At last week's National Weather Service (NWS) La Nina Forum in Seattle, NWS Climate Prediction Center director Ants Leetmaa noted that La Nina conditions may well last into March 2000, impacting weather patterns across the Pacific Northwest.
"Severe weather happens every season and is not restricted to any one part of the country. NOAA's National Weather Service urges everyone to become familiar with the forecasts for the areas where they live, work and vacation," said Leetmaa. "Be prepared to take steps to protect your life and property! People who try to defy Mother Nature's threats are putting themselves in jeopardy."
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regional director David L. de Courcy agrees. "November traditionally heralds the onslaught of our rainy season here in the Pacific Northwest, and La Nina could well exacerbate local flooding," said de Courcy. "The very best protection for businesses and homeowners is a combination of prudent mitigation and preparedness, and National Flood Insurance. But, buy it now! It takes 30 days for coverage to become effective."
According to de Courcy, flood insurance payments are independent of state or federal disaster declarations, exceed the monetary amounts available through traditional disaster assistance programs and loans, and best of all, don't have to be paid back!
"We can't stop floods - or other natural disasters from happening. But we can and must, as individuals and communities, take responsible actions to make ourselves more disaster-resistant before disaster strikes," continued de Courcy. "In fact, FEMA's Project Impact: Building Disaster-Resistant Communities initiative is all about doing just that: forging local partnerships, prioritizing hazards, pooling resources and taking action to enhance disaster resistance."
For more information about the NFIP, call toll free: 1-800-427-9662. To learn about Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities visit http://www.fema.gov/, or call: 1-800-480-2520.