MRPC News Release

For immediate release
April 24, 2017

For more information, contact
Tammy Snodgrass at (573) 265-2993 or tsnodgrass@meramecregion.org

Spring, summer rains can mean flooding in Missouri; flood insurance can cushion the blow


META—Settled in the fork of Sugar Creek and a wet weather tributary off of Sugar Creek, Meta has an increased risk of flash flooding when the spring and summer rains begin. In the past, severe flash flooding along the tributary and Sugar Creek caused damage to several homes and property. However, major flooding can occur at any time of the year and cause millions of dollars of damage over a wide spread area. Home and landowners should get ready for the rainy season by making sure their flood insurance is up-to-date and in force.

While severe flooding usually comes in cycles, it is not limited to certain decades or areas, warns the National Weather Service. Since January 1993, Missouri received 30 disaster declarations involving flooding that exceeded local and state response capabilities, marking the most recent for the flood event from Dec. 23, 2015, through January 2016. Each year, Missouri communities experience numerous localized flooding events that do no merit a federal disaster declaration.

Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) serves as the floodplain administrator for the city of Meta and is available to answer questions.

National Flood Plain Insurance Program (NFIP)

If there is not a federal disaster declaration, flood insurance is the only financial protection for personal losses. Flood insurance is not provided in the basic homeowner’s, business or tenant’s policy. Flood insurance  must be purchased under a separate policy through your local insurance agent in participating communities.

In Missouri, 666 cities and counties participate in the NFIP, with nearly 500 having a moderate to high concern for flooding. When a community enters the NFIP, it agrees to regulate floodplain development; in return it makes affordable flood insurance available to property owners in that community. Other important facts about NFIP, include:

  • Homeowner insurance policies do not offer protection against flood losses. Homeowners, business owners and renters can purchase flood insurance as long as their community participates in the NFIP.
  • You do not have to live in a high-risk flood area (or floodplain) to buy flood insurance. In fact, 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from medium or low-risk flood areas.
  • If you live in a high-risk flood area, you are four times more likely to have a flood than a fire during the term of a 30-year mortgage.
  • You can buy flood insurance from any licensed insurance agent. You may call 1-800-427-2297 or go to floodsmart.gov to find an agent serving your area.
  • Flood insurance coverage is available for residential and business structures and contents.  If you have a home-based business, you’ll need to purchase separate coverage for the business and/or contents. Coverage is not automatically included under a homeowner flood insurance policy, even if the business is located inside your home.
  • Renters can purchase contents coverage for personal belongings.
  • There is a 30-day waiting period from the time the initial premium is paid until the time the policy becomes effective.
  • A flood insurance policy reimburses you to certain limits for actions taken to prevent flood damages. These actions can include moving the insured contents to a safe place and/or the cost of purchasing sandbags, plastic sheeting, lumber, pumps, ect.
  • Flood insurance claims are paid regardless of a federal disaster declaration.
  • Flood insurance will reimburse you for your covered losses and never has to be repaid, unlike a disaster assistance loan.
  • If your home or business qualifies for the Preferred Risk Policy, premiums may be as low as $177 per year.

Thinking about a construction or renovation project?

Meta residents need to know that a floodplain development permit may be required if you are planning construction or substantial improvements to structures located within a floodplain. This includes rehab work to homes that have been flooded.

“If you are planning to build any type of structure or improve existing structures, you need to determine if you are in a floodplain, and we can provide floodplain maps to help Meta residents do that,” said Tammy Snodgrass, MRPC assistant director and environmental programs manager. “If your lending institution is requiring you to purchase flood insurance, that is a good indication that you may be in an area susceptible to flooding, and you most definitely need to contact us. The sooner you find out, the better.”

Knowing whether a construction project or renovation is taking place in a floodplain allows for design changes to take into consideration the eventuality of a flood causing serious damage to property.

If structures are out of compliance with NFIP, the local jurisdiction could lose its ability to participate in the flood insurance program.

Protecting your home now from future flood damages

Anyone who has experienced flooding may have also cleaned out basements filled with sewage and water, torn out wet drywall and carpeting, or replaced water heaters and furnaces. The following inexpensive mitigation measures make these damages less costly:

  • Elevate or relocate water heaters, furnaces and major appliances. It is much easier to relocate these appliances to the first or second floor of a home. If they cannot be relocated, then you need to elevate the appliance to one foot above the base flood elevation (100 years) if known, or at least 12 inches above the high water mark from the highest known flood. Some heating systems can be suspended from the ceiling.
  • Raise electrical panel boxes, circuit breakers, wall switches and any electric outlets to one foot above the base flood elevation (100 years) if known, or at least 12 inches above the high water mark from the highest known flood.
  • To prevent sewer backups, install a backflow valve either inside or outside the structure.
  • Install floating floor drain plugs at the lowest point of the lowest finished floor to allow water to drain. When the flood drainpipe backs up, the float rises and plugs the drain.
  • Anchor heating fuel tanks to prevent them from floating, overturning or breaking loose in a flood. Metal structural supports and fasteners should be non-corrosive and wooden structural supports should be pressure treated.
  • Check with your local building code officials and floodplain manager before starting any construction in a floodplain.
  • Take photographs or a video of your home and all contents and store the documentation in a safe place. This is helpful if you have to file an insurance claim or seek assistance following a community-wide disaster.
  • Consider flood insurance if you are in an area conducive to flooding, as standard homeowner policies do not cover flood damage.
  • Visit Floodsmart.gov to learn more.
  • Visit nws.noaa.gov/floodsafety/ to learn more about preparing for a flood.

With spring rains beginning, flooding is a real possibility. Being prepared before a flood occurs can prevent significant property damage.

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 25, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.orgor on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion/.

 

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