WADENA-The Wadena County Sheriff's Office is asking residents of Wadena County and all

counties to start thinking ahead to potential flooding in the coming weeks.

The snow, along with recent rains, are elevating flood risks during the spring thaw, Wadena County Sheriff Michael D. Carr stated in a news release.

"The biggest threats will arrive when the rivers begin to open. Ice dams and water runoff will elevate flood risk quickly," Carr said. "If you have been thinking about flood insurance but haven't made a decision, now would be the time to get a policy in place. Most flood insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect, so waiting until the flooding starts may end up doing you no good."

According to the Minnesota Department of Safety, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, about 25 percent of flood insurance claims happen outside of high-risk areas. Those who live in Minnesota should consider themselves at least at some risk for flooding or water damage.

If a household is in an area prone to flooding historically, now is the time to find the supplies a person would need. Examples are sandbags, sand, temporary storage and people to help fill

and stack sandbags.

If a motorist encounters flooded roads, they should turn around, the sheriff stated.

"The risk of driving through a flooded area is not worth it, as you do not know if the road has been completely washed out," Carr said. "Becoming stranded in a flooded area is a real possibility, but flood waters carry enough momentum to sweep vehicles away, which can become life-threatening in a hurry.

The sheriff's office encourages residents to take necessary precautions to protect their property, and more importantly, lives that can be at risk during floods.

Residents needing assistance locating resources, or those who have specific questions, call the Wadena County Sheriff's Office Director of Emergency Management, Deputy Tyler Wheeler, who can be reached at 218-631-7795. Residents also may visit the Department of Public Safety website dedicated to flood preparation at www.dps.mn.gov/divisions/hsem/Pages/2019-spring-flooding.aspx.