What you need to do to prepare for spring flooding

Posted at 11:11 PM, Mar 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 01:11:19-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY – Are you prepared for a flood? As part of Flood Safety Awareness Week, the National Weather Service and State of Utah are reminding residents of ways to prepare for a flood as our snowpack melts.

“We’re going to have very high flows this year, we have enough snow in the mountains that`s going to produce very dangerous flows, very cold swift-moving water is going to be coursing through all the waterways throughout Utah,” said Brian McInerney, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

As the temperatures go up, so does the risk for flooding here in the Beehive State – and while experts don’t anticipate any major flood threats, there are yearly risks they said residents should be aware of.

“Where it rains, it can flood,” McInerney said. “One inch of water can cause $26,000 of damage in a home.”

The Utah Department of Public Safety also urges homeowners to check their insurance policy.

“[What] citizens don’t necessarily know is that their homeowner’s insurance does not cover flooding,” said Kathy Holder, the state flood plan manager with the Division of Emergency Management.

“They're paying 20, 40 to 50,000 dollars or more in damage,” Holder said. “And they’ve having to put it on a credit card or take out a loan because they didn’t have flood insurance and they thought that their homeowner’s insurance would cover it.”

The Division of Emergency Management said there are a few basic things people can do to prep their homes.

  • Clean the rain gutters on your home, as well as the gutters along your curb
  • Make sure all rainwater flows away from your home
  • Trim landscaping to ensure water flows away
  • Make sure your water boiler is raised off the ground, allowing for a small flood without damage
  • Know the flood risk in your neighborhood.

“If we look at our flood risk areas, we have high-risk areas that are called ‘special flood hazard areas,’ and then we have medium or low-risk areas, that are also out there in the state,” Holder said.

However, Holder said, even low-risk areas aren’t in the clear.

“I've seen it happen, it doesn't matter if it was one of those high-risk areas or low-risk areas, these homes are flooding and they're having to pay out of their pocket,” said Holder.

You can find more information on flooding in Utah here.