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FEMA Says Now is the Time to Sign Up for Flood Insurance

Hurricane season is officially here, and FEMA is encouraging residents across Virginia to get flood insurance now before it’s too late.

This hurricane season is expected to have anywhere from four to eight hurricanes. That’s according to the folks at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Add to that two to four major storms this year, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Literally, as in like a FEMA disaster declaration. And don’t think you’re safe because you don’t live near the Atlantic Ocean or the Roanoke River.

“It can flood anywhere," says Will Powell at FEMA. "Anywhere that it can rain, it can flood. 98% of U.S. counties have had a flood event at some point.”

Flood insurance policies usually take a month to go into effect. So Powell says go ahead and make sure you have a policy now, before it’s too late. And don’t expect the federal government to bail you out. 

“One inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage," he explains. "But the average FEMA individual assistance grant is on average $5,000. Insurance covers a lot more of the damage.”

You can see what kind of danger you’re in by visiting the FEMA’s online Flood Map Service Center. Just type your address in to see what the risk of flooding is at your property.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.