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Montanans Should Prepare Now for Spring Flooding

Photo of house windows nearly buried in snow

(Montana DNRC) Recent snow melt is creating localized flooding around the state serving as a reminder that large-scale flooding could be in the future.

Flooding can be experienced across the state, with increased risk in areas around rivers and streams. Communities still recovering from historic flooding on the Yellowstone River in June of 2022 or areas that recently experienced wildfires are especially vulnerable to future flood events.

“Before flood season begins, homeowners should sit down with a trusted insurance professional to discuss their risks and the insurance coverage options available. The cost of insurance versus the risk of loss deters many, but after last year, we are now acutely aware of the enormous potential of loss and damage to homes outside of high-risk areas.” Commissioner Troy Downing said, “Our team is available to answer any insurance-related questions at 406-444-2040 or by going to CSIMT.gov.”

Most homeowners’ insurance does not cover damage caused by flooding and in most cases flood insurance must be purchased 30 days prior to a flooding event. Flood insurance is available in most parts of Montana through the National Flood Insurance Program for property and homeowners, businesses, and renters. Contact your insurance agent to learn more about NFIP policies. Private flood insurance is also available and may offer different coverage options and price points.

“Rising temperatures lead to snow melt and the breakup of ice on rivers and streams, which can cause unpredictable and rapid flooding,” said Traci Sears, National Flood Insurance Program Coordinator at the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. “Spring and early summer storms can exacerbate snow melt increasing the rate of flooding even higher. Montanans should take steps now to prepare for flooding.”

  • Sears advises that Montanans should take a few additional steps now to minimize losses in the event of a flood:
  • Remove snow built up on the rooftops and around foundations of homes and other buildings.
  • Elevate and anchor utilities like propane tanks.
  • Clear debris from gutters.
  • Elevate or move your furniture in the event of a flood to reduce damage.
  • Check and perform regular maintenance on sump pumps to ensure they will work if needed.

It is also important for residents living near a river or stream to have a flood evacuation plan and consider the following steps:

  • Keep extra drinking water on hand. Flooding can compromise local water systems.
  • Have important documents and valuables readily available or where practical, elevate them or put them in a waterproof container. MSN

To learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program, visit. floodsmart.gov/. Contact the Montana Insurance Commissioner’s Office at 406-444-2040 or online at csimt.gov/your-insurance/flood/.

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