Tropical Weather System Floods South Texas

tropical-weather-nh-14-1024x604Last week the entire Texas coastline has been drenched with heavy rains resulting in flooding in many areas with several Texas cities reporting rainfall totals in excess of 12 inches.

According to a release issued by the Insurance Council of Texas (ICT), The National Weather Service in Brownsville reported last week’s storm system in south Texas was the result of “an elongated upper-level disturbance” which has been moving slowly across the Texas coast.  Widespread flooding has been reported in many areas of the Rio Grande Valley.  First responders have been called on numerous water rescues from vehicles and homes in the area.

The highest total rainfalls occurred in Harlingen with 16 inches and 8 to 13 inches were reported in Los Fresnos, Weslaco, Mercedes and north Brownsville.  Valley International Airport reported more than 9 inches of rain over a 2 ½-hour period, and one hundred sixty miles away, Corpus Christi has received 14 inches of rain since the storm began Tuesday.

Barry Goldsmith, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist in Brownsville, said tropical moisture behind the storm system intensified the heavy rainfall.  “Colliding boundaries from these bands of moisture produced several thunderstorm systems that intensified the upper disturbance along the coast,” said Goldsmith.

“Especially along the Texas coast, flood insurance offers homeowners the protection they may need when tropical storms stall and the area is deluged with rain,” said Mark Hanna, an ICT spokesperson.  “This has not been an isolated storm. We have seen flooding from Brownsville to Corpus Christi and flash flood warnings posted throughout southeast Texas.”

In many areas of Texas coast, only a small percentage of homeowners have flood insurance.  Only 12 percent of the homeowners in Brownsville and Cameron County have flood insurance, while 20 percent of the homeowners in Corpus Christi and Nueces County have flood coverage.  Hanna said the area’s economy and consumers underestimating their risk of flood, often plays a role in how many homeowners actually purchase flood insurance coverage.

Remind Your Clients…

The basic Texas homeowner policy does not provide protection against rising water. You must purchase a separate flood insurance policy. You can live outside a designated flood zone to be at risk for flooding. The massive flooding resulting from Hurricane Harvey last year showed how extensive rainfall can result in flooding well outside designated flood plains.

Hurricane season began June 1 and the peak of the hurricane season in Texas occurs in mid-September.  This is the time you should be checking your coverages and looking at buying flood insurance. There is a 30-day waiting period before a flood policy becomes effective. Homeowners living along the Texas coast should consider purchasing three insurance policies for full protection:  a homeowner policy, windstorm coverage (if not included in their homeowners’ policy), and a flood insurance policy.

Most flood insurance is offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) under FEMA.  An NFIP flood policy offers coverage up to $250,000 for the structure of the home and up to $100,000 for one’s personal property.  Upon purchase, it takes 30 days for a flood insurance policy to take effect.   For more information on the National Flood Insurance Program, click here: https://www.floodsmart.gov/

For more information, ICT has online resource pages with information on Hurricane Harvey and other flood insurance facts,   ICT Hurricane Central

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