POSTED: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 5:45pm
UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:58pm
Floods are consistently the most common, costly and deadly natural disaster Americans face each year—ninety percent of all natural disasters in the nation involve flooding and Louisiana residents cannot afford to ignore this threat. Flood Safety Awareness Week (March 16-20), is a perfect time to consider local flood risks and learn important information about steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.
“Because homeowner policies in Louisiana do not provide coverage for damage due to floods, it is important to look into getting a separate flood insurance policy, no matter where you live in the state,” said Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. “All it takes is a few inches of water to cause major damage to your home and its contents.”
Many in Louisiana believe that flooding is localized to coastal areas and low lying areas designated as a ‘flood zone.’ However, there are many flood risks to consider including hurricanes, rapid accumulation of rainfall, over flowing rivers and lakes, broken levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems and building and development, which can change the natural drainage creating new flood risks.
Louisiana is no stranger to flooding. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused a 15-20 foot storm surge which inundated the coast and, along with the failure and overtopping of levees, flooded 80 percent of the city and damaged 275,000 homes. Katrina caused over $100 billion in damage and took more than 1300 lives. However, Louisiana’s hurricane flood risk is not limited to the coastal regions. As hurricanes move inland and are downgraded to tropical storms they create heavy rainfall which can cause flooding to many areas of the state.
Last spring Louisiana residents living along the Mississippi River had concerns over the river flooding its banks due to the spring snow thaw and heavy rains along the northern parts of the Mississippi River.
“ Ask your insurance agent about purchasing a policy with the National Flood Insurance Program,” Donelon adds. “But don’t wait until a storm is coming to purchase flood insurance. It may take 30 days after purchase for a flood insurance policy to go into effect.”
In partnership with NOAA, the NFIP has developed a webpage featuring an interactive map depicting historical information about how floods have impacted millions of Americans in recent years. The site also provides tools and resources for understanding your risk and knowing what to do: before a flood, during a flood, and after a flood. To learn more about Flood Safety Awareness Week and to utilize these resources, click here .