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What Is The Real Cost Of Flooding?



The flooding in Colorado points out a very dangerous flaw in most Americans survival plans.

The majority of people only know that they live in a floodplain, if their insurance requires them to purchase flood insurance. Otherwise most people will take up a “why bother” mentality.

I was told I was absolutely safe from a flood by my insurance agent… but after a little research, I found out that I am only about 1000 yards from the edge of a 100 year floodplain.

The real key here is that the term “100 year flood” is a bogus number, used only by insurance agencies to determine your risk factor for filing a claim…

These “100 year floods” are actually more likely to occur every 30 years (the typical term for a normal home mortgage) and just because you live outside of one of these designated areas doesn't mean you are safe…

This article below found in the LA times, only highlights how unsafe we really are:

Wretched weather continued to hamper rescue efforts in Colorado on Sunday as officials released damage estimates illustrating the magnitude of the disaster.

By the numbers, here's some analysis of what we know about Colorado's floods, along with what we don't:

Number of fatalities: 5

This is the official statewide figure reported by the Colorado Office of Emergency Management as of Sunday evening, but some state officials have hinted that they expect the death toll to rise.

A more informal total of six presumed dead was circulating around the media on Sunday. Larimer County officials said an 80-year-old woman reportedly had been swept away by the floodwaters. If confirmed, she would be the disaster's sixth victim. ( Updated to 8 as of Tuesday 9.17.2013)

But until every river and ruin has been searched, it may not be clear how many people have died.

Number of people unaccounted for: 1,253

This figure, again from the Colorado Office of Emergency Management, was “approximate and changing throughout the day” — a reflection of the confusing and chaotic conditions.

It's not unusual for the number of missing to plunge in the days after a disaster as displaced residents — some of whom are not always aware that they were considered “missing” — get in touch with officials or loved ones.

But what's unusual about Colorado's floods is that this figure has continued to rise in recent days instead of dropping.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, John Schulz — a public information officer for the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office — theorized that the early numbers of the missing were probably artifically low. Law enforcement officials were not really taking names or people were not making reports because the disaster was unfolding and changing so quickly, he said.

As time goes on, more and more people are getting concerned that they still have not heard from friends and relatives, Schulz said; the list may be growing because one missing person's name might have been submitted multiple times, but there is also a sense of panic. Additionally, rain is still falling and flooding has swallowed more and more land, trapping more people.

Number of people evacuated: 11,700

This is another number from state officials that may rise as emergency officials and Colorado National Guard and U.S. Army personnel continue to rescue more stranded residents.

After a disaster, it's common for evacuees to stay with family and friends. But people have needed extra help in Colorado, with state officials reporting Sunday that they had 1,872 evacuees staying in 26 shelters across the state.

Number of structures destroyed: 1,502

Number of structures damaged: 17,494

Number of bridges destroyed: 30

That figure is from the Colorado Department of Transportation, according to the Denver Post, with officials adding that another 20 bridges have been seriously damaged. Joshua Laipply, a CDOT bridge engineer, told the Post that the count may continue to rise.

The bridge washouts have made for some of the disaster's most compelling photos and some of its biggest frustrations.

With evacuations more dependent on helicopters, that means rescues are more at the mercy of the weather: When inclement weather continued on Sunday, 20 military helicopters supporting the relief effort were largely grounded, Colorado National Guard spokeswoman Cheresa Theiral told The Times.

State transportation officials urged travelers to avoid all unnecessary travel on highways and interstates in Boulder, Larimer, Jefferson and Clear Creek counties because the roads may have been damaged or destroyed.

Area affected: 15 counties, inundating at least 2,380 square miles

Of these counties, Larimer and Boulder counties appear to have been the worst-hit. On Sunday, federal officials announced that a total of 15 counties had received presidential emergency disaster declarations, adding to the federal support already being delivered to the state.

About 600 Colorado National Guard and active-duty U.S. Army personnel were assisting local emergency officials with relief efforts, officials said. Federal rescuers had saved 2,100 stranded residents along with 500 pets by air and more by ground over the course of the disaster, guard spokeswoman Theiral said.

And, she said, you can expect those numbers to rise.   ~ view the original article

These are just a few more numbers detailing the damage that has occurred so far…

State bridges destroyed — 30

State bridges damaged — 20

Square miles affected — 4,500 (nearly the size of Connecticut)

Number of search/rescuers — Countless

Aircraft involved in rescue effort – 17 helicopters

Oil and gas wells shut down by energy companies: 4,380

Anywhere it rains, there is the possibility of a flood, but exactly how much can a flood cost you?

Are you starting to see the importance of preparing for a flood?
The most important things to remember are:
* Determine if you live in a floodplain. (they don't make this information easy to find, your best bet would be to call and ask you insurance agent if you live in a floodplain and if they will provide a map and also help you read it)
* If you do live in a floodplain, get flood insurance. (See the above graphic to find out how costly even an inch of water can be without insurance…)
* Prepare a flood kit.
* Know where your community’s evacuation center is. (I would stay far away from these if at all possible, but that is my personal preference…)
Click here to see why an evacuation center is my last resort: http://www.survivallife.com/the-last-place-to-be
* Document all flood damage.
It might take a little time, effort, and research on your part, but the investment will be well worth it should you and your family be faced with such a disaster.
Sometimes, all the preps and planning you have made to hunker down inside your home, just won't work…
Above all of your supplies you need to protect yourself and your family… Everything else can be replaced or repaired.
Sometimes you just need to drop everything and get out.
This is especially true if your area is set for a dangerous flood…
Know the signs and know your plan.
Click here to make sure that you are ready to leave at a moments notice:

Want to know how to deal with floods? Check out these survival tips:

VIDEO: Flood Survival Tips

Flood Survival Tips | How to Survive Natural Disasters

It Never Rains, But It Pours… | Flood Survival

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  1. Jason

    September 20, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Go to your local Public Works building and ask them to pull up your parcel on GIS with the flood plain layer turned on. They should be able to give you a printed map within a few minutes. The maps are based on FEMA Flood Maps and it is available to the public. It’s not that hard to figure out.

  2. Chuck

    September 21, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    In 1969 Southern California has two 100 year storms back to back, a 500 year event. Folks who bought in questionable areas were told by the realtor that there hadn’t been any kind of flood for 30 years and the realtors were right. Unfortunately . . .

    Would you believe that right where the flood waters were raging through in ’69 they are now building a big shopping center, homes and condominiums? There is also three office towers in the flood area. The folks on the top floors of the office towers should be okay. I hope they have a week’s worth of emergency supplies. That’s how long it took the flood waters to recede in ’69. Some of us old timers can’t really believe it, but both the city and the county have signed off on the projects. A five hundred year storm is a statistical probability, you know, statistics, the number crunching that McNamara loved so much during the nastiness in Viet Nam. Statistically you are not supposed to roll snake eyes two times in a row. Well, we all know how that works.

    Yes, go look at the map in the Public Works department. Just remember, these are the guy you see out working on the road where one guy is actually doing something and five or six other guys are standing around. These are the guy that take six men to trim a twenty-foot tall tree. In this county it takes three employees to run a vacuum cleaner. One on the wand, one on the tank and one saying, “Vacuum here; vacuum over there.” So be guided by the maps they produce accordingly. Remember, it was FEMA that said the levees would hold in New Orleans.

    Look at the map and then take a hard look around where you live. Talk to the really old timers in the area. If you see any signs at all that water might have run some place, it has and will again. I don’t care how old and dry the stream bed is. Figure out how high the water has to be before where you live is impacted. If you live in a canyon, how far up the hill from the canyon floor are you? Is your lot on cut or fill? What’s further up the hill from where you live? Yeah, use the government info, but rely on your own assessment and be cautious, extremely cautious.

  3. Chuck

    September 21, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    One thing I forgot. Be extremely careful about gopher or ground squirrel holes. A friend of mine had a nice steep bank behind his house and a gopher hole that ran downhill became the source for an hydraulic stream that created a gully that almost washed his house down the steep bank. Even though he didn’t lose his house, it still cost him a lot of anxious moments and close to $10,000 back in 1970. If you live on a hill, don’t tolerate little burrowing critters. Get rid of them and dig up their burrows and repack the earth.

  4. Marius

    September 22, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    Gee, there is some magic about you and your familly tree?…I mean, you said your Dad was about to sign the mortgage papers for a house in Houston, and hurricane Rita came…Now you took a vacation in Colorado, and Colorado became a disaster area…May I suggest you to make your next trip to Washinghton DC?…Maybe, somehow, a meteorite will strike the area, and we can be free again!…

  5. Great Grey

    September 25, 2013 at 4:12 AM

    Hey Joe you need to know where your community’s evacuation center is, so you can avoid being funneled to it by government road blocks, etc.

  6. eyerollz

    September 28, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    A couple other things to know:
    1. Flood insurance does not cover personal items if they are in a basement in a flood plain. I work in Boulder, CO and hear the stories of people affected by the flood every day. Her family had 4 feet of water in their basement, which was finished. And had National Flood insurance because their house was in a floodplain. It will cover structural and mechanical stuff but not personal because the insurance says you should not use your basement for living in a floodplain. But many homeowners and builders finish basements out here.

    2. A “100-year or 1000-year” flood does not mean that you can relax and figure you won’t see another flood like this in your lifetime. Those ‘TV sound-bite’ names are just that, made for TV. A 100-year flood really means that there is a .01 percent chance of a flood of that magnitude happening in ANY given year. It could happen again next given the right circumstances.

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