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Plans for flooding are being developed

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Be prepared. If you were affected by flooding last spring, be prepared for the same.

That's the message from Beltrami County Emergency Management, which took part in a Wednesday meeting of the Beltrami County/Bemidji flood planning team meeting at City Hall.

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"With the amount of moisture in our area and the weather acting very unpredictably, we want to (ensure) that our citizens are prepared," said Beryl Wernberg, Beltrami County Emergency Management director in a press release.

Due to the amount of frost penetration, any precipitation combined with melting snow will cause a rapid runoff, which could result in overland flooding, Wernberg said.

So homeowners who were affected by last year's flooding should get ready.

"Sandbagging or building a dike around your residence is something that should be done as soon as possible," she said. "We cannot stress enough the proactive approach our citizens need to take. Take care of your dwelling before the water approaches the high mark."

Unfilled sandbags will soon be available for purchase through the city of Bemidji and Beltrami County.

"In addition, we are making arrangements for sand," she said. "We will also make available a list of local vendors for such."

Wernberg noted that flood insurance requires 30-day waiting period before the insurance becomes active.

"An event before that 30-day period has passed is not covered," she wrote.

Flood issues began last year on March 21.

Those who live in Bemidji city limits need to sign up for flood insurance with their insurance agency as soon as possible.

Following last year's springtime flooding, the city of Bemidji and Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning office began the process to get affected areas eligible for insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, offered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

However, the federal government has not yet approved funding for the NFIP.

"Therefore, those within the city limits are still not able to purchase the insurance, but will be if the Legislature approves I," Wernberg said. "Citizens need to be on the list with their local insurance agents ahead of that time."

Those who live in Beltrami County, but not the city of Bemidji, are eligible to purchase flood insurance, Wernberg said.

Additional info

Updates will be provided to the media throughout the weeks to come.

Additionally, information will be posted online at http://emergencymanagement.co.beltrami.mn.us under the "natural disaster" tab.

Those interested in volunteering their time or equipment for flood efforts are asked to call 333-8386.

For non-emergency flood information, call 333-8386.

For flood-related emergencies (life-threatening), call 911.

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