Woodland Hills preps for possible flooding

Oct 1, 2018, 12:38 PM | Updated: 12:41 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Less than two weeks after wildfires ravaged their homes, Woodland Hills and Elk Ridge residents are getting ready for another disaster. Flash floods are expected to hit tomorrow, with the worst falling on the very homes that were hit hardest by the wildfires.

Utah Emergency Management’s Kathy Holder got ahold of KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic to spread the word about how people in the Woodland area can make sure they’re covered if the flooding damages their homes.

Homeowners insurance, Holder warned, will not cover damages caused by flooding. She’s doing everything she can to make sure Utahns know how they can make sure their homes are covered before it’s too late.

Woodland Hills wildfires lead to floods

Residents of Elk Ridge and Woodland Hills know how important preparation can be. Just weeks ago, the Bald Mountain and Pole Creek fires burned more than 120,000 acres near their homes.

By all rights, the fires should have left their community devastated. Thanks to the tireless work of firefighters and members of the community, however, not a single home was lost.

But the worst is far from over. The fires left a gaping burn scar across the mountain, which puts their communities at a serious risk for flooding.

The community has been working hard to keep each other safe. So far, they have filled an estimated 15,000 sandbags to help keep their friends and neighbors safe before tomorrow’s flash flood warning.

“This community connects. They get together, they work together,” Woodland Hills resident Mike Morris told KSL. “I’ve never been in a community that’s this connected.”

Homeowners insurance does not cover flooding

The aftermath of Hurricane Florence

The aftermath of Hurricane Florence, in Fayetteville, N.C.. Sept. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

People in the Woodland Hills area, however, still need to prepare for the worst, according to Utah Emergency Management. They’ve taken to Twitter and contacted KSL to make sure residents know that, unless they opted in for flood insurance, they will not be covered for damages to their homes from flooding.

“This is something I really want all Utahns to be aware of,” Utah Emergency Management’s Kathy Holder told Dave & Dujanovic.

The risk of flooding damage, she says, is a very real threat. “26% of individuals, during a 30-year mortgage, will experience some form of flooding.”

The community’s best bet to stay safe, Holder says, is to sign up for FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. However, the program wasn’t available to residents in the Woodland Hills area until just today.

“It actually was not available to them recently because their communities had not joined the national flood insurance program,” Holder explained. “As soon as I realized … I contacted their mayor there and I got them the paperwork to join.”

Last-second coverage

Woodland Hills during the mudslide that, three years ago, forced 14 families out of their homes. Aug. 14, 2015. (Ravell Call/Deseret News)

While most insurance plans require a 30-day waiting period to sign up, Holder says that there is still time for people in Woodland Hills area to get last-second coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program.

“As of this morning, they can go get their flood insurance,” Holder told Dave & Dujanovic. “If that flood comes off that burn scar, then that 30-day waiting period can be waived.”

The program allows last-second coverage, Holder says, because it is backed by FEMA, who have an obligation to make sure everyone has a policy to cover flood risks.

“It’s pretty much the only way that people are going to be able to mitigate and cover their risks,” Holder says.

How to sign up

The National Flood Insurance Program

The National Flood Insurance program will allow last-second coverage for flood damage. (FEMA)

Holder joked that she “feels like an insurance policy salesman” talking about the plan. No matter the tone, though, she is not spreading the word about the National Flood Insurance Program for her own profit or as part of a paid advertisement.

Instead, she feels that this is a way to do her part to help the people in Woodland Hills. She is worried that people who have survived the wildfires might still lose their homes to this flood.

She personally contacted the mayor of Woodland Hills and FEMA to make sure that people could sign up for this program, wanting to make sure that they were able to recover from any damages to their homes.

A plan with $80,000 of coverage costs between $90-$120 annually, according to Holder’s estimates, while a $250,000 plan would cost between $400-$500.

Anyone looking for last-second coverage can learn more about the program and sign up by visiting Floodsmart.gov.

More to the story

You can hear our full conversation with Kathy Holder on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast:

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

Listen on Google Play Music

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

A motorist drives through the snow in Olympus Cove in Salt Lake County. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret...
Curt Gresseth

Be Ready Utah: What you need in your emergency winter car kit

After a significant snowfall in northern Utah, are you prepared for a winter emergency while on the roads? Wade Mathews of Utah Division of Emergency Management -- Be Ready Utah joins the shows to give out holidays tips on being prepared for any challenges while driving.
2 days ago
Thanksgiving dinner with all the sides. (Stock photo)...
Alejandro Lucero

Pass the stuffing not the uncomfortable conversation this Thanksgiving

Dave and Dujanovic spoke with an expert who will help you void the gobble-squabble around the dinner table this Thanksgiving.
8 days ago
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO - NOVEMBER 20: People hold a vigil at a makeshift memorial near the Club...
Curt Gresseth

‘I trained for this,’ says veteran who took down gunman at nightclub

A veteran joins the show to provide insight into the actions of another veteran who limited the loss of life at a Colorado nightclub by subduing the gunman until police arrived on scene.
9 days ago
Rioters at the US Capitol...
Curt Gresseth

Utah bill would limit police access to your cellphone data

A spokesman for a a libertarian think tank in Utah discusses why he supports a bill at the Legislature limiting law enforcement access to the cellphone of a person near a crime scene.
10 days ago
rollercoaster lagoon...
Curt Gresseth

Lagoon spokesman explains big price hike for day pass

Lagoon announces Primordial, a new one-of-a-kind interactive rollercoaster, coming in 2023, but with the new ride comes higher season passes.
13 days ago
Police provided an update but added little new information about four University of Idaho students ...
Curt Gresseth

Police stay quiet after quadruple homicide in Idaho

A killer is on the loose, police in Moscow, Idaho, are tight-lipped and a community is on edge after four university students were found slain Saturday.
14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Woodland Hills preps for possible flooding