April showers might bring May flowers, but the rain can cause problems too. Heavy downpours may lead to flooding.
In Henrico County, more than 1,000 homes sit in floodplains. Another 7,000 experience problems with drainage.
According to Steve Yob, Henrico’s deputy county manager for community operations, many of those are older homes in established parts of the county.
“At the time they were constructed, there really were no rules to prohibit them from being built where they are. Today, we would not allow it,” Yob explained.
Henrico’s Department of Public Works spent the past decade compiling details about flooding problems across the county. The information will help lead to a solution.
“We know where the issues are. We know how many homes are impacted. Now that we have that information, we can start working on the problem,” Yob said.
Included in the 2021-22 proposed county budget is more than $1.5 million to help address floodplain and drainage issues.
Residents can do their part, too.
“It’s important that residents know their flood risk so that they can protect their property,” added Kristin Owen. She’s the county’s floodplain and dam safety manager.
March 14-20 is Virginia Flood Awareness Week. Owen suggests this is a good time for residents to determine if their home is located in a floodplain. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a map that shows areas with a higher flood risk, but the county created a more detailed version. Henrico is one of just two counties in Virginia to map the additional floodplains.
“We went above and beyond the FEMA mapping system to protect our residents,” Owen explained.
Yob noted that there are homes located in floodplains in the county that likely do not have flood insurance.
“That could become a serious problem if the home gets flooded. A homeowner’s policy will not cover the damage without flood coverage,” he said.