 

The Presidential Declaration

As of December 21st, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. approves the disaster declaration for Alabama. This declaration is in order to provide federal assistance to the state's residents' wellness and recovery from the damages of the flood. The President’s action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Jefferson and Shelby.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), major declarations like this generally mean that provide a wide range of disaster assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure, including funds for both emergency and permanent work.

Alabama Flooding; President Biden Approves Disaster Declaration

How It Helps

The federal assistance includes grants or financial assistance for temporary housing, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners in Alabama recover from the effects of the October flooding. Most importantly, this also includes home repairs.

Focusing on the damages of the storm on properties, we want to focus on how this assistance can help recovery efforts for both residential and commercial properties. Damage assessments will be made based on your property's cost to repair and not the cost of repair.

Cost to repair basically focuses on the actual value of your property in its before-damage condition or before it was damaged by the October flood. This also includes any necessary actions to meet the basis for hazard mitigation against floods as set by FEMA. We also call this flood mitigation which acts as the first line of protective measures to reduce the damages when floodwater starts to inundate your property.

Calculating this will be managed by the federal assistance team, but you can also do this by following the formula below:

Alabama Flooding: President Biden Approves Disaster Declaration

Cost of repair generally is concerned with any specific action done to repair a property. For example, getting your paint and tape redone will have cheaper costs and doesn't guarantee that it can bring back the property to its pre-damaged condition.

It's important to keep in mind this major difference between the two as you may also be involved in recovering, repairing, and rebuilding your home. Property damage as a whole will be considered and not just the specific costs to certain repairs being done to your home.

Recovering from flood damage can be very tedious especially now that Risk Rating 2.0 expects homeowners to have all of their properties meet flood mitigation efforts or else face expensive flood insurance rates from FEMA. This is for the best considering that flood loss isn't something to be taken lightly.

Alabama Flooding; President Biden Approves Disaster Declaration

If you have questions on the cost to repair your home, if you have flood insurance and want to know how this can be helped with the new disaster declaration, or anything related to floods, click below to reach our team.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

You can also go to our Flood Learning Center where we try to answer your flood insurance questions.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

If you are one of the eligible homeowners in Shelby and Jefferson County, Alabama, you can begin applying for assistance by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand your flood risks, insurance policy, and mitigating your property long-term.

We're ending the 2021 season with a calm and somewhat peaceful closing. Or is it?

How La Niña Impacts Inland Floods in Alabama

Today, we want to talk about a disturbing fact on our current climate and how La Niña causes more devastating natural disasters like inland flooding in Pelham and Hoover, Alabama.

Impacts of La Niña

Despite having only one named storm in the last quarter of this year, it doesn't mean everything will be calm. We're still seeing a lot of rainfall and persistent precipitations across the country. In most cases, these conditions are enough to cause enough flooding and damage to multiple areas.

Take note, this is without a tropical storm present and at the most extreme caused by monsoons. Why is this happening you might ask?

We can owe it to what's called the La Niña. La Niña is a "cold event" wherein trade winds are stronger than usual which pushes more warm water toward Asia. Being the exact opposite of El Niño which is commonly known as the "heat event" that leads to week-to-month long droughts in South America and California, La Niña is a mixed bag of weather conditions that are very unpredictable and usually exceed the expectations.

This generally causes some areas of the United States to be very dry while some get very wet. To give an example, 80% of Stanislaus County in California is experiencing very extreme to exceptional drought hence the "very dry" conditions.

Add this to the already dried-up ecosystem due to the wildfires, it's no question why the drought continues in the state. However, it's equally important to note that these types of events may just be scratching the surface when it comes to the dangers it presents to locals.

How La Niña Impacts Inland Floods in Alabama

On the other hand, if we look at areas like Washington, a lot of atmospheric river impacts are being felt due to La Niña hence causing floods in the area up to the northwestern regions even in British Columbia. We've also seen how the shift from having warm surface water to a much colder one impacts the weather in areas like Northern California. The northern part of the state recently had to face devastating damages due to atmospheric rivers causing an extreme rain event in the area.

These are just a few of the examples we're seeing in the past few weeks however this doesn't mean that everything ends there. We can still expect more effects of the "small girl" as we end the year and go through the winter season.

What It Means for Alabama

As the winter season starts, we are expecting enough precipitation across the united states due to this cold event. This may range from your occasional rain to consistent heavy rains. We've seen this trend for the past two years now and we've covered it earlier this year. To give the gist of it, generally during the wintertime, Alabama gets too much water from the moist ground and rainfall amounts not being able to go anywhere but the homes of its residents.

Just this year, we've seen how impactful heavy rainfall can become in the state of Alabama. During the spring season, Birmingham and Central Alabama were hit with 7 inches of nonstop rain which immediately caused flooding in the area. The flooding however wasn't just due to rain alone, but also the melting snow and ice from other areas oversaturating the ground.

If we go back a few years back, in 2018 major Hurricane Alberto dumped 3.5 inches of rain which immediately escalated to 8 inches in Cloverdale. Three months after this event, during the fall season of September 2018, Brighton was the one that received the same amount of rainfall, and guess what, it caused flooding.

How La Niña Impacts Inland Floods in Alabama

In December of 2019, we also saw Lauderdale get flooded after getting a significantly smaller amount of rain of 2.5 inches. This, unfortunately, took two lives in Alabama and Tennessee and flooded roads in the area. 

As we're gearing to face some thick inches of snowfall in the next two to three months in some states, we are also expecting an equally higher amount of precipitation for Alabama. It's important to remember that the main cause of the recent spring flooding in the state was the oversaturation of the soil.

How La Niña Impacts Inland Floods in Alabama

Equally, we also want to consider the developments happening in Alabama due to the increase in population for Birmingham and Huntsville for example. This type of development can create a reason for water to go where it shouldn't be. Once the weather becomes colder and climate changes, there's also this immense pressure on residents when facing the inversely proportional lowering of temperatures and rising of flood threats.

As we've seen in previous years, Alabama gets unexpectedly huge flooding during this season even with the littlest amount of rainfall, and we can expect the same this year as well. Add this to the still-recovering soil from previous rain and flooding, it's no question whether or not flooding will happen.

Flooding is certain once all that precipitation starts coming.

How to Best Prepare

We always do our best to educate our customers when it comes to the impacts of weather, climate change, hurricanes, winds, and even the smallest rain on the behavior of floods. During this season, we want to help you prepare for possible cold waters inundating your home in Alabama.

You might say that you don't need to worry about it because it hasn't happened to you before, but this was the same mindset that people in Waverly, Tennesee had earlier this year.

Really one of the best ways to prepare is to have flood insurance since this already covers the concern of protecting your house: from the construction up to the contents inside. Sometimes even more if you're looking at the private flood insurance market. This way, you already eliminate those thoughts that you need to stay with your property to watch its condition when flooding happens.

How La Niña Impacts Inland Floods in Alabama

Another step that's very crucial is making sure you are always updated on the weather condition for each and every day. Be it going to work or just staying at home, we encourage making sure that you watch over this at all times. Most times, homeowners and commuters will underestimate the power of rain and floodwater. 

In the yuletide season, we want you to only enjoy the holiday with your family and friends. This is difficult to do when you're worrying about floodwater coming in, so if you need help understanding how flood insurance work, where to buy flood insurance in Alabama, understanding your risk of flooding, or anything related to floods, click below to access our Flood Learning Center.

Flood Insurance Guru | Service | Knowledge Base

You can also click my picture below to call us and remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation which lets us help you understand your flood risks, flood policy, and protecting your property long-term.

The Flood Insurance Guru | 2054514294

We've already completed the first part of this big series on the upcoming changes to federal flood insurance. We have covered each state however that only gives a small idea of the changes coming. In this new series for Risk Rating 2.0, we want to cover the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) changes to communities in each state.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Mobile, Alabama: New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

Today, we will talk about Alabama and Mobile City to dive deeper into understanding the upcoming changes to your flood insurance policy from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

What is the Risk Rating 2.0

This is what FEMA calls equity in action when it comes to making the cost of flood insurance policies fairer per policyholder. This simply means that when it comes to flood insurance rates, a lot of things will start to change with the NFIP and FEMA. Generally, this is because property values for each individual property will be accounted for when finalizing your quote and flood insurance premiums with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

It's important to note, however, that this won't mean that the cheapest flood insurance will go automatically to lower-valued homes. It's equally important that we take into account, just like FEMA does and the private flood insurance industry, what's called flood risk variables which includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Designation in the flood zone maps.
  • History of flood incidents, flood damage, and flood loss
  • Flood claims made with the property
  • Flood hazard, flood plain devolvement, and impact of flooding
  • Risk of flood in the area, the chance of flooding, and flood frequency
  • Mitigation efforts made on the property. Is the lowest floor above the base flood elevation? Are there enough flood openings to let flood waters through?

The Flood Insurance Guru | Mobile, Alabama: New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

The NFIP

Let's have a quick look back on the federal flood insurance scene which is specifically what's called the National Flood Insurance Program. Let's go through what the NFIP is and why the Risk Rating 2.0 is happening.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance cover both damages to the building and contents. When we say building, this generally pertains to a residential property or a commercial structure that gets flood coverage that maxes out to $250,000 (up to $500,000 for commercial flood policies only). At the same time, you'll also find contents coverage of $100,000 or the personal property you have listed with the insured building. They have been providing billions of dollars in flood claims across the state.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Mobile, Alabama: New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

FEMA and the NFIP also help in other ways as well since policyholders are eligible for their Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) and what's called the Community Rating System (CRS).

The ICC is an additional $30,000 flood coverage to give way for flood mitigation efforts for the insured property to avoid massive losses from a future flood event. The CRS on the other hand is a community-based rating system that measures the overall flood mitigation efforts made by the community in general; basically, this means that the higher your CRS score is, the bigger the discount

Now, it's important to remember that the NFIP was established by the federal government under FEMA in 1968. Some parts changed when it comes to how the program works however the last major changes and updates that the NFIP got were from 30 years ago. This is where the Risk Rating 2.0 comes in.

Now that we've covered the NFIP and the Risk Rating 2.0, let's talk about its impact on Mobile County and its seat, Mobile City. We'll cover the good, the bad, and the ugly changes coming to the residents of the city.

The Flood Insurance Guru | Mobile, Alabama: New Federal Flood Insurance Risk Rating 2.0

The Good

We want to cover the good things coming to Mobile, Alabama first. We'll divide these good changes into two to specify the changes coming to flood insurance rates. This good change will bring an immediate decrease in the premium rates of those impacted. About 20.4% or 1,629 of the policies in the city will get impacted by this change.

The first half will impact about 10.6% or 842 policies will be getting a decrease that ranges from $0, which means there'll be no change at all, to $50 per month ($0 - $600 per year). The other half of this good change impacts 9.9% or 781 policies which will get a better deal since the decrease ranges from $50 to more than $100 per month ($600-$1200 per year). 

This decrease can help a lot of people who might not want to risk the private sector holding back on their services. Generally, since the private flood insurance companies aren't bound by the government's red tapes, they can easily move out of an area once the risk of flooding becomes too uncomfortable for them. 

The Bad

Now, let's move into the bad news and bad changes that the Risk Rating 2.0 will bring to residents of Mobile in Alabama. A whopping 65.2% or 5,197 policies in force from FEMA will get an increase ranging from $0 to $10 per month ($0 - $120 per year). This is drastically smaller compared to other major cities we'll cover across this series.

You may want to prepare for these premium rate increases with this new Risk Rating considering how this portion of bad changes generally covers the bigger chunk of these changes.

This is why it's so important to understand these changes because you want to get the most out of your investment in flood policies when in proportion to the flood insurance coverage you'll get. Nobody would want to pay a higher amount, only to get covered for only $250,000 in a $500,000 home.

The Ugly

There are also ugly changes coming however this will only impact one policy in the city. It's important to note that these changes will be escalating as we move further in the range, meaning there's the ugly, the uglier, and the ugliest change impacting about 1,142 or about 14.2% of the policies that FEMA has in Mobile.

First, we have to cover the ugly change. This will impact 8.4% or 672 policies that will get an increase of about $10 to $20 per month ($120 to $240 per year) on that flood insurance policy's price when it comes to premium rates from FEMA.

Now, there's still that uglier change which will be bringing an increase that ranges from $20 to $50 per month ($240 to $600 per year). This will impact 395 policies in the city (5%) once the Risk Rating 2.0 update kicks in these policyholders' flood insurance.

Lastly, there's the ugliest change which is mainly due to the drastic increase it will bring to policyholders covered under this umbrella. We're talking about an increase that ranges from $50 to more than $100 per month ($600 to $1200 per year on premium rates) and will affect about 0.9% or 75 policies in the city.

This type of change can really hurt anyone's financial stability especially when we're talking about those who already find it hard to keep up with their flood insurance premiums. This is why we also recommend either prepare for these changes way ahead of time or prepare for moving into a different flood insurance company from the private flood insurance market.

When Will It Happen?

Now, the date when you can adopt this program really depends if you're doing a renewal or if it's a new business policy. You see, you can expect these changes to start on October 1st and you're going to adapt to these rate changes if you're buying flood insurance from FEMA on or after that date. 

On the other hand, if you're doing a renewal with FEMA after that date then you don't have to take in these new rate changes until April 1st, 2022, or the date of your upcoming policy renewal.

If you have questions on these upcoming changes, what are your flood insurance options in Alabama, or anything about flood, reach out to us through the links below. You can also watch this on our YouTube channel.

Remember, we have an educational background in flood mitigation and we want to help you understand flood risks through education and awareness in flood insurance and preparedness.

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