Tropical storm Cristobal has gone from a tropical depression to a tropical storm back to a tropical depression and then back to a tropical storm. It is the 3rd named storm of the hurricane season. NOAA has predicted between 13 and 19 named storms this year.

 

Image of dark night with lightning above stormy sea

This tropical storm looks to make landfall in Louisiana on June 7, 2020. Louisiana has a history with storms making landfall. New Orleans was hit by hurricane Katrina in August 2005. This storm was one of the most destructive storms in U.S. history. I remember that day very well it was the day I started my masters in emergency management with a focus in flood mitigation.

Are You Ready written on the wipe board

I remember when everyone thought everything was going to be fine and then the levees started failing. You had people evacuating to their roofs and having to be rescued by helicopter.

I remember walking the 9th ward a few months after the storm still seeing the red X on the buildings to show homes had been searched and if there were survivors. Even months later the smell will be something I never forget.

So of course Louisiana will always be nervous when a storm makes landfall. However the path that this storm is taking could have an even bigger impact on the Midwest and Ohio Valley areas.

End of a public beach along Lake Michigan-1

Once this storm moves inland it will start to slow down and could stall out. This could spell disaster for areas like Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.

Michigan has already suffered from major flooding this year with 2 dam bursts within the last month. Areas like Chicago have also already seen flooding this year and the Mississippi river is still extremely high.

So large amounts of rainfall in any of these areas could cause some major flooding. It was just a year ago that Nebraska, Iowa, and Oklahoma saw record flooding.

We also are not far removed from the spring runoff season that typically causes minor flooding at a minimum in some of these areas.

Boaters view of Chicago skyline in summer-1

So many times when people think of a storm making landfall they think of coastal flooding. However as recently as a few weeks ago we saw inland flooding as a result of a tropical storm that made landfall in South Carolina and moved up into Virginia.

So whether you live Miami Florida, Houston Texas, or Saginaw Michigan it's important to understand that tropical storms don't just impact coastal areas.

As we mention often everyone is in a flood zone it's just a matter of how much water it takes to get to you.

Make sure that you are prepared if water gets to you. Make sure your family has an emergency plan in place, make sure you have your flood insurance in place, and make sure you have digital documentation of your property in case a flood does occur.

These things will help your family get back on their feet quicker and hopefully increase survival.

So if you have questions about preparing for a flood or looking at your flood insurance options then click here.

You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or even listen to our podcast.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. So we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property against flooding.

 

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

The Midland flooding that occurred in late May of 2020 was a tragic event. It didn't just impact Midland but other areas through out Michigan.

There is a long list of impacts from this flooding like businesses not being able to stay open due to damage, residents having trouble finding temporary housing because of Covid 19, and major facilities like hospitals not being able to operate on a normal basis.

We want to take a look at two longer term impacts that this flooding will create

  1. Flood insurance options
  2. Flood zone changes

As a result of this flooding claims are starting to roll in on the National Flood Insurance Program side and the private flood insurance side.

While you won't see any immediate impact on the National Flood Insurance Program side, you could see see some immediate impacts on the private flood insurance side.

To get an idea of these impacts let's look back at the Midwest flooding in 2019. Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Minnesota had widespread flooding throughout the year.

When this flooding occurred many private flood insurance companies stopped offering new flood policies temporary.

Why did this happen and can we expect the same thing in Michigan?

There are really two main reasons why private flood insurance carriers do this

  1. Get control of the claims
  2. Understand future risk models

When this type of flooding occurs carriers want to see how many claims will come in and how catastrophic these claims will be.

Stopping new business in these areas during this time also helps them understand their risk models. Unlike the National Flood Insurance Program most private flood insurance companies do not base their rates solely on the flood zone type. Instead they use some pretty advanced technology to understand elevations, river flows, rainfall flows, and other things in an area.

Many times when these claims come in they can see where the adjustments need to be made. It could also be the reinsurer that supports the insurance carrier no longer wants to do business in an area.

This is exactly what happened in 2019 when many private flood insurance companies did not offer new business in these areas for almost 6 months.

So what exactly can we expect to happen in Midland Michigan and other parts of Michigan.

Well we can expect to see private flood insurance options become limited pretty quickly as a result. You may even see some carriers decide to pull out as they look at the safety history of dams in the Midland Michigan area.

While your current flood insurance policy won't be impacted immediately you could see some pretty high increases or even a non renewal when its time to renew. It's important to understand unlike the National Flood Insurance Program there are lots of private flood insurance options. Just because one has high rate increases or non renewals does not mean that the others will.

Its also important to know that the National Flood Insurance Program is also available for you with a standard 30 day wait.

So what about flood zone changes?

Here at the Flood Insurance Guru we do flood zone changes also known as letter of map amendments for property owners everyday. Once of the things FEMA looks at when approving these is if a property has flooded in the past or even possibly an area.

So if your house was flooded more than likely they would not approve your request to be removed from the special flood hazard area. Even if your property wasn't impacted you could still be declined.

So these are just a couple of the more long term impacts the flooding in Midland Michigan can cause.

If you have questions make sure to visit our website or our YouTube channel where we have our daily flood education videos.

 

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

Most people don't think residence type plays a big impact on Pell City flood insurance rates. However whether you are using a property as a primary, secondary, seasonal, or investment property can play a major role on your Pell City flood insurance.

We just spoke with an insurance agent this week where their client had gotten a flood quote from another company that was significantly less. Actually about $2500 less

road flooding

But why?

Aren't all flood insurance rates the same?

Yes they are but rates are only as accurate as the information that is put in there by the agent.

There are a couple ways that occupancy type plays a role on flood insurance rates in Pell City Alabama.

  1. Surcharge
  2. Rating factors

Let's look at surcharges first. When it comes to the National Flood Insurance Program and flood insurance in Pell City there is a surcharge called HFIAA also known as the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. This act put into place April 1, 2015 adds a surcharge to each National Flood Insurance policy. On a primary residence this surcharge is $25 and on a non primary its a $250 surcharge.

However where the big difference can come into play is the rating tables. Lets look at two homes in Pell City both built before the first flood map also referred to as Pre-Firm properties.

Lets say both have no basements but one is a primary residence and one is not. For the primary residence you would using rating 2a that has a rating factor of 1.18 for every $100 in coverage which would give you a rate of $1180 for a $100,000. Compared to that non primary residence that has a factor of 3.85. That would give you a rate of $3850 for the non primary residence. Its important that things on the elevation certificate can give certain rating credits that can bring this rate down, but this should give you a good idea of the rates.

So as you can see having the wrong occupancy type can have a major impact on your flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

 

Don't get too down if your residence is not your primary residence as many lake homes in Pell City are not.

 

There is a private market for flood insurance in Pell City that does not use these same factors in determining rates for properties. In fact we recently helped some residents in Pell City save more than 40% by switching from the National Flood Insurance Program to a private flood insurance policy.

Its important to understand the strict guidelines FEMA has in making this switch. If you want to learn more about how to make this switch or exactly what the guidelines are then click the link below.

Understand switching flood insurance

 

You can also visit our YouTube channel or Facebook Flood Insurance Guru where we do daily flood education videos. Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation so we can help you understand your flood insurance, flood risk, and mitigating your property against future flooding.

 

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

The Coronavirus has had a big impact on the country it has altered most of Americans lives and people world wide. We are entering week 3 of the stay at home order. Kids are out of school, parents are out of work, or at least most are working from home. Sports has even come to an end. To say it has forced change would be an understatement.

So everybody's lives have changed but have they all changed for the bad? I heard a coach tell his wife the other day that he didn't know his daughters favorite color until this pandemic hit. Many lives have come to a stand still but that has helped many people grow closer to their families and spend more time together.

I know my days now involve cooking breakfast for the family before doing a little bit of work before it's time for me to take Lydia and her baby dolls on a ride around the neighborhood. You can see below how much she enjoys life.

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My wife has taken a liking to Tik Tok not sure if thats a good change or a bad change. We are all in the same house and healthy so far, so that's what matters

When thinking about all these changes that everyone is going through It helps me think that good things can come from disasters. They always say nothing grows jobs more than a natural disaster. Just like nothing may change a flood map more than a disaster.

FLOOD MAP CHANGES

Are all these changes bad? No not at all let's look at three areas that have map changes happening in the next few weeks. Grundy, Randolph, and Vernon county Missouri will receive new maps in May of 2020. Like what we have learned from the Coronavirus pandemic there can be good changes and there can be bad changes.

There are usually 3 results of these maps. Either you are moved from a low risk zone to a high risk zone. a high risk zone to a low risk zone, or you have no change at all. These two particular areas that are changing over the next few weeks have just has many people being moved to a low risk flood zone as those moving to a high risk flood zone.

Just because you are being moved to a high risk flood zone does not mean the world is ending.

The End written on rural road

FEMA is trying to be proactive in protecting your property, even if it has never flooded before. Also just because you are being moved to a high risk flood zone does not mean its accurate.

Flood maps can be wrong?

Yes they can all the time because of the way parcels are used in creating flood boundaries. You house might be 50 feet up on a hill but the parcel may not show that.

So what exactly can you do in areas like this?

Well there is something called a letter of map amendment.

This is the process of having your property or structures removed from a high risk area. There are usually a few documents FEMA wants to see like a flood insurance rat map, a property deed, an elevation certificate, and a tax assessors plot.

What FEMA is looking for is that the lowest adjacent grade of the property is above the base flood elevation and there hasn't been a history of flooding on the property. These are the two driving factors for getting your flood zone changed.

So what if you don't qualify for this?

Well you still have 4 options but they all require insurance.

  1. Preferred flood policy
  2. Newly mapped flood policy
  3. Standard flood policy
  4. Private flood insurance policy

A preferred flood insurance policy is a National Flood Insurance Program flood policy for a low risk area. This can be taken out for a high risk area if you get the flood insurance before the flood map changes. Remember these policies take 30 days to go into effect.

The benefit is when the flood zone changes you still have the preferred rates since it was taken out before the map change.

The other options all have to do with getting coverage after the flood map change.

A newly mapped flood policy is when a policy is taken out on a property that has had a flood zone change within the last 12 months. Special pricing applies for the first 12 months before the rates slowly adjust.

Option 3 is doing a standard flood policy you should only do this option if it has been longer than the 12 months since the flood map change. The pricing on these policies are completely different than the newly mapped rates.

The last option many times can be one of the best options and that is private flood insurance. Its important to understand that private flood insurance is not available to just anyone. If you have a FHA loan as of April 2020 then you would not be allowed to get private flood insurance.

Private flood insurance is flood insurance provided by private companies. They do their own underwriting and determine risks differently than the National Flood Insurance Program. As a result many times rates can be 40-50% less. However unlike the National Flood Insurance Program, private flood could decline someone simply based on an area.

So these are the 5 true options you have for these flood map updates in Grundy, Randolph, and Vernon county Missouri. If you have more questions about these changes make sure to check out our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos. You can also check out our daily flood podcast.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation which means we can help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property against flood risks.

Start My Flood Insurance Quote

 

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

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Things can really change over 50 years just ask the Kansas City Chiefs that was the last time they had won the super bowl until February 2020. The same thing goes for Wilson county Kansas who on January 8th 2020 got new flood maps for the first time in 50 years.

In this episode of the podcast we want to look at several things

 

  1. Major floods in Wilson county Kansas
  2. The flood zones in Wilson county Kansas
  3. Who will be impacted
  4. The flood insurance options in Wilson county Kansas

Major floods in Wilson county Kansas occurred in 1943, 1945, 1951, 1961, and 1976.

  1. 1943- 50 year flood event
  2. 1945- 200 year flood event
  3. 1951- 100 year flood event
  4. 1961- 10 year flood event
  5. 1976- 5 year flood event

As you can see rivers like falls and Verdigris rivers have caused all kinds of floods in the area through the years. A flood insurance study report was done after the 1976 flood but it was determined that maps did not need to change.

So what are the different flood zones in the Wilson county Kansas area?

You basically have three types of flood zones in the area.

  1. Flood Zone X

 

                   2.  Flood Zone A

                   3.  Flood Zone AE

 

So with these maps being updated who will be impacted? These map changes will impact roughly 12% of the county. It will take about 500 properties and place them in special flood hazard areas. This means they will be moved from non mandatory zones to mandatory zones.

So what are the flood insurance options in Wilson county Kansas. Like most areas across the country you have the National Flood Insurance Program and Private flood insurance available.

Remember as long as a community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program then flood insurance coverage will be available.

Now let's look at a couple different options when it comes to the National Flood Insurance Program. As we mentioned before about 500 properties are being moved from non mandatory areas to mandatory areas.

These particular properties qualify for map revision also called newly mapped rates. These are special flood insurance rates that are offered for the first 12 months after the flood insurance map changed. This is almost like a year one break and after that the rate will continue to adjust until the rate meets the risk properly.

Its important when getting flood insurance quotes that you inform the insurance agent that your map recently changed. If not you could be over charged by more than $1000. This is exactly what we had happen to a client in Iowa in 2019 when their flood maps changed.

So what about the other flood insurance option? Private flood insurance is available.

So what is private flood insurance?

This is flood insurance that is offered by private flood insurance companies. Its important that you know not everyone can get private flood insurance. If you have an FHA loan then you will be required to go through the National Flood Insurance Program.

There can be many benefits to private flood insurance like higher amounts of coverage and significant savings sometimes up to 40%.

So we have looked at the new flood map changes for Wilson county Kansas, the impact, the flood zones, and the flood insurance options.

Maybe you have more questions about what you can do to fight these changes? Make sure to visit our website and check out our Youtube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

 

Start My Flood Insurance Quote

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

You have always heard the grass is not always greener on the other side. This applies to many things in life and flood insurance is no exception.

MPPP-1

This theory as well as the shiny toy or object syndrome can apply to flood insurance in many ways.

In this podcast we discuss those things and more.

 

Let's look at flood insurance and greener grass. We hear from people ever day trying to jump ship from the National Flood Insurance Program to private flood insurance. When they get there they are disappointed because they did not address a few things like

  1. Grandfather policies
  2. Earned premiums
  3. FEMA cancellation rules

 

The first area that many people forget to ask about is grandfathered policies. This is something that is only offered through the National Flood Insurance Program. So what are grandfathered policies?

 

This is when that green grass can turn to brown grass. You see once you cancel or let coverage lapse on a grandfathered policy there is no getting it back. So many times we have seen customers take out a private flood insurance policy that is a few dollars less than the grandfathered rate, but at renewal it doubles because of flood claims in the area.

They try to go back to the National Flood Insurance Program but now they must accept a standard policy. This could be the difference between a $600 policy and a $2500 policy.

This is why if someone has a grandfathered policy it is rare that we recommend cancelling it. There is more to consider than the current price. You need to consider what happens after a claim, and can you transfer that private flood policy to another buyer?

Something else people don't think about is when they have a bad experience. If you wanted to change auto or home insurance you could at any time with no penalty. However private flood insurance does not work this way as there are what is called earned premium.

Most private companies this ranges from 25-50% this means if you decide to leave after a couple of months you are still out that money.

Something else is running to the other side before checking the FEMA cancellation rules. You see FEMA does not allow property owners to switch to the private market midterm. This is considered cancellation reason 26 duplicate policy outside NFIP.

 

The shiny toy or object syndrome can play a major role in flood insurance. Trust me I know I get tricked by shiny objects everyday. When it comes to automation in our business I am always trying something new because of some new feature. The problem is at the end of the day I am no better off. This is the exact problem many property owners have when shopping for flood insurance.

You have these companies that offer these fancy online portals for you to access your documents. The problem is the policy actually excludes more than it includes. So when it comes to getting distracted like this make sure to focus on building coverage, contents coverage, living expenses, and long term pricing stability.

So we have talked about how the grass is not always greener and how shiny toy or object syndrome could get your flood insurance in trouble. Maybe you have further questions about picking the right policy?

Make sure to visit our website or check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel.

 

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

Unless you live under a rock you probably remember the terrible flooding that occurred across the United States in 2019. Alabama property owners fell victim to this flooding in early 2019.

In this episode of the podcast we want to discuss what exactly is causing the flood threat for Alabama and how it is impacting flood insurance availability?

 

November and December 2019 were some unusually wet months. The higher levels of rainfalls in this month helped fill up rivers, lakes, and streams across the state. Then there was January 2020 which was extremely wet.

It almost feels like the twilight zone from 2019 when Alabama suffered from significant flooding. However this flooding is a little bit different. You see in 2019 Alabama got hit with a steady week of rainfall which caused Weise lake and Lake Logan Martin to fill up flooding homes.

Video below from CBS 42 News in Birmingham Alabama shows us some of that damage.

In 2020 the story has been a little bit different, instead of a week of rainfall it has been one moisture filled system after another.

It's similar to what happened in Iowa in 2019 where moisture filled systems caused one flooding event after another.

February 6th might go down as a historical day in Alabama weather history. You had some cities in Alabama that set single day rainfall records. The National Weather Service shows us some of those records from Tuscaloosa to Huntsville Alabama. Some areas received anywhere from 3-5 inches of rain. You put this on top of already full rivers and lakes and you have a major problem.

However it doesn't end there the week of February 10th brought another 4-6 inches of rain causing even more flooding in areas like Birmingham and Huntsville Alabama.

So how exactly is this impacting flood insurance options in Alabama?

Well if you have watched our videos or read our blogs then you probably know there are two options for flood insurance in Alabama.

You have the National Flood Insurance Program also known as NFIP, as almost everybody knows about and you have private flood insurance.

Let's look at NFIP first thankfully when this type of flooding occurs it does not impact getting flood insurance through it. However the private flood insurance market is a different story. As of February 7th 2020 many of those companies have moratoriums in areas like Huntsville.

So what does this mean for you?

Well this means if you decide to get flood insurance through one of these companies they will make you wait until these moratoriums are lifted.

We just had this happen to someone who was building an apartment complex in Huntsville. They could not get the private option they wanted and had to go with the NFIP option. This had a big impact on them because the rate was higher and NFIP will not let you cancel midterm for a better option.

So what can you do then?

Well in these situations the only real options are the NFIP and the private carriers that do not have these moratoriums.

So will they allow you to back date coverage when the moratorium is lifted?

No they will only start coverage on the date the policy is completed. They may even make you wait 15 days depending on if it is for a loan closing or not.

Have questions about flood insurance in Alabama, then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation which means we can help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property against flooding.

 

Start My Flood Insurance Quote

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

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When local residents of Covington GA think about flooding their home town normally doesn't come to mind. What normally comes to mind are areas like Jackson Lake or Lake Oconee where they may have a lake house.

However flooding issues in Covington Georgia during winter and spring months is starting to change how people look at flooding in Covington Georgia.

Before we can look at the flooding that has occurred we need to know the flood zones in the area.

Like most areas outside the coast Covington Georgia has three main flood zones.

  1. Flood zone X
  2. Flood zone A
  3. Flood zone AE

Flood zone X is the non mandatory flood zone where flood insurance is not required. The majority of Covington GA and Newton county fall within this area.

 

Flood zone A which is considered to be the special flood hazard area but normally doesn't have a base flood elevation includes areas like West Clark Street and Bob Williams Parkway.

 

Flood zone AE which is considered to be the special flood hazard area as well but has a base flood elevation includes areas like Main Street in Porterdale along the Yellow River. This also includes what is known as the Lofts.

So now that we know the three main flood zones for Covington and Newton county Georgia. Let's look at when flooding is likely to occur in the area.

You generally have two times a year where flooding becomes an issue but they normally occur for different reasons. In the winter months you normally have frontal systems that stall out for several days dropping a lot of rain over those days. Then in the spring you have flash flooding that occurs normally from a lot of rainfall from severe thunderstorms.

The flooding that is occurring right now in Covington Georgia is a direct result of a frontal system stalling out dropping several inches over the course of a few days.

However what is magnifying this problem is December was extremely wet keeping water tables and rivers like the Yellow River full.

yr photo

As a result this additional rainfall simply has no where to go.

An area that has seen this happen time and time again is the Riverside RV park along the Yellow River.

riverside

In December 2015 Covington Georgia saw significant flooding along highway 278 as a result of the same kind of system.

So when these systems come through Covington Georgia what can you do to protect yourself?

Well the first step is knowing your flood zone. Know if you live in a special flood hazard area and the history of flooding in that area.

The next thing is to always carry flood insurance, but i thought that I could only get flood insurance if it was required by my bank?

This is one of the biggest myths about flood insurance. It's also one of the things that flood victims in Houston Texas, Nebraska City Nebraska, and Tulsa Oklahoma knew before losing everything to a flood in 2019.

So what are the flood insurance options in Covington Georgia?

It's important to understand that all parts of Newton county participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. So this means that NFIP and private flood insurance are available.

So who qualifies for what?

Since this is a participating community everyone qualifies for the National Flood Insurance Program.You really have 7 NFIP communities in the Covington area.

  1. Newton county
  2. City of Porterdale
  3. City of Mansfield
  4. City of Oxford
  5. City of Covington
  6. City of Newborn
  7. City of Social Circle

Areas like Riverside RV park that received repeated flooding may have this as their only option.

Generally one of the things that can disqualify you for private flood insurance in Covington Georgia are claims. Some carriers only care if there have been claims within the last 5 years and others will disqualify you if there has ever been a claim on the property.

Something else thats important to know is that you may only qualify for private flood insurance if you have a non FHA loan. FHA is the only loan type in Covington GA that requires all flood insurance to go through the National Flood Insurance Program.

So what about coverages?

There can be a big difference in coverages between the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance. One difference is the National Flood Insurance Program maxes residential building coverage out at $250,000 while private flood can go into the millions.

It's important to know that since NFIP maxes residential coverage out at $250,000 that banks can not currently require more coverage than that per structure.

So what about protecting your belongings? Thats one of the biggest things we hear from flood victims everyday. They say what cost me so much money was replacing my belongings.

The National Flood Insurance Program maxes personal belongings coverage out at $100,000 while private flood insurance generally will offer up to $500,000 in most situations.

So we have discussed what flood insurance options are available in Covington Georgia? The real question everybody wants to know is how long do i have to wait.

It's not uncommon for people to wait until its flooding to try to obtain flood insurance. However most people are unaware of the different wait periods. There is really only one situation where there is no wait period for flood insurance and that is when it is for a loan closing.

Outside of this the National Flood Insurance Program has a standard 30 day wait period. Private flood insurance companies generally have a wait period that ranges from 5 to 15 days.

So it's important to understand that if you wait until its flooding in Covington Georgia or other areas of newton county to get flood insurance then it might be too late.

We mentioned what else you can do to prepare earlier. One thing is understanding your flood insurance policy. You may have loss avoidance built into your policy.

This helps reimburse up to a $1000 for preventative measures like putting sand bags around your property or moving belongings to higher ground.

So maybe you have more questions about other flood prone areas in Covington Georgia or Newton county? Maybe you want to see what flood insurance options are available to you? Then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or Facebook page.

 

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

Clogged Drains, Interstates, and homes, what in the world do these things have in common?

Well glad you asked they are all connected by FLOODING!

Boat over Marajo Canal in Belem do Para, Brazil

Flooding has occurred in 2019 and 2020 on interstates and communities as a result of clogged drains. The flooding in these communities has started to have a major impact on property owners. We want to discuss two particular scenarios and how the flooding could have been prevented.

Let's look at drainage issues that have occurred in Germantown Tennessee, Toledo Ohio, Augusta Georgia, and Houston Texas.

Then let's review how interstate flooding is occurring and the impact it is having on communities.

The first area we want to look at is Germantown Tennessee. This area suffered severe flooding in June 2019 the way water came rushing in and rushing out raised alot of questions. According to WMC 5 action News water went down so rapidly that it was like a stopper had been pulled out of a tub.

So what exactly caused the flooding in this part of Germantown?

It was a combination of heavy rainfall and drainage systems. More than 10 inches of rain was received which caused flash flooding across the area and it seems that the drainage infrastructure of the area created an even larger disaster.

Let's get one thing straight 10 inches of rain within a short amount of time could overwhelm any system. However the concern here that residents have is they have received this amount of rainfall in the past with no flash flooding issues. They had complained about drainage issues up until the week before the flooding occurred. The fact that the water left the home almost as fast as it entered the home clearly showed something failed with the drainage systems.

The problem with many drainage systems is they were built 50-60 years ago and they simply aren't built to carry that amount of water away that fast.

This is an issue that Augusta Georgia faced in 2019 when it faced drainage problems from flooding. According to WRDW.com basically the older city areas we do have where it takes time for the system to carry the water because it's an older system.So whether it was clogged drains or simply the system being overwhelmed, what is clear is the importance of keeping these drains clear and up to date.

Another stress that is put on drainage systems is when it's time for the water to leave. You have areas like Houston Texas that seem to face this issue on a regular basis. According to The Atlantic when this water hits areas like sidewalks and parking lots you no longer control where the water goes. So this water ends up where the grade takes it which normally is low lying areas creating more of an issue for drainage systems to deal with, so it can be a design problem for many areas.

As Toledo Ohio has shown us with their historic flooding from drainage issues that something has to be done.

What can be done?

Most people think that it takes 10 inches of rain like what occurred in Germantown but many of the flood issues in Toledo have come from less than 2 inches of rain within a short amount of time.

Thankfully areas like Toledo are looking at measures to reduce the impact that drainage systems can have on flooding. Some of these measures include decreasing combined sewer and stormwater overflows

Now let's look at how these clogged drains can impact the transportation infrastructure of a major city.

Round storm drain, off center, surrounded by garden stones

Flooding on interstates has become a bigger problem over the years. You had interstates completely submerged during flooding in Macon Georgia in the 90's. It was the first time where every interstate system going into a city was cutoff by water.

Downtowntown Atlanta, Georgia Skyline.

You have the constant drainage issues that occur in Houston after heavy rains. Then there is I-285 in Atlanta Georgia being shut down multiple times in 2020 as a result of flooding.

So whats the issue here?

Are the drainage systems or clogged drains to blame here?

Maybe and Maybe not.

In the situation with Atlanta each time the interstate has been closed it was a result of clogged drains. The city is working on resolutions to make sure this doesn't happen.

However in the situation with Macon Georgia and Houston Texas there simply was so much water that there simply wasn't anywhere for it to go. Houston has experienced this at least twice in the last 5 years with hurricane Harvey and tropical storm Imelda both ranking as some of the wettest storms in history.

So what can be done to make outcomes like this do not occur again?

Row of concrete conduits on construction site

The constant development of new drainage systems in major metropolitan areas is a first step however as you can imagine these are not cheap or short processes. It takes many years of studying the data to see the impacts financially and environmentally.

So we have looked at drainage systems and clogged drains and the impacts they are having on communities and transportation. However what about your own home?

Are you responsible for the drainage issues on your property or is it a community issue?

It kind of falls on both parties to help mitigate the risk of flooding in these areas. Where you start to see an issue in many situations is when new development or construction starts to take place in your area. It is up to the local community to help hold developers responsible for the possible flooding issues they maybe creating. When it comes to the day to day drainage systems issues on your local property a few steps can go along way.

Like keeping your gutters clear of debris and leaves the same thing can be said for stormwater drains on your property. When these drains are not properly managed they can easily redirect water where it should not be going.

So maybe you have further questions about drainage issues on your property and who is responsible? Maybe you want to make sure your are properly protected with flood insurance? Then make sure to visit our website to get more information on these things. You can also check out our YouTube channel or Facebook page where we do daily flood education videos or even check out our podcast.

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

When you think of coastal flooding what comes to mind?

You are probably thinking about a million dollar beach house right on the water some where in Florida being washed away.

This is the picture that the media has painted for most flood disasters. So its no surprise that when you mention coastal flooding and lake flooding on the great lakes together people look at you like you are crazy.

One explanation for these is everybody associates coastal flooding with oceans and beaches. It brings up the decades long debate on do places like the great lakes really have beaches or a coastline?

perfect sky and water of indian ocean

Lets look at what a coastline and a beach are defined as, first off according to Webster dictionary a coastline is a line that forms the boundary between the land and the ocean or a lake.

According to Websters dictionary a beach is a shore of a body of water covered by sand.

young people group have fun and play beach volleyball at sunny summer day

Now that we understand what a coastline and a beach are it should settle the great debate if the great lakes have a coastline or beach.

So lets take a look at what is changing the landscape of the great lakes and possibly setting up the greatest coastal flooding disaster in 2020.

The great lakes area as well as the rest of the United States had one of the wettest years on record in 2019. Flooding occurred in areas that had not this type of flooding in decades.

End of a public beach along Lake Michigan

You had areas like Nebraska city that were flooded as a result of spring storms and snowmelt.

The state of Iowa had more than $2 billion in flood damage in 2019 and the city of Tulsa was shut down for weeks with flooding on the Arkansas river.

So what about the great lakes area how was it impacted by all this rain fall?

Well there are areas like Marquette, Houghton Lake, and Muskegon that were more than 6 inches above their normal rainfall average. This excessive rainfall continued all the way until the end of the year putting areas like Lake Michigan more than 6 feet higher than its normal average.

The problem is with this amount of rainfall is the water in the ground has nowhere to go and the streams and rivers that it normally runs off to are still full.

An already wet January in areas like eastern Michigan and the city of Chicago have shown us the potential disaster that is setting up for 2020.

Boaters view of Chicago skyline in summer

On Jan 11 2020 Chicago saw waves more than 20 feet high flooding areas like Southern Shores and Rogers Park. Streets crumbled from the pressure of the flood water, cars were washed away and water started to enter homes.

The potential flooding disaster for the great lakes area is setting up for something similar that we saw on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in 2019.

These areas had a very wet 2019 it was one storm after another combined with record snow pack areas. You had areas like Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota that seemed to have flood warnings for 6 months.

Something else that started to occur in 2019 in some of these great lakes area was coastal erosion. Much of these areas use sand dunes to protect against coastal flooding and with this erosion that protection is gone.

Tidal channel along sandy beach after sunrise on Cape Cod, Massachusetts

As 2020 gets wetter and wetter areas along the great lakes like Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland have a greater risk for this coastal and lake flooding.

So what can be done to help prevent or at least minimize this flooding?

Well keeping things like your gutters cleaned out and making sure run off spouts go away from the property are just a few tips.

Man cleaning the gutter from autumn leaves

If you have flood insurance check your policy for loss avoidance. Loss avoidance will reimburse up to a $1000 for preventative measures like filling sand bags and moving property to higher ground.

Something else thats important to understand is the different risk each of the flood zones brings with it. While special flood hazard areas also known as flood zone A or AE do have a greater risk, its important to understand that even if you are not in a mandatory flood zone does not mean your property will not flood.

The outdated flood mapping process has given many people sense of false security. Just ask the 80% of flood victims in Houston during Hurricane Harvey that were told they did not need flood insurance or the many people along the Arkansas river that lost everything in 2019.

Many of these people were also told that flood insurance was not available. If you live in the great lakes area its important to understand that as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program then flood insurance is available for you.

So what if your community does not participate?

Well there might still be flood insurance options available. Lets discuss what two flood insurance options are available in the great lakes area and the Chicago area.

There is the National Flood Insurance Program and then there is the private flood insurance market.

So who qualifies for what?

As mentioned before as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program then you have access to flood insurance through that program. You may also have access to private flood insurance which could provide more coverage at up to 40% less on price.

So do you qualify for private flood insurance in areas like Chicago, Cleveland, or even Toledo?

Well it depends if you have a loan on the property or if there have been flood claims on the property in the past. If you have an FHA loan then the only option currently available for you is the National Flood Insurance Program, you can get a quote by clicking here. If you have another loan type then you have access to the private flood insurance market, you can get a quote by clicking here.

So what about flood insurance claims on the property?

Well some private flood insurance companies will automatically disqualify you if there has ever been a flood claim on the property. Others only look back 5 years on flood insurance claims. Its important when getting a flood insurance quote that you ask these questions. If a claim occurs it could be declined if it is discovered that the property had claims.

So if you want to learn more about how to prevent flooding in the great lakes area then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or Facebook page. You can also tune into our podcast to learn more about mitigating your property against flooding.

 

Contact Us

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com