Vail issues reminder about flood insurance coverage
It takes 30 days for a new policy to take effect
With the snowmelt season approaching, the town of Vail is issuing its annual reminder to area property owners to review their current insurance policies and consider adding flood insurance to the coverage. As of April 15, Vail snowpack levels are at 85% of normal, while Copper Mountain, which is indicative of the Vail Pass area, is at 125% of normal.
Similar to last year, recent warm temperatures caused area snowpack to begin to melt, leading to increased streamflows in Gore Creek. With colder temperatures over the past few days, Gore Creek has seen a slight dip in stream flows, which will be expected to rise back to normal as temperatures rise again.
Spring runoff in Vail typically peaks between late May and mid-June, but flood conditions can occur at any time, especially when there are sustained cool temperatures, which hold the snowpack, followed by sudden sustained warm temperatures.
An interactive map identifying the locations of sand distribution points, high-water checkpoints, historic flood areas, Federal Emergency Management Agency data, and more can be accessed from the town of Vail Flood Preparedness site at vailgov.com/flooding. The maps indicate the approximate floodplain locations in Vail, and can be used as a reference for homeowners to determine whether their property is located near a floodplain area.
A minimum 30-day waiting period may be required before a new flood policy comes into effect. Insurance rates are based on FEMA’s official Flood Insurance Rate Maps. Copies of these maps are available for review by appointment at the town of Vail Public Works Department, 1309 Elkhorn Drive or may be ordered by calling 1-877-FEMA-MAP (336-2627) or available at http://msc.fema.gov. The town of Vail is a member of the National Flood Insurance Plan, which allows every property owner in Vail the option to purchase flood insurance, regardless of the property’s location.
Vail-area streams most prone to flooding include: Black Gore Creek near The Heather and Gore Creek at the intersection of Bridge Road and Lupine Drive in East Vail; Mill Creek near Mill Creek Drive in Vail Village; Red Sandstone Creek near the Brooktree Condominiums; and Buffehr Creek from Circle Drive to the North Frontage Road in West Vail. As the weather warms, police and public works crews will begin daily water level checks at approximately 90 locations throughout town, including culverts, catch basins and bridges. Nightly checks are added to the rounds once the peak runoff season hits. Town staff also coordinate with Eagle River Water & Sanitation District personnel, who check manholes and vaults that are located near waterways, as well as mains that cross above creeks.
The town will also provide free sand material and empty bags upon request for residents and businesses who wish to safeguard their property from the possibility of high water. Call the Vail Public Works Department, 970-479-2158 to make arrangements.
Homeowners interested in adding flood coverage to their insurance policies are encouraged to call their insurance agents to check availability. In addition, the National Flood Insurance Program offers information on floods and flood insurance, including local agents who provide the coverage, online at http://www.floodsmart.gov. Residents are also reminded of the importance of being prepared for any emergency by assembling a kit containing a three-day food and water supply, as well as medications, toiletries, pet supplies, flashlight, radio and extra batteries. Visit http://www.ready.gov for more recommendations on personal emergency preparedness. To receive real-time public alerts for emergencies in Vail or Eagle County, sign up at http://www.ecalert.org.
For more information on Vail’s flood maps, contact Tom Kassmel, town of Vail floodplain administrator, 970-479-2235. For countywide information, call Birch Barron with Eagle County Emergency Management, 970-328-3545.