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Snow Melt Can Prompt Flooding

Release date: 
April 17, 2006
Release Number: 

SALEM, Ore. -- From the Pacific shore to the central valleys and eastern high desert, Oregonians face the risk of flooding during spring – the time of year when the warming sun begins melting the winter snow pack. And, snowmelt is not the only cause of spring flooding. April showers may bring May flooding.

“The stage is set for spring flooding. Statewide, our snow pack is about 136 percent of average,” said Christine Valentine, state National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Coordinator. “Until the hard, frozen ground completely thaws, any melting snow or rainfall cannot readily penetrate into the ground, and the resulting run-off can overfill streams, rivers and lakes.”

Autumn and winter are the seasons for most flood damage in the Pacific Northwest; however, spring floods have been the cause of more than 8 percent of all NFIP claims here since 1980.

Individuals are the first line of defense in protecting against flood losses. Before the threat of flooding becomes imminent, flood mitigation experts advise individuals to:

  • Purchase a flood insurance policy. Homeowner insurance policies do not include flood loss.
  • Review homeowner policies carefully, and become familiar with what is and is not covered.
  • Make a flood plan. Plan evacuation routes. Keep important papers in a safe, waterproof place.
  • Itemize and take pictures of possessions.

“It is less expensive to prepare and protect your investments against losses before a flood than to have to suffer the full financial loss after the fact,” said Federal Emergency Management Agency NFIP Coordinator George Currin.

Consumers may call 1-888- 379-9531 (TTY: 800-427-5593) or visit to learn about potential risks and how to prepare for floods and protect homes and property, how to purchase a National Flood Insurance policy, how to find an insurance agent and how to obtain a premium estimate.

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

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:41