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Above-average Hurricane Season is on the Horizon. Understand Local Flooding Risks and Learn how to Protect your Home at GetFloodFluent.org

Above-average Hurricane Season is on the Horizon. Understand Local Flooding Risks and Learn how to Protect your Home at GetFloodFluent.org

Get Flood Fluent LogoOfficials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are predicting a 65% chance of an above-average Atlantic hurricane season for 2022, with 14-21 named storms and 6-10 hurricanes. The team behind Getfloodfluent.org wants to know:  Are you and your home prepared?

“In addition to securing your home and evacuating when advised, there is another crucial step to take before severe weather arrives; get flood insurance,” said Ben McFarlane, a senior regional planner with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC). “The emphasis is on planning now, rather than later, due to the 30-day waiting period before your flood insurance policy goes into effect.”

Launched in 2019 by the HRPDC, with advice from local planners and emergency managers, the GetFloodFluent.org initiative separates facts from fiction when it comes to flood insurance in Hampton Roads. The website and region-wide awareness campaign educates about the dangers of flooding, using easy-to-understand language, an interactive challenge to assess your flood “fluency,” and video testimonials from residents whose homes were devastated by flooding.

“The damage of just one inch of water in your home can cost more than $25,000 in repairs,” McFarlane said. “You can hope that flood waters will not reach your residence, or you can protect yourself and your belongings from devastating loss by purchasing flood insurance.”

Updated Flood Risk & Coverage Calculator

A hallmark of GetFloodFluent.org is its Flood Risk & Coverage Calculator, which can help residents determine their flood zone and the cost to insure their home and belongings should flooding occur. McFarlane and his team are revamping this feature to align with FEMA’s update of the National Flood Insurance Program’s risk rating methodology, called Risk Rating 2.0. When the updated GetFloodFluent.org calculator launches this summer, residents will be able to obtain a more targeted and unique estimate, taking into consideration the home’s distance to a flooding source, ground elevation, first-floor height and foundation type.

In the meantime, the GetFloodFluent.org site has a wealth of information to help Hampton Roads residents understand the impacts of local flooding and take steps to protect their home. Among the tips, McFarlane suggests that homeowners can:    

  • Manage rainfall on their property. Make sure gutters are clean; have downspouts direct water away from the home toward grassy areas; add and use rain barrels; and keep a proper grade around the foundation.
  • Install flood vents. This will help the water flow through the structure if flooding occurs, preventing structural damage to the foundation.
  • Use French drains. Dig a slightly sloped trench and fill it with gravel and a pipe to divert water away from your home.
  • Create a rain garden. Select and plant native, deep-rooted species in a shallow depression near flood-prone areas, to capture and absorb rainwater and runoff.
  • Plant trees and shrubs. Plants stabilize the soil and soak up rainwater, preventing rapid run-off that can overwhelm ditches and stormwater pipes.
  • Build smart. Add new structures outside the flood risk area, elevate critical systems like HVAC compressors, and consider usingpermeable patio pavers, stone, crushed shells or gravel in place of sidewalks and paving.

In advance of threatening weather, it is also important for residents to store important items at higher elevations in their home, know their evacuation zone (which is different from their flood hazard zone), avoid walking and driving in flood waters and stay up to date on the latest weather conditions.

Hampton Roads residents can check back this summer to access the updated Flood Risk & Coverage Calculator. For more tips and information about flooding and hurricane preparedness specific to the region, visit www.GetFloodFluent.org.

Picture of a street sign surrounded by floodwaters with houses in the background