Press reelase from Haywood County Emergency Services:
Hurricane Preparedness Week? In the mountains? It’s a common misunderstanding that tropical weather doesn’t affect us here in the mountains. As we saw with Tropical Storm Fred, damaging winds and powerful flooding can have far-reaching impacts well beyond coastal areas.
So yes, even in the mountains it is important to consider our options when it comes to preparing for tropical weather events, like hurricanes, or tropical storms.
Sharon Davies’ situation is a case study of the importance of flood insurance in the mountains.
On August 17, 2021, Tropical Storm Fred flooding took her remodeled 1940s-era cabin and twisted it off its rock pillar foundations, floating it downstream before a cluster of pine trees caught it.
The house managed to hold fast in the trees despite being flooded with six feet of water. Insurance adjusters quickly declared the house a total loss.
Later, engineers determined that despite appearances, the home itself was sound enough that it could be restored if she had the money to do so.
To save the cabin it needed to not only be reset on a new foundation; it also needed to be elevated above the flood plain.
“In my case, I was able to use the [flood] insurance money and elevate the house,” said Davies. “It was a massive operation, but in the end, I was able to restore the original cabin.”
Having taken the time to get flood insurance coverage was what ultimately saved her home, Davies said.
For many working through the initial challenges of learning how the coverage works and how to go about getting it, are the major hurdles.
Back when Davies was first insured the need to obtain an elevation certificate was the first hurdle to getting a quote.
“If you don’t have one for your property already, getting the elevation certificate can seem like a barrier, and it is for many, but once that is done, I found the coverage to be surprisingly affordable,” she said.
Fortunately, under FEMA’s new Risk Rating 2.0 system for determining flood insurance rates, the elevation certificate is now optional, removing what was once a barrier to getting a quote.
Flood insurance premiums vary based on factors like the construction date and flood risk of the property. However, according to www.floodsmart.gov the National Flood Insurance Program’s website, “NFIP flood insurance rates do not differ from company to company or agent to agent.”
Haywood County Emergency Services & Development Services encourage everyone to talk to their insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program and their options, even if you think your home is already covered.
“Haywood County citizens should remember that you don’t need to be in a flood zone to consider purchasing flood insurance, it is available for everyone. The nature of weather is that it is unpredictable. If you are looking for ways to increase your resiliency, assess your individual risk, and make the call to your insurance agent for more information,” said Development Services Manager Jodie Ferguson.
“Flood insurance is an important part of your preparedness options that we encourage everyone to consider, especially in light of the devastating effects of Tropical Storm Fred,” said Haywood County Emergency Management Coordinator Zack Koonce.
For more information about the National Flood Insurance Program visit: https://www.floodsmart.gov/
National Hurricane Preparedness Week is April 30 – May 6, 2023. Watch Haywood County Emergency Services’ Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for more ways to protect your loved ones, home, and property from tropical weather.
Photos courtesy of Sharon Davies.