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How to prepare for flood season when it arrives

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Posted at 5:59 PM, Mar 14, 2023

HELENA — While winter isn't over yet, Lewis and Clark County reminds residents it's time to start thinking about and planning for flood season.

Across the United States, flooding averages a cost of $4.8 billion per event.

There are over 141,000 properties in Montana that have a greater than 26 percent chance of being severely affected by flooding over the next 30 years. This represents just over one-fifth of all Montana properties.

Lewis and Clark County Floodplain Manager, Worby Mcnamee, says his number one piece of advice is to always keep an eye on the weather when getting closer to the spring season.

"This time of year, the weather can change relatively rapidly, and that's the best way that residents will get information as quickly as possible," said McNamee.

Getting hit by a flood can be extremely costly and dangerous if not properly prepared.

Mcnamme says another key thing is to make sure you are prepared for unexpected flooding, including being aware of where you store documents and things like medication if you need to evacuate in a hurry, and having a backup supply of drinking water.

"When it comes to kind of personal protection around the home, elevate important documents, make sure that residents have backup drinking water because floodwaters could potentially harm, well, water, and specifically for county residents that are starting to look into the late spring," said McNamee.

According to the county's floodplain development page, about 25 percent of flood losses occur at properties out of the floodplain, and Mcnamee urges property owners seriously consider flood insurance.

"Flood insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect. So if you you know, you start projecting out and looking at the calendar, we kind of we kind of get to the heart of the spring once those insurance policies would go into effect if they were to act on it today," said McNamee.

Lewis and Clark County claim that the peak of the flood season is during May and June.

For more information on floodplain management, you can visit the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation website.