Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster, but most Virginian's aren't prepared. Floods aren't limited to mapped flood risk areas or during hurricane season (June 1-November 30). Anywhere it can rain, it can flood.
Before the flood, create a go-bag in case you need to evacuate quickly. Include first-aid items, non-perishable foods, three gallons of water per person for three days, battery-operated radio for weather reports, extra batteries, and personal hygiene necessities. Click here for more information from VDEM.
Get Flood Insurance
All homes have some flood risk yet only 3% of Virginians have flood insurance. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, ONE INCH of flooding can cause upwards of $25,000 in damages to a home. Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically do not cover flood damage. Because it takes 30 days for flood insurance to go into effect, it's important to plan ahead. Buy flood insurance now, so that your property is covered. Contact an insurance agent or visit FloodSmart.gov to discuss options.
Reduce Your Risk
There are also many ways to reduce your home's risk of flooding (see this brochure from FEMA). Not all of them are difficult or expensive. Here are some examples:
- Ensure ditches, storm drain inlets and stream channels are free of debris to allow the free flow of water.
- If your house is on a crawl space, installing flood vents or break-away walls would help reduce the pressure on exterior walls by allowing water to freely flow in and out of the crawl space.
- If it is too costly or just impractical to lift the entire house, consider lifting the HVAC unit, ductwork, plumbing or electrical meter.
Turn Around Don't Drown
Never attempt to drive through a flooded road, the depth of water is not always obvious. Click here for more information. Before driving, visit www.511Virginia.org or call 511 for real-time traffic information and road conditions.
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation website has information about flood awareness, insurance and preparedness. You can also get information about Virginia's flood zones using the Virginia Flood Risk Information System (VFRIS). The VFRIS helps communities, real estate agents, property buyers and owners determine an area's flood risk.
The City of Winchester offers an online interactive GIS map for information about Winchester's floodplain.
For more information about the City of Winchester floodplain, please contact City Engineer Kelly Henshaw at (540) 667-1815, ext. 1481 or email.