With summer rapidly approaching and temperatures rising, flooding is a topic often overlooked in the high-desert climate of Washoe County. However, this is the exact time of year that the Washoe County Community Services Department is reminding residents to prepare for localized seasonal flooding and secure their flood insurance before it’s too late.
In Washoe County, climate, geology, and hydrology combine to create chronic conditions where rivers and streams flow outside their normal course and overspill. More than 16,000 properties in Washoe County are within a special flood hazard area. County flood mitigation specialists are available to help residents determine their property flood risk, and CSD offers four actions to help reduce the impact of flooding:
- Make an emergency plan: Your health and safety is the number one priority in a flood. Sign up for emergency evacuation alerts so you know when it’s time to pack up and go. Know where the closest sandbag location is have a shovel ready to take with you. Assemble an emergency kit and establish a family emergency plan so everyone in your household knows what to do and where to go in the case of a flood.
- Prepare your property: Visually inspect drainage structures and ditches. Clear debris in the spring and fall, and after a significant storm. Install properly designed improvements such as pipes and ditches to protect your property from flooding.
- Protect your property: Floods happen, but you can minimize the effects with some home improvements such as replacing carpeting with tiles or other flood-resistant materials, installing flood vents, and using flood-resistant insulation and drywall that can easily be cleaned and sanitized. Be sure to hire a licensed professional who is familiar with flood-protection techniques. Make sure that you obtain a building permit prior to construction.
- Invest in insurance: Washoe County property owners and renters are entitled to a reasonable rate on flood insurance because Washoe County is a member of the National Flood Insurance Program. Flood insurance is required for properties within a special flood hazard area, but all property owners may benefit. Property owners can insure their buildings and contents, but not driveways or landscaping, and renters can insure their belongings.
Washoe County has collected a number of resources and in-depth information to educate and prepare residents for seasonal flooding. Visit the website for more information. If you have questions about the flood risk of properties within unincorporated Washoe County, please contact Washoe311 by calling 3-1-1 or emailing Washoe311@WashoeCounty.gov.