Zion Canyon Real Estate Blog

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Flood zones in the Desert??! Seriously now!

Flood zones in the Desert??! Seriously now!

This is one of those inspection items that could easily be missed and really sting you later. Many people think that S. Utah is a desert state and therefore no chance of flooding. S. Utah is more likely to be thought of as a “lack of water” situation. However, I came into S. Utah later in my life and saw three major floods. When the rivers and creeks get swollen they do get swollen! Big time! I have heard of homes that had water running off the mountains and the natural drainage was through the home. The big thing non-local folks don’t always realize is that with raging rivers it isn’t just the water. The raging rivers bring large trees crashing through, mud, debris. Essentially, anything in its path.

One of the floods we saw homes that were well away from the river up on a bank go into the river, one by one. The river became so swollen that it eventually slid over to the bank and ate the sandy bank out from under the homes. These homes were not necessarily covered by Flood Insurance. You need to read your flood insurance carefully. Even though your home may be lost or damaged as a result of flood waters the language in these policies is such that not all damage is covered. Please have it explained well to you if you buy a property in a potential flood area. If you are within a mile of any waterway or in an area with drainage areas off the mountains ask your Realtor to procure for you the latest FEMA flood zone map. These maps are readily available by a good engineering firm. You may also choose to hire an engineer to look specifically at your property and advise you.

Flood insurance is a separate policy from your homeowners policy. They are not inexpensive so look at your situation closely before moving forward with your purchase. Your mortgage may require this policy before they lend any money on the home.