Sure, many homes and families on the Middle Peninsula have never experienced the devastation that comes with flooding. But the times are changing.
While all the water in our rural coastal Virginia region is a tremendous source of pride, economic value and enhances our quality of life (you don’t have to walk or drive far in any direction to hit the shoreline), the sea level is rising. The storms keep coming. And it’s vital for homeowners to protect their property.
Put simply, for most residents on the Middle Peninsula, whether you can see water outside your back door or not, you could be at risk of flooding.
Fight the Flood on the Middle Peninsula connects property owners facing rising flood waters with tools and funding to contract with specialized businesses who can help evaluate, design, and build solutions to FIGHT THE FLOOD.
Read on for more and to apply for financial assistance.
Understanding Flood Insurance
Why do you need flood insurance?
Put simply, floods are the most common natural hazards. In fact, 90% of all natural disasters in the U.S. involve some type of flooding. While not every flood is catastrophic, the smaller, more frequent flooding events that plaque the Middle Peninsula and rural coastal Virginia degrades infrastructure and can damage roads and building foundations over time. Communities suffer school closures, traffic interruptions, and continuing cost and inconvenience due to this “nuisance flooding.” Degraded infrastructure (think septic tanks and sewer) results in heightened public health risks. The list goes on.
National Flood Insurance Program - further information on getting insured.
Virginia's Floodplain Management Program - Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Anywhere it can rain, it can flood. Period.
High-risk areas, including many parts of the Middle Peninsula, have an increased chance of experiencing a flood over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Over the past 70 years, heavy rainfall events have become more intense and frequent in our area and will only continue to increase. Based on previous records, it is also likely that water levels will be higher than the average daily high tide when a rainfall event occurs.
But it’s not just rain we have to worry about. Another concern is storm surge.
And then there’s the nuisance or “sunny day” flooding that can be caused by high tide and the direction the wind is blowing.
In the average one-story house with 2,500-square-feet, one inch of water inside the home could mean $23,000 house costs and more than $3,000 personal-property costs.
So how do you protect yourself?
There’s lots of options, and they all start with an evaluation of your flood insurance.
Did you know flood insurance pays whether or not federal disaster assistance is available? And federal disaster assistance is only available after a Presidential Disaster Declaration. What’s more, even if a Presidential Disaster Declaration has been made, the money offered through disaster assistance is typically a low-interest loan that will need to be paid back, and if you do qualify for a grant, it will most likely provide much less than you would need to recover. The fact is, while the maximum amount FEMA can grant is $30,000, the average payout for Hurricane Sandy was $8,016.4
There’s also work you can do to mitigate the effect of flooding on your property and to your home.
You can’t always stop the water from coming, but you can slow it down and reduce the damage it may cause.
Think living shorelines, resiliency projects, and more.
Understanding Financial Tools
All of that sounds good, but it sounds expensive? That may be what you are thinking if you’ve read this far.
It doesn’t have to be. Thanks to regional, state and federal programs, grants, loans and special discounts and funding are available through the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission thanks to this Fight the Flood program. Want to learn more? Get access. It’s free.
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