Is flooding imminent in the Tri-States?

Spring flooding is a very real possibility here in the Tri-States.

The Red Cross reports a 60- to 80-percent chance of moderate to severe flooding in our area in the next 60 days.

Our concerns usually turn to the Mississippi or Illinois River, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA says flooding can affect *any* home at *any* time.

FEMA spokesperson Josh deBerge said, "Everyone should be worried about flooding. We have a phrase, 'where it rains, it can flood.' We want people to realize that. You may be a ways from the river, you may not be near a river, but overland flooding can occur, basement flooding can occur and we want people to be prepared for that."

Back in 2008, folks in Quincy woke up to flooded basements after an overnight downpour overloaded city drains and backed up into homes.

With that in mind, there are some cheap, easy things you can do to prevent major damage and save money in the long run.

First, take a good look at your gutters. Make sure they're free of leaves, twigs and sediment so water moves freely down and out. FEMA suggests adding elbows and drain sleeves to the bottom of your down spouts to make sure water can get out.

Landscaping also is a good way to get water flowing away from your home. This home needs some fill dirt with shrubs and plants with the soil angled away from the foundation. However, don't plant vines on exterior walls. They can grow into cracks in the mortar or open siding and let moisture and insects into your home.

Clear plastic covers like this one also can keep rain water from building up in exterior window wells.

deBerge said, "And if you have a basement with appliances in it, raise those appliances up. Even a couple of inches can make a significant difference when you're talking about just two or three inches of water in your basement."

Do that by hoisting a washer and dry up onto wooden or metal platform or wooden blocks.

FEMA also suggests everyone have flood insurance, even if you don't live near a river or stream. If you don't live in a high-risk area, FEMA says it's pretty affordable.

Find a complete list of tips from FEMA by clicking here.

Some people who've gone through a flooded basement say if they could go back in time, they would have stored valuables like family photos and papers in plastic totes, hoisted up off the floor. Others store them in fire-proof safes.

What do you do to prepare for a possible flood or fire?