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Spring Rains and Approaching Hurricane Season Mark Time for Flood Awareness Across Mississippi

By Rhonda Miller | Published 18 Mar 2011 06:09pm | comments
Biloxi Flood Plain Manager Rick Stickler explains the Flood Insurance Rate Map.

Whether you live near the Gulf, the Mississippi River or a ditch - it’s time to think about flood prevention - and flood insurance. MPB's Rhonda Miller reports that flood awareness is not just about hurricanes.

Don’t think you’re safe just because your living room is dry today. Biloxi Flood Plain Manager Rick Stickler says the time to get ready is now.

"These isolated thunderstorms could cause flooding in areas that have never flooded before," Stickler says. "Flooding is not just a Gulf Coast issue."

Stickler said the risk of flooding applies to all areas within the city of Biloxi and statewide.

"If you have any type of drainage around your house and that water would become fouled and back up, you could take water in your home," he said.

Flooding can begin in a simple way.

"I believe one of the first and foremost causes of flooding in urban areas are the grass clippings and debris that accumulates in ditches and drains," he said.

Then there’s the big issue - flood insurance.

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said in a press release this week many people are not aware their standard homeowner policy does not cover flooding. Chaney said flood insurance is a wise investment, with an average policy costing about five hundred dollars a year. But don’t wait ‘til the waters rise, because flood insurance takes 30 days to go into effect.

Linda Ryan is an agent at Lemon Mohler Insurance in Ocean Springs. A lot of her work involves flood insurance.
"Some people think you can’t get it if you’re not in a flood zone and that’s not true," she said.

Ryan says there’s sticker shock for some property owners with the 2008 Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
"You would go from $365 a year to $1300 a year for the same coverage…big jump," Ryan said.

Her advice: If you’re building near water, elevate. The higher the elevation of the house, generally, the cheaper the flood insurance. 

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Biloxi Flood Plain Manager Rick Stickler explains the Flood Insurance Rate Map.


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