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Federal agency urges flood insurance for at-risk Michiganders

Water overruns the Sanford Dam in Michigan on Tuesday. The National Weather Service called the flooding "extremely dangerous" and said it was caused by "catastrophic failures" at two dams.
TC Vortex via Reuters
Water overruns the Sanford Dam in Michigan on Tuesday. The National Weather Service called the flooding "extremely dangerous" and said it was caused by "catastrophic failures" at two dams.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is urging Michiganders to learn more about their flood insurance plans after a recent set of flash floods across the state.

Along with the recent flash floods, a series of dam failures caused significant damage to communities in the last two years. Among these failures was the Edenville dam collapse in 2018, which caused nearly $250 million in damage to nearly 2,500 buildings in Midland County.

“Flooding is the most common and costly disaster in the United States,” said James Sink, FEMA’s Regional Flood Insurance Liaison for Michigan. “So it’s really important that homeowners and business owners and renters in Central Michigan have that conversation with their insurance agent now and make sure they’re protected from future flood events.”

According to a press release from FEMA, nearly 12% of Michigan properties are at risk of flood damage. As of 2018, 89 of the 1,061 dams in the state were considered to have high hazard potential, which indicates that a failure would be life-threatening for people downstream.

Despite this risk, Sink said most homeowners and rental insurance plans do not include flood insurance.

“Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States,” he said, but “many people do not know that they’re not protected from flooding.”

Scientists have blamed some of the flash flooding earlier this summer on climate change. They said a warming planet makes stronger storms, and the risks are likely to increase in the future.

To learn more about flood insurance, Sink suggested visiting floodsmart.gov.