FEMA warns Montana, Nevada residents of increasing flood risks

Winter brings more than just cold temperatures. It also brings an increased flood risk and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is warning residents of Montana and Nevada to prepare now -- well ahead of rising waters. This year, predictions for La Nina call for an even wetter-than-average 2007-2008 winter season in parts of the Northwestern United States, including Western Montana. The time to prepare for this year's rainy season and possible associated flooding is now...

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2007 -- Winter brings more than just cold temperatures. It also brings an increased flood risk and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is warning residents of Montana and Nevada to prepare now -- well ahead of rising waters.

This year, predictions for La Nina call for an even wetter-than-average 2007-2008 winter season in parts of the Northwestern United States, including Western Montana. The time to prepare for this year's rainy season and possible associated flooding is now.

"Recovering after a flood can be overwhelming. With flood insurance, you have the financial support to get back on your feet as quickly as possible," said David Maurstad, Assistant Administrator of Mitigation and Federal Insurance Administrator for FEMA. "Too often, people mistakenly think flood damage is covered by a homeowner's policy. Flood coverage must be purchased separately, and there is typically a 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy becomes effective."

Many Montana and Nevada residents may face an even greater risk of flooding this year due to summer wildfires that burned nearly 800,000 and 900,000 acres, respectively, across the states. This year's wildfires follow a decade of significant fire seasons -- and the third year in which fires burned around a million acres or more in parts of Nevada. After a wildfire, the charred ground where vegetation has burned away cannot easily absorb rainwater, increasing the risk of flooding for a number of years. Properties directly affected by fires and those located below burn areas are most at risk, including properties located outside of high-risk flood areas.

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