GLEN ALLEN, VA -- After the Virginia floods of late June and early July, as well as the recent flooding in Shockoe Bottom (Richmond), the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) continue to urge all Virginians to remember that everyone lives in a flood zone.
Strong thunderstorms and concurrent flash floods can occur at any time, anywhere and in a matter of minutes. Individuals far from the coast are at risk of flash flooding that may or may not be hurricane-related.
“Flood insurance is the only protection individuals have against damage from rising flood waters” said Gracia Szczech, federal coordinating officer with FEMA. “Homeowner’s insurance covers strictly wind-driven rain. Any damage that is a result of water rising from below must be covered by flood insurance offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).”
“Although not required by law, residents living away from the coast and outside the high risk flood zones are strongly urged to purchase flood insurance,” added State Coordinating Officer, Michael Cline (VDEM). “Approximately 25 percent of all food claims occur outside of a special flood hazard area.”
In the 10 years from 1996 to 2005, there were 25 federally declared disasters involving flooding in Virginia and only 12 of those were caused by hurricanes. There does not need to be a federally declared disaster in order to make a claim on flood insurance. Claims can be made on flood damage at any time.
Additional examples of inland flooding:
- Tropical Storm Gaston (2004): This storm stalled, dropping 12-14 inches of rain in Richmond in less than 10 hours.
- Hurricane Fran (1996): 14-16 inches of rain fell on portions of inland Virginia.
- Severe Storm (1995): nearly 20 inches of rain fell in areas to the north of Charlottesville.
To purchase flood insurance please contact your local insurance agent, go online to FloodSmart.gov or call NFIP at 1-800-427-2419.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities; works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.