This week the northern part of our state was pounded by rain. The worst of the flooding hit Duluth, Minn., – where a whopping 9 inches of rain fell over the course of a single day. Many people in that area suffered extensive damage to their homes and property. Businesses were damaged. Roads were destroyed.
When the rains hit, my family and I were in the town of Grand Rapids, Minn., where flash floods had caused water to rise up to the wheel wells of cars. We were able to safely navigate home, where we received about 4 inches of rain. Fortunately, our home stayed dry.
This was the first time I had seen flash flooding like this since 1999, when I was a newspaper reporter. At the time, I lived in a 2nd floor apartment building and did not realize the damage was as extensive as it was until I got to work. While I hate to see any kind of devastation, I’m grateful for the lessons that it taught me about preparing for the unexpected.
I learned – as the people of Duluth will learn – that there is no quick fix to something like a flood.
- Most homeowners don’t have insurance coverage for the damage caused by the floods.
- Government aid may come, but it will not come quickly for individuals.
- Those who were prepared recovered much more quickly.
This week’s flooding is a solemn reminder of how critical it is to have an emergency fund. While money in the bank won’t make the rain go away, it can be used to purchase or rent wet/dry vacs, fans, and mold/mildew remover. It can make sure that your family has safe drinking water. It can ensure that you are able to find food and a temporary place to stay.
The flood is also a reminder of the need to have a plan. Many communities in the area are without cell or internet service. Others are without electricity. You need to make sure that you have a way to communicate with family and that you have an ample supply of non-perishable foods.
May this event also be a reminder to evaluate your homeowner’s insurance and determine if flood insurance is right for you. Do a video inventory of the contents of your home and store it offsite in a secure location.
My heart goes out to all of those who have been affected by the flooding this week and I hope that you are able to recover quickly. I wish we didn’t have to learn our lessons about being prepared this way.