Flooding Resources

As the days warm, become longer, and we enter tornado and severe weather season, this is a reminder to be ready for all the seasonal hazards, including possible flooding from the melting snow and rainfall. Flooding is one of the most common and most costly natural hazards in our state. In 2020 St. Croix County experienced one of the worst flash floods, taking one life, displacing many from their homes and businesses, and costing millions of dollars in damages throughout the county. While we cannot always stop waters from rising, the following information and tips can help improve safety.

If you are experiencing an emergency dial 9-1-1.

Are You in a Floodplain?

A floodplain is an area of land that is adjacent to a river, stream, or other water source that is susceptible to flooding during periods of high-water flow. Floodplains are typically flat or gently sloping and are located downstream from areas where rainfall or snowmelt runoff collects. During heavy rainfall or snowmelt, the water can overflow the banks of the river or stream and flood the adjacent floodplain. This can cause damage to structures and property in the area.

Mapping tools from FEMA and our St. Croix County Geospatial Team can help us get a better understanding of how flooding can impact our area.

Know Your Flood Risk

It is important to know what bodies of water are in a neighborhood such as streams, creeks, rivers, or lakes, and to know if it is being protected by a levee or dam. When you know the flood risks in the area, you can know what to watch out for and what areas to avoid should you need to evacuate. Waterways can overflow and cause flooding if they are blocked with debris or ice, if there is intense rainfall or high snowmelt, or from storm surge inland. Excessive rain and snowmelt can lead to flash flooding in urban areas and can overwhelm drainage systems and cause flooding. 

  • Get to know potential flood risks in your area. You can use the FEMA map linked above.
  • Find an evacuation route that avoids flood risk areas if possible. 
  • Keep window wells clear of debris, clean gutters and have downspouts extend out several feet from your home.
  • Check your sump pump regularly to ensure it is working properly.
    • If you have a basement that is prone to flooding, remove valuable property. Never keep something in a basement you are not prepared to lose.

Get Flood Insurance

Purchase flood insurance to offset the cost of damage, reduce your financial risk and allow you to recover more quickly after a flood.  If you don’t qualify for a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program, inquire with private companies for rates. Most policies require 30 days before they take effect, so the time to act is before there is a risk of flooding. 

Learn more about flood insurance

Write an Emergency Plan

Write an emergency plan and build a preparedness kit. Make sure your family knows what to do if you need to evacuate quickly. Have copies of important documents, such as medical records, insurance policies, and other financial information, stored in a safe location and inside a waterproof case. An emergency preparedness kit should consider the five Ps: 

  • people and pets
  • prescriptions
  • papers
  • personal needs
  • priceless items

Learn how to make your own emergency kit

Stay Alert and Know Where to Find Resources

Have multiple ways to receive alerts about dangerous weather conditions, such as a NOAA weather radio, trusted local news outlets, and mobile weather apps.

A graphic showing how to build an emergency kit including, water, food, and medical supplies.