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Published March 04, 2009, 12:00 AM

Flood insurance up, expected to spike

The latest tally of federal flood insurance policies held by Fargo-Moorhead property owners shows a slight increase from November to February. But a Federal Emergency Management Agency official says the number is expected to spike as the flood season gets closer.

By: Mike Nowatzki, INFORUM

The latest tally of federal flood insurance policies held by Fargo-Moorhead property owners shows a slight increase from November to February.

But a Federal Emergency Management Agency official says the number is expected to spike as the flood season gets closer.

As of a month ago, the number of flood insurance policies in effect in Fargo was 586, or 27 more than at the end of November, according to the most recent FEMA figures available.

Moorhead gained four policies during that period, while Dilworth and West Fargo each added one.

Barbara Fitzpatrick, FEMA’s senior flood-plain management specialist for North Dakota, said that because the policies don’t take effect for 30 days after they’re purchased, the totals don’t reflect the heightened interest in flood insurance spurred by more recent flood forecasts and outreach efforts by state and local officials.

Fitzpatrick said she has received calls at her office at FEMA’s Region VIII headquarters in Denver from North Dakotans asking about flood insurance.

“Just the last few weeks is when I think they started taking it seriously,” she said Tuesday.

Officials from FEMA, the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services and local agencies will share data and answer questions about the flood outlook, preparedness and insurance during a meeting from 6:30 to 8 tonight at the Fargo Civic Center.

“We haven’t done this for a few years because there hasn’t been that high of a threat,” Fitzpatrick said.

One common question is whether basements are covered by the National Flood Insurance Program. Fitzpatrick said if the policy contains both building and contents coverage, it will cover the structure and “equipment that makes their house run” such as the furnace, air conditioner and washer and dryer. Carpeting, electronic equipment and furniture aren’t covered.

At Mac’s Hardware on Main Avenue in Fargo, a handful of homeowners have picked up plastic and rubber plugs for floor drains in anticipation of flooding, assistant manager Doug Wolf said.

“When we had that rain a few weeks back, we sold a lot of sump pumps,” he said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

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