Flooding possible in OTC [UPDATED]Published 6:05am Monday, March 25, 2013 Updated 8:09am Monday, March 25, 2013
When it comes to floods, it’s often better to be proactive.
“They need to talk now,” said Fergus Falls Public Works Director Anne Martens. “That’s the thing to stress is they should talk to their insurance agency now. They need to explore their options.”
With Flood Safety Awareness Week just finishing up, it might be the perfect time to talk about options for protecting your property from flooding.
Much of Otter Tail County has seen lots of snowfall, especially lately, during this winter season. When you combine that with the snow-water equivalents, remaining snowfall expectations and spring rainfall potential being above normal, some snowmelt flooding this spring has been forecast by the National Weather Service.
Just because area residents are away from the Red River and the Fargo-Moorhead area does not mean they’re immune to flooding. In Fergus Falls, a likely culprit might be water in the basement.
Martens is not concerned about river flooding this year, because the water table basins are so low. But depending on the weather and rain events, other types of flooding could become a concern.
She suggests residents take the time to assess their own properties in order to protect them. It might require clearing away those snowdrifts from areas near your home, like window wells. Another aid is to have small pumps around to use for the snow melt so water can be diverted, Martens said.
As for the city’s part, they are already thawing out storm drains and will continue to do so, weather permitting. The city also looks to the public; if you see a closed inlet on the streets, call the public works department.
“Their help is definitely appreciated,” Martens said. “But people need to take measures to protect properties. So that when it melts, it doesn’t come into the house. That’s the major concern in Fergus.”
Never fear. There’s always flood insurance. Don’t have it? It’s not too late. You can buy flood insurance 30 days before a flood and still be covered, according to Anne Mullen, owner of Mullen Insurance Agency. She said she’s talked to a lot of people in the area who don’t have, and don’t want, flood insurance.
“I think that they just don’t think it’s going to happen to them,” Mullen said. “Especially in our area. They don’t stop to think… if we get a really warm melt and it comes fast there could be a lot of flooding going on here.”
People with finished basements should definitely look into flood insurance after the snow season we’ve had, Mullen said. Standard homeowners insurance does not cover flooding. Flood insurance covers other things as well, like debris removal, getting your property to a safe place and some reimbursement for sand bagging, according to Mullen.
If you do end up with a flood on your hands – or sloshing around your ankles – without flood insurance coverage, you’re “pretty much out of luck,” Mullen said.