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Keep floods in mind

This week is Virginia Flood Awareness Week, and that means it’s a great time to get brushed up on lots of pieces of information, from how easily floodwaters can carry your vehicle away to the flood risk at your home or business.

“Floods can happen without warning and all Virginians should know their risk,” Gov. Ralph Northam stated in a press release on Monday. “As Virginia addresses climate change and sea level rise, flooding remains one of the greatest risks to people and property across the commonwealth. I encourage Virginians to consider ways they can reduce risk and learn about how they can protect themselves through preparation and flood insurance.”

Most homeowners are surprised to learn that flood damage is not covered by their standard homeowner’s insurance; they must purchase separate flood insurance in order to be covered. It’s a good investment; it is estimated that only one inch of water in a home can cause more than $25,000 in damages. Without flood insurance, homeowners could be left paying the recovery costs out-of-pocket.

Even so, currently only 3 percent of Virginians have flood insurance, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.

Also in the realm of flood awareness is encouraging people to learn more about how dangerous running water is. According to weather.gov, too many people die due to misjudging the power of moving water or their ability to navigate flooded areas. Flooding is the second-leading cause of weather-related fatalities in the United States after heat, and half of all flood-related deaths happen in vehicles caught in flood waters and swept downstream.

A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock an adult off their feet and carry them away. Twelve inches of fast-moving water can carry away a small car, and 18 to 24 inches of fast-moving water can carry away most large SUVs, vans and trucks.

If you come across flood waters, keep in mind that it’s difficult to judge how deep the water really is and keep in mind, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”

For more information about Virginia Flood Awareness Week, visit www.dcr.virginia.gov/floodawarenessweek.