Raising awareness of the dangers of flooding

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- This week is Virginia Flood Awareness week, focusing on the risk of flooding and protecting property with insurance.

Governor Ralph Northam proclaimed this week in order to encourage people to learn about the dangers associated with flooding and how they can protect their families, businesses and communities.

"Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, yet most Virginians are not aware of their risk or prepared for the devastating impact a flood could have," said Northam. "Recent record-breaking rains remind us how unpredictable and destructive flooding can be. I urge all Virginians to understand how flooding could affect them and take the appropriate precautions to protect their property and their families."

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation has an online tool called the Virginia Flood Risk Information System that can help people learn about their flood risk.

Residents can input their address and find out if their home or business is located in a flood plain or see maps on flood insurance rates.

Property owners who live outside of mapped high-risk flood areas tend to file more than 20 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program claims, receiving about one-third of federal disaster assistance from flooding incidents.

However, the National Flood Insurance Program says only three percent of Virginians have flood insurance, and most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover damage from flooding, surface water or storm surges.

Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler says recent increases in rainfall and extreme weather events put people at risk if they live in a high-risk zone or not, so it is prudent to research a flood risk plan.

For more information, click on the links in the Related Links box.

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