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East Coast Winter Weather Patterns Can Increase Risk Of Flooding

Prepare Now and Protect Your Family, Your Home and Your Finances

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® encourages families on the East Coast to understand their unique winter flood risks and prepare now to protect property and possessions from flood damage.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please visit: http://www.multivu.com/mnr/59680-federal-alliance-for-safe-homes-flash-winter-weather-flood-risk

Floods are a year-round hazard and the risks do not end when cold weather begins. Heavy seasonal rains and snowmelt often lead to flooding during the winter months. Even areas that receive less snow and rain this winter season might experience drought-like conditions that ultimately can lead to flash flooding when it does rain.

"Floods don't have a season. Areas in the Northeast are vulnerable to floods due to hurricanes, as we saw with Superstorm Sandy, but winter brings its own threats with nor'easters, snow melt, and heavy rainstorms," said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, FLASH President and CEO. "Because homeowners insurance doesn't typically cover flood damage, families need to consider purchasing flood insurance now as a standard flood insurance policy typically takes 30 days to go into effect. They should also start now to take measures to protect their homes from costly flood damage."

Winter in the eastern United States consistently delivers intense winter storms, known as nor'easters, that tend to form between October and April and travel up the Atlantic seaboard. These storms can produce heavy rain and snow, along with wind-driven waves that batter the coast from the Carolinas to Maine, causing severe flooding and beach erosion. Nor'easters have the potential to cause as much damage as hurricanes. Coastal areas are particularly at risk this winter as Superstorm Sandy damaged many of the dunes that protect against storm surge. Other common winter weather events, such as heavy snowfall, ice jams and rapid snowmelt caused by fluctuating temperatures, all can increase the likelihood and the severity of localized flooding.

The good news is that there are simple steps families can take to address these risks. First, they should visit www.flash.org to find ways to make their homes more resistant to flood damage. Families also should have an emergency supply kit with items such as non-perishable food, water and a flashlight with batteries, and a family emergency plan that considers their insurance coverage, especially flood insurance. Everyone should visit FloodSmart.gov to learn about flood risk and flood insurance.

Many people mistakenly believe that their homeowners insurance covers flood damage. Only flood insurance financially protects properties from flooding, the nation's most common and costly natural disaster. It only takes a few inches of water in a home or business to cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage. The time to get protected is now.

Between 2007 and 2011, the average flood claim was more than $33,000. That's more than many flood survivors can afford to pay out of pocket for damages due to flooding. While no one wants to experience a flood, with federally backed flood insurance, residents have an important financial safety net to help cover costs to repair or rebuild if a flood should strike.

Flood insurance is available through approximately 85 insurance companies in roughly 21,000 participating communities nationwide. Homeowners, renters and business owners can purchase flood insurance.

Last year, more than 20 percent of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program were for buildings located outside mapped high-risk areas. In these areas, lower-cost Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs) start as low as $129 a year.

Learn more about flood risk and options for insurance coverage by visiting FloodSmart.gov or by calling 1-800-427-2419.

SOURCE FLASH

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