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Spring Time Can Mean Flooding for Mississippi

By Daniel Cherry | Published 27 Feb 2011 10:01am | comments

During severe weather events in Mississippi flooding is often one of the most dangerous threats. In fact the state has more than 30 million acres classified as flood plain. MPB's Daniel Cherry takes a look at one of the most prevalent natural disasters in the state and what you can do to protect yourself.

As the recent weather has proven, it doesn't take very long for a lot of water to hit the ground. spring time is fast approaching and that means more thunderstorms will be on the way. Greg Flynn of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says everyone should take precautions against flooding...even those who live in areas not considered flood risk zones.

"Any where that gets a lot of rainfall in a real short amount of time, if we get three inches of rain let's say in a 4 hour, five hour time frame, the water has to go somewhere and it's going to back up."

Flynn is talking about flash flooding and it's the leading cause of flood damage. One precaution against them is to make sure all drainage areas around the house and street are clear, but sometimes that's not enough. If water levels begin to rise officials say never try to cross floodwater. A small amount can easily knock pedestrians off their feet, but another danger can lie underneath. Flynn says the number two killer during floods is electrocution from downed power lines.

"Once the power lines come down and you can't necessarily see those power lines you'll take a step onto the street, that current is flowing through the water because there's a hot electrical line in there."

Mississippi ranks eighth in the nation for the number of repetitive loss structures, and Flynn says anywhere can turn into a flood zone if the conditions are right. He says the best way to protect yourself is to get flood insurance. Ian Cross is an insurance agent in Jackson. He says flood insurance will be an extra bill, but it's the only way to ensure protection of property.

"Most insurance policies homeowner's and commercial policies have an exclusion for floods and it is a severe exclusion. We will not provide anything for flood coverage."

Cross adds over a thirty year period a person is much more likely to be affected by a flood than a fire. Daniel Cherry...MPB News.

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