Are you at risk for a flood?

The sight of thousands of homes under water in the aftermath of Katrina was sadly familiar to many Americans. Flooding is a disaster to which few are immune, although many of us delude ourselves otherwise. How safe are you?

The flood season, if there is one, is approaching. Some of our nation's worst floods have come in the late winter, where heavy rains strike ground still saturated and frozen. Ohio, for example, was devastated by such a flood in 1913.

Luckily, there are some tools that make it very easy for you to check your vulnerability. FEMA offers an online map search that will show you the 100-year and 500-year flood plains in your area. Floodsmart.gov, the web site of the National Flood Insurance Program, offers an evaluation of your exposure, as well as a great deal of background about flood expectations and how to insure yourself against this eventuality.

I can guarantee that most of the people you see on the news being plucked by helicopter from the roofs of immersed houses thought it couldn't happen to them. Take a moment to see if you have anything to worry about.

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