October 1, 2006 |
Between closed roads and floating cars, swamped houses and hysterical homeowners, life hasn't been easy for community officials in the flood-plagued Pennypack Creek watershed. On Friday, it got considerably harder. And there was barely a rain cloud in sight. This tempest was indoors, swirling around a set of floodplain maps newly produced by a team of Temple University scientists. When the winds died down in the meeting room at the school's Fort Washington campus, municipal leaders went home to fret over a choice they'd rather not have to make: To adopt Temple's unprecedentedly detailed floodplain maps as a guide to development and land use in their communities?
September 25, 2006 |
Three immutable truths have kept the National Flood Insurance Program afloat for the last 38 years. Waterfront real estate is irresistible. Sooner or later, it gets flooded. Private insurance companies won't ever wade into the business. Yet even that might not be enough for the NFIP to weather the current storm. In June, the U.S. House passed a bill that would raise premiums; phase out subsidies on older, flood-prone properties; and force residents of floodplains to buy the policies.
September 25, 2006 |
One of the world's largest insurers is $20 billion in debt. It has no hope of repaying its loans anytime soon, if ever. Worse, the $870 billion worth of homes and businesses it covers are among the highest-risk properties in the country, with claims filed on many of them again and again. Such troubles would constitute a historic corporate collapse were not the insurer the National Flood Insurance Program, owned and operated by the U.S. government, and the lenders the U.S. taxpayers.
September 1, 2005 |
Federal flood insurance will pick up an unusually large share of Hurricane Katrina claims, insurance experts say - a blow that may be felt in flood-prone areas in Pennsylvania and along the Jersey Shore. "This could well be the largest flood loss in the history of the National Flood Insurance Program," said Robert Hartwig, chief economist of the Insurance Information Institute, an industry education organization in New York. Katrina "will stress the flood insurance program, but it will not put us down," said Butch Kinerney, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
June 24, 2005 |
Question: I have a hole in one of my window screens that is letting the bugs in. Is it easy to patch, or do I have to buy a whole new screen? Answer: Screens are easy to patch. In fact, you can buy kits that include everything you'll need for a $1.50 to $2 at drugstores and supermarkets. If the hole is no bigger than a couple of inches, you simply cut the patch from a piece of matching screening material; make it 1 1/2 inches wider than the hole. Unravel a half-inch of screening wire on each side of the patch.
October 27, 2002 |
Do you ever look at your homeowners' insurance policy? If you were familiar with it, you might save yourself time and angst when you need to make a claim. But few of us know the basics of our insurance coverage. In fact, real estate agents say that few home buyers arrive at settlement with a basic understanding of the policy required at closing. What should that policy look like? First, it should offer a combination of coverage plans; protection if the house is destroyed by fire or robbed of possessions; protection if someone slips on your front steps and sues you; and protection if some natural catastrophe strikes.
December 7, 2000 |
Susan Shifrin's Port Providence house has flooded four times since 1992, a rate she attributes to the rapid development of a township bordered by the Schuylkill and Perkiomen Creek. The Zoning Hearing Board is scheduled tonight to discuss yet another development proposal, one that calls for pushing a large pile of dirt into the floodplain. It is a plan that has Shifrin and other residents who have just finished cleaning up from Hurricane Floyd worried that their houses and their flood insurance might be in jeopardy.
March 10, 2000 |
It seems as if it would be a nice place to live: gingerbread facades, a swimming pool, and 24-hour security. Only no one lives at the Huntingdon Valley Club Condominiums now. The brick-face stucco on one building is rippled. The pool is a contaminated hole in the ground. The security guard patrols the property in his SUV, protecting only a broken crib and a rolled-up carpet dumped on the sidewalk. Six months ago, a nightmare named Floyd arrived at the six-building complex, causing millions of dollars in structural damage and submerged contents.
August 5, 1998 |
With New Jersey ranking among the top five states receiving federal flood-insurance payments, a national conservation group called yesterday for flood-prone communities to allow at-risk homes to be sold voluntarily to the government and then torn down. In a report compiling flood-insurance data from 1978 to 1995, the National Wildlife Federation targeted 31 New Jersey communities - including Atlantic City, North Wildwood and Ventnor - that have been repeatedly hit by flooding and could benefit from voluntary property buyouts.
October 30, 1997 |
After a wake-up call from the June 12, 1996, flood, the Board of Supervisors has authorized engineers to begin work on $2.5 million worth of storm-water management improvements. On Tuesday, the board unanimously authorized Pennoni Associates, the engineering firm that conducted a yearlong study of drainage problems in western Middletown, to help carry out recommendations the firm made for township-wide flood prevention. It also voted, 4-1, to proceed with projects in nine neighborhoods in western Middletown that sustained severe damage.