Otter Tail County Spring Flooding Preparations Underway
James Allen | Feb 14, 2020 AT 11:59 am
Current soil & moisture conditions throughout Otter Tail County, along with outlooks of continued above normal precipitation suggest flooding conditions throughout the region this spring are more likely than a typical year. However, significant flooding is not yet certain.
Otter Tail County Emergency Manager Patrick Waletzko says, “there is still a lot we don’t know, and we continue to monitor, but the signs are there and we’re not waiting to be ready.”
Waletzko also says the pre-emptive effort officially kicked off on February 3, with county officials working to prepare for whatever comes by meeting with the National Weather Service, MN Department of Natural Resources, Farm Service Agency and other partners to look at conditions stretching back to summer 2019, along with perspectives on past years with similar conditions.
In addition to talking with experts about possible impacts, the County is also taking steps to ensure residents have information and resources at their fingertips to prepare themselves for potential impacts. A flooding specific webpage has been created on the county website with information about flood insurance, septic system protection, fuel oil tank preparation, sandbagging, and more flood-specific resources. In addition, a postcard is being sent out countywide to help direct residents to these resources.
Waletzko emphasized that as residents prepare for possible flooding, the county wishes to share the following important details:
• Otter Tail County does not have flood zones or designated floodplains; your property may still be at risk for flooding.
• Rivers throughout the county do not have a substantial history of flooding. As a result, flood stage predictions cannot be formulated such as exist on the Sheyenne and Red Rivers.
• Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flooding; residents should consider purchasing a flood insurance policy. Policies must be in place for 30 days prior to an incident. Contact your local insurance agent or visit floodsmart.gov for more details.
• Please be aware of flooded roadways and to avoid driving or navigating through flood waters with any type of vehicle.
Visit ottertailcountymn.us/flooding for the latest information and resources on this spring’s snowmelt and flood response and recovery operations.