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Survivor Story Illustrates the Importance of Flood Insurance During Hurricane Season

July 2022

Too many people think flooding only happens somewhere else—or to someone else. It’s always been true that anywhere it can rain, it can flood. But “never before” and previously rare weather events are becoming increasing common and severe.

Flood survivors’ experiences bring home how quickly, how unexpectedly, and how seriously flooding impacts families and businesses. Here is a story from North Carolina that demonstrates the value of flood insurance during hurricane season.

Hurricane Flooding on an Historic Scale

New Bern, North Carolina, is where the Trent and Neuse Rivers meet and feed into the Pamlico Sound, making the area vulnerable to flooding. Residents Tony and Rita Morello knew a hurricane was coming as they headed out of town for a family reunion. But they never expected their town to be one of the first areas affected and among those hardest hit by the Category 4 Hurricane Florence.

The Morellos came home to discover that 30 inches of floodwater had damaged their home and ruined their possessions. In a town where nearly 800 homes and businesses were destroyed, the Morellos were among those wise enough to have flood insurance. They worked with a claims adjuster the day after they returned and received their insurance payment within three weeks.

“We would have been out on the street if not for insurance,” Tony Morello said. “We would recommend that anyone get flood insurance. It’s a dollar well spent – there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

This hurricane season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting an “above-normal” season for the seventh consecutive year. All property owners should prepare this hurricane season with emergency plans and supplies. They should also consider the best preparation of all: flood insurance to protect their homes, their nests and the lives they have built.

To support and protect your community, get involved in FloodSmart’s hurricane season campaign by promoting the resources on your social media platforms and networks. Use the hashtag #FloodSmart.gov and visit FloodSmart.gov.

This article first appeared in the quarterly Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter.  Subscribe here

Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the federal government provides links and informational data on various disaster preparedness resources and events and does not endorse any non-federal events, entities, organizations, services, or products. Please let us know about other events and services for individual and community preparedness that could be included in future newsletters by contacting  FEMA-prepare@fema.dhs.gov .