HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Hurricane season starts June 1 and with it come warnings from federal and local agencies on the risks of flooding. Homeowners are being advised to take flooding precautions.
“Where it can rain it can flood,” said David Maurstad, Senior Executive with FEMA.
The start of hurricane season is a reminder to Rio Grande Valley residents about the risks of flooding.
But it’s not just the weather playing a factor in this risk, it’s the drainage across parts of the RGV as well.
“Cameron County in their drainage districts are currently looking at cleaning out all the drainage areas,” said Tom Hushen, Cameron County Emergency Manager.
Hushen says debris in canals and in other drainage sites can impact the flow of water and lead to severe flooding.
“We have people that will do illegal dumping in some of the canals and drop, you know like mattresses. Remember that culvert is underneath the street and when a mattress gets sucked into that culvert, it will clog it. Once it gets clogged, all the water does is back up,” said Hushen.
Hushen also said while significant improvements have been made to drainage across the RGV, the chance for flooding is still high.
“When you start talking about a storm surge and you’ve got a hurricane coming in and it’s dropping 12 to 14 inches of rain, we’re going to have some flooding,” he said.
It’s the storm surge that can cause the most damage. David Maurstad with FEMA says it doesn’t take much rain to leave you with some costly repairs.
“One inch of water can cause up to $25,000 worth of damage to the home which makes it even more important for people to understand the value associated with a flood insurance policy,” said Maurstad.
FEMA advises getting flood insurance as soon as possible as most policies do not go into effect immediately.
“Generally speaking, it’s a 30-day waiting period. So if I buy my policy today if a flood happens in the next 10 to 30 days, my coverage hasn’t started yet.” Maurstad said.
When it comes to preparing, officials say it is best to remain weather aware and take the proper precautions.
“Tune in and get legitimate weather people to come in and tell you what’s going on. If you hear a warning or you hear a watch, take it seriously, because you may have very little time,” added Hushen.