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Preparing for the flood

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 8:37 AM | Deleted user
Spring is coming (even if it might still look like winter on the ground!) and will be a very welcome change in Minnesota. But while we’re waiting for the daffodils to pop up, we need to be planning for the flood. This year, flooding is likely throughout the Red River Valley and along the Mississippi River

Due to a number of weather conditions, including the colder than usual temperatures, improved drought conditions and heavy snowfalls, the likelihood for flooding is greater this spring than it has been in the past two years. It’s time to prepare for the flood.

Know your risk

Even if your business is not located in a floodplain, you may be at risk for flooding, even if you’ve never flooded before. Twenty-five percent of all flood damages happen in low-risk areas outside of floodplains. FloodSmart.gov can help you determine your risk for flooding.

Be aware that floodplains change with land use. The addition of a nearby landfill or a change in storm-water drainage patterns can change the floodplains. It’s a good idea to follow up to make sure you know if your business is still located within a floodplain or not.

Flood factors to consider
  • Duration of the flood: Will waters recede quickly, or if they will be trapped and increase exposure of your building to flood waters. The longer that flood waters remain, the greater the chance water will breach your facility.
  • Speed of flood waters: The fast flood waters are moving, the more pressure they will exert on your facility. When flooding comes from rivers, waters tend to move very quickly.
  • Depth of flood waters: Flood waters greater than three feet in depth can cause cracks in masonry and increase risk of building collapse.
  • Water conditions: Flood waters contaminated with chemicals or debris increase risk of damage to property.

Flood proofing

Flood proofing means sealing up a building with a membrane that prevents water from entering and might include anchoring it to prevent flotation. This isn’t necessarily right for everyone, but may be a good idea for businesses that are in floodplains or have generally low elevation.

Flood Insurance

Whether you are flood proof or not, flood insurance can protect your business financially in the event of a flood. Check to see if your property or business owners insurance policy covers floods or if you need a supplemental policy, oftentimes you will.  Plan ahead, there may be a waiting period on when your flood insurance policy will take effect.

Flooding can have a particularly damaging effect on small businesses that are not prepared physically or financially to deal with floods. Don’t let spring flooding destroy your business and your summer; start assessing your risk and preparing now.

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