How To Prepare For Flooding Before A Storm (Plus Flood Maps)

Check Your Local Washington Weather Report

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Read Cliff Mass – professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington

Prepare for Flooding – Determine If You Are In A Likely Flood Zone

Is Your Washington State Property Located In A Flood Hazard? Check the Washington State Flood Hazard Map for your home or business address to see if you are at risk. You can enter your exact address, anywhere in Washington State, and this Flood Hazard Assessment Tool will indicate where flood hazards exist near you.  Note: Even if you are not in a ‘normal’ flood zone, heavy rains can flood almost anywhere.

Click For Searchable Flood Hazard Map (Washington State)

Prepare for Flooding – Before The Flood

Know The Difference Between Homeowners Insurance vs Hurricane Insurance vs Flood Insurance

How To Prepare For Flooding Checklist:

  • Reduce the risk of damage from flooding by elevating critical utilities, such as electrical panels, switches, sockets, wiring, appliances, and heating systems.
  • In areas with repetitive flooding, consider elevating the entire structure.
  • Make sure basements are waterproofed and your sump pump is working. Then, install a battery-operated backup in case of power failure.
  • Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.
  • Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Anchor any fuel tanks.
  • Move furniture, valuables and important documents to a safe place.
  • Store copies of irreplaceable documents (such as birth certificates, passports, etc.) in a safe, dry place. Keep originals in a safe deposit box.
  • Build an emergency supply kit. Food, bottled water, first aid supplies, medicines, and a battery-operated radio should be ready to go when you are. Visit for a complete disaster supply checklist.
  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation route. Ask someone out of state to be your “family contact” in an emergency, and make sure everyone knows the contact’s address and phone number.
  • Make a pet plan. Many shelters do not allow pets. Make plans now on what to do with your pets if you are required to evacuate your residence.


What Is The Difference Between Homeowners Insurance and Hurricane Insurance and Flood Insurance? Flood insurance, generally covers water coming into your home from off of your property. Hurricane insurance is for wind damage, not flooding, from a storm over 74 mph, ie a hurricane. Once winds drop below 74 mph, i.e., a tropical storm or less, any wind damage would most likely be covered under your homeowners’ insurance. Again, your property insurance, generally, covers wind and water damage from in other situations.

Yeah… Hurricanes Hit Washington State – The Columbus Day Storm:  The Columbus Day Storm of 1962 (also known as the Big Blow, and originally as Typhoon Freda) was a Pacific Northwest windstorm that struck the West Coast of Canada and the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States on October 12, 1962. It is considered the benchmark of extratropical wind storms. The storm ranks among the most intense to strike the region since at least 1948.

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Washington And Flood Insurance:  In case of flooding, like if the stream overflowed or in Washington, we have a lot of mountains and there’s heavy rain and the water flows down in the hill and goes into your home, that’s flood insurance. It’s not covered under homeowners or hurricane typically. Many people think that because they’re not in a flood zone and their vendor doesn’t require flood insurance that they don’t need flood insurance, but as the flood insurance program says, most flooding often occurs outside of a flood zone, so people should consider that as additional coverage and purchase it.

There Is A Waiting Period Before Insurance Takes Effect: Imagine you are watching local news and the weather report says a major hurricane has just changed course and is coming for your home. So you get on the phone with your insurance agent and order hurricane insurance. Most insurance policies impose an up to a 30-day waiting between the time you buy and the time coverage takes effect.

Do You Need Flood Insurance? If you live in a potentially affected area — which could include everything from a home on the coast near a fragile levee that sees frequent floods to one downhill from a stream that hasn’t flooded in years — you probably should buy a separate flood insurance policy to cover your home and its contents.

25% Of Floods Occur Outside Flood Zones: According to FEMA, almost 25% of all flood insurance claims come from areas with low-to-moderate flood risk. The good news is that you’ll qualify for a preferred-risk policy. The premiums for this type of policy start at about $150 per year (for both property and contents).


From KHON2



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