There's a saying about April showers, and since the county experienced a wet winter, there is a good possibility that trend will continue into the spring. With rain comes the potential for serious flooding; however, according to the Commonwealth of Virginia, 97 percent of Virginians do not have flood insurance.
It is important to recognize that flooding is a real threat even for those who don't live near low-lying areas or in a flood plain. In addition to the potential loss of life during flooding, there is significant risk of property damage or loss when the waters rise. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, one inch of flooding can cause about $27,000 in damage to a home.
"Most homeowners and renters' insurance policies do not cover flood damage. So, it's worth looking into getting flood insurance," said Brian Misner, the county's Emergency Management Coordinator. "Flood insurance typically takes 30 days to go into effect, so it might be wise to contact an insurance agent to discuss options before spring's wet weather arrives. You can also visit www.FloodSmart.gov
To find out your flood risk, enter your address in the Virginia Flood Risk Information System
In addition to looking into getting flood insurance, there are a few tips safety officials recommend for county residents and business owners.
Families should have an evacuation plan that includes pets, a fully fueled car, emergency kits and go bags, and a way to receive warnings from the National Weather Service, such as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radio. People can also sign up to receive emergency notifications from the county at www.pwcgov.org/alerts
During flooding, people should leave areas subject to flooding and look for higher ground. Remember that six inches of running water can knock over and carry away an adult, so keep children and pets away from streams and creeks. Additionally, water from excessive rainfall or flash flooding can contain untreated sewer overflow, petroleum and other products.
Just 12 inches of water can float a small vehicle, so "Turn Around Don't Drown"
is the motto to follow when roads are flooded. Driving through flooded roadways can also be hazardous because flooding may have damaged or washed away the road. More than 50 percent of flood deaths occur in vehicles. If your vehicle stalls in flood water, get out and move to higher ground. If you can't get out safely, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For more information on flood safety, visit pwcgov.org/ready
or the Department of Public Works' Flood Awareness page here