Living in a high desert, it’s easy to forget that many neighborhoods in Reno/Sparks as well as the Carson Valley have been deemed high risk areas for floods. After such a dry winter last year, the possibility of a flood seems impossible. But you need only need to think back to New Year’s Day 2006 to recall the devastation our beloved Truckee River can do.

Floods in a Desert?

Many Northern Nevada residents aren’t aware that the Reno/Sparks is actually a flood plain for the Truckee River. And according to the United States Geological Survey, the Reno-Carson river basin experiences a major flood every 3-10 years. That’s pretty often!

Know the Facts

If you are in a position to do so, flood insurance would be a wise investment. Many people aren’t aware that if flood insurance IS NOT included in a homeowner’s insurance policy, and must be purchased separately. Flood insurance is available to ALL homeowners (and renters!) regardless of weather or not your home is located in a flood zone. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is currently working on a complete overhaul of assessing flood risk maps. This means that when you bought your home, you may have not lived in a flood area but now you might!

While flood insurance seems unnecessary living in a high desert with only 7 inches of precipitation annually, consider this- one-third of flood insurance claims came from outside high-flood-risk areas last year. Also, your home is twice as likely to be damaged by a flood than by a fire.

Protect Your Investment (and yourself!)

Take city and emergency officials’ warning about flooding seriously. If sand bags are available, use them to protect entrances. It is also a good idea to make sure gutters and eaves are clean of leaves and other debris, so that they can do their job of draining. In case of evacuation, have a family evacuation plan and disaster preparedness items ready. Upon evacuation, be sure to shut down utilities, which ensures the safety of you and other emergency personnel.

Remember, 6 inches of fast moving water can knock someone down. Avoid walking in flood water, as dangerous items like broken glass may not be visible and flood water may contain chemicals or sewage. NEVER drive through moving flood waters! Only a small amount of water exposure can damage a vehicle and render it inoperable, which could trap you in rising flood waters! Don’t forget this helpful saying- “Don’t Drown, Turn Around!”

For more information regarding flood insurance, please contact one of our agents.

For more flood information, visit the Truckee Meadows Flood Awareness website.