Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
Show All Answers
Flooding can occur during any season in Michigan. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) estimates that 90 percent of all natural disasters involve flooding. A small amount of water can bring a tremendous amount of damage, and many property owners are unaware that their properties are at risk for flooding. A home located in the floodplain has a four times greater risk of flooding than burning during the course of a 30-year mortgage.
What's worse: many property owners don't realize that their homeowners' or property owners' insurance doesn't cover flood damage. To be covered from flood damage, one must purchase National Flood Insurance through an insurance agent. Consider that even just an inch of water can require a property to replace carpet, drywall, floor boards, moldings, doors and other belongings. Additionally, clean-up of mud and residue can be costly, as can repairing any mold and mildew damage that may occur.
To help calculate flood damage that might occur to your home, visit FloodSmart.gov, and click on the link to learn more about "What Could Flooding Cost Me?"
Flood damage is excluded in nearly all homeowners and renters insurance policies but, if desired, can be purchased as a separate policy.
Any licensed property/casualty insurance agent can sell a flood insurance policy. If you experience trouble in locating an agent, contact the National Flood Insurance Program's agent referral program at 888-CALL-FLOOD. You can also locate an agent by filling out your "One-Step Flood Risk Profile" at FloodSmart.gov.
There is a 30-day waiting period before a new or modified flood insurance policy becomes effective. You can also locate an agent by completing your "One-step risk profile" at FloodSmart.gov.
It is important to note that nearly 30% of all flood claims come from outside the "100-year-floodplain" as determined by the National Flood Insurance Program. The fact that a property is outside of the "legal" floodplain does not mean that the river or stream can't still reach that property. You do not need to live in a floodplain to purchase flood insurance - coverage is available to any building located in a community that has qualified for the National Flood Insurance Program. For a listing of Michigan communities participating in the NFIP, you may visit Fema.gov.
Find the current flood maps for your area.
Coverage for water back up in basements (drains/sewers) is excluded from the flood insurance policy.
Although basement water back up is excluded under most homeowners' insurance policies, coverage can be obtained by purchasing an endorsement. Most insurance companies offer sewer and drain back up as optional coverage. Coverage and limits vary by insurance company, so check with your agent/company about specifics. Some insurers include full coverage for sump pump failure while others specify items that are covered.
First, determine "What's Your Number?" by learning the flood stage at the stream gage nearest you. This information is available through the National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services website.
Then, determine the level at which floodwaters begin to affect your property. This step may take research or personal experience to determine, such as talking to neighbors to find out how high the river was during recent floods, and at what point flooding began in your neighborhood. Each neighborhood and each property has its own unique terrain and placement to consider when determining this factor, and it is safest to err on the side of caution.
Preparing your household for a flood involves steps that will improve your readiness for many different types of disasters. Give yourself plenty of time to evacuate by developing an emergency kit including first aid supplies, a three-day supply of non-perishable food, bottled water, a battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries. Also, have personal items ready like rubber boots, a rain jacket, warm clothes and hygiene and sanitation products.
Contact your local emergency management office to find out how your community notifies residents of floods and how it will issue evacuation orders. Make a commitment to follow evacuation orders the first time to help prevent emergency personnel from having to return to the affected area for a rescue when travel is no longer safe.
Research indicates the majority of flood-related fatalities occur when cars become trapped on roads that are known to flood. To prevent this, follow instructions from emergency personnel and before a flood happens talk to neighbors, emergency personnel and others to determine when and where flooding typically occurs on access roads leading to your home. Know what roads you regularly travel and whether or not they will flood, and plan alternate routes when needed.
Research the flood-proofing options available to you. Can you install a quick-disconnect furnace, or elevate electrical and mechanical equipment? Are there steps you can take to alleviate pressure on your structure and to prevent extensive damage to doors and windows if flooding does occur? View additional information about protecting your property from floods.
Before a flood or other emergency strikes, designate a safe place away from your home where your family members can all meet. Make sure that all family members know the location, you have a plan for contacting each other, and you have an emergency kit ready to take with you. In addition, it is important to know whether your child's school or family members' work place is in a flood zone. If so, what provisions are in place to ensure their safety?
Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. For information on keeping your family safe before, during and after a flood, please visit the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness website.
A severe thunderstorm produces large hail that is one inch in diameter or larger, damaging winds of 58 mph or greater, and/or a tornado.
A tornado is a column of violently rotating winds extending down from a thunderstorm cloud and touching the surface of the earth.
A funnel cloud is also a column of violently rotating winds extending down from a thunderstorm; however, it does not touch the earth as a tornado does.
Michigan experiences an average of 15 tornadoes annually. Since 1950, 243 persons have been killed due to tornadoes. During this same time, Michigan has experienced 1,009 tornadoes.
Most tornadoes occur during the months of May, June, July, and August primarily in the late afternoon and evening hours. However, tornadoes can occur anytime of the day or night in almost any month during the year.
Tornadoes generally travel from the southwest at an average speed of 30 mph. However, some tornadoes have very erratic paths, with speeds approaching 70 mph.
The average Michigan tornado is on the ground for less than 10 minutes and travels a distance of about five miles. However, they do not always follow the norm and have been known to stay on the ground for more than an hour and travel more than 100 miles.
A tornado or severe thunderstorm watch is issued whenever conditions exist for severe weather to develop. Watches are usually for large areas about two-thirds the size of Lower Michigan and are usually two-to-six hours long. Watches give you time to plan and prepare.
The NWS will issue a special marine warning for the Great Lakes and the connecting waterways when a strong or severe thunderstorm develops or moves over the water. The special marine warning is issued for boaters, both recreational and commercial. For residents and visitors of Michigan’s many coastal communities, the special marine warning provides valuable information about a storm that is about to move onshore.
A NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards with battery back-up capability is your best source to receive the warning. In some areas, civil emergency sirens may be your first official warning. In addition, if your television or radio has battery back-up capability, you may receive NOAA’s National Weather Service warnings from local media.