Jamie Spaulding, Publicity Marketing Specialist, Fort Collins Utilities
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Fort Collins Utilities is sponsoring Flood Awareness Week (FAW), July 21-27. Individuals are encouraged to learn how to be “flood ready” through flood risk education and to take steps to minimize personal, financial and environmental loss.
Northern Colorado, including Fort Collins, typically experiences monsoonal moisture during the last two weeks of July and first two weeks of August, which can lead to slow moving storms and heavy rainfall. Flooding in Fort Collins also can occur as a result of snowmelt in the spring and intense thunderstorms at any time.
Community members need to know the risks and the steps to take to protect themselves, their families and property. Floodplain maps change frequently due to infrastructure improvements and updated mapping. Currently, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is remapping the Poudre River. Preliminary maps for the Poudre River are expected in 2019. Interactive floodplain maps can be viewed at fcgov.com/floodplain-maps.
Flood insurance is an important consideration. Remember, flood insurance covers floods; you don’t have to be in a floodplain to get flooded; and everyone in Fort Collins can purchase flood insurance. Recently, the City of Fort Collins was awarded a FEMA Community Rating System Class 2 rating. This rating has resulted in Utilities’ Stormwater program ranking in the top one percent of programs nationwide, which benefits customers who can qualify for up to a 40 percent discount on flood insurance. Learn more at fcgov.com/flood-insurance.
To help residents stay informed and be prepared, Utilities operates a flood warning system with 75 streamflow and precipitation gauges located throughout the Fort Collins area. When the gauges exceed a set level, Utilities and Office of Emergency Management personnel are notified. Real-time data can be viewed at fcgov.com/floodwarningsystem and on smartphones.
To further increase safety, all Larimer County residents are encouraged to sign up for free emergency notifications on landlines, business phones, cell phones and via text and email messages at leta911.org. Residents also can follow Utilities’ social media updates (@FCUtilities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
Other tips can be found at redcross.org/prepare where you can learn to be “Red Cross Ready:” get a kit; make a plan; be informed. In the event of a flood, never drive through floodwaters. Less than one foot of flowing water can float a vehicle.
During Flood Awareness Week, mailers with flood hazard data, emergency preparedness tips and additional information will be sent to floodplain residents and property owners. A list of 14 flood safety videos is available on the Utilities website and on FCTV (fcgov.com/fctv). Informational displays and handouts can be found at 14 locations throughout the city, including libraries, Colorado State University and City facilities. Visit fcgov.com/flood-safety for videos and display locations.