Natural Disasters to be Aware of in Idaho

Jon Fesmire | August 23, 2021 @ 12:00 AM

Welcome to the Gem State, which we call Idaho not because it’s a gem of a state (which it is), but because the earth here is filled with various precious stones. We’re also the lentil capital of the world, and we produce hops and most of the trout sold in the U.S.

Like any state, we have our share of natural disasters. As a resident and a self storage renter, it’s important to be aware of these, to know how to stay safe, and how to keep your store stuff safe as well. Here, we’ll cover the biggest potential disasters you may face in Idaho.

 

Droughts

Dry weather can lead to fires, both due to human negligence and to natural conditions. We’ll cover wildfires in a moment, however. Aside from the risk of fire, droughts aren’t much of an issue for self storage facilities, though they can affect everyday life. They can make crops less viable, and as an Idaho resident, you may be asked to curb extraneous water use.

At any time, some parts of Idaho will be under drought conditions, and others not. These range from D0, or abnormally dry, to D4, or exceptional drought.

 

Earthquakes

If you’ve grown up in a state with earthquakes, you probably don’t fear them much. Most are small and people don’t even feel them. Even those we can feel typically shake a bit and don’t do any serious damage. Things don’t even fall off your shelves the majority of the time. Larger earthquakes can knock things off your shelves and cupboards and even crash those shelves. 

Larger earthquakes, however, cause buildings to slide off their foundations, fireplaces to crumble, and roofs, roads, and bridges to cave in. Most of the earthquakes in Idaho center around the Yellowstone Tectonic Parabola and Intermountain Seismic Belt. Idaho is the sixth most earthquake-prone state behind Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Washington.

To earthquake-proof your home, secure heavy things that can collapse. Attach your bookcases and other shelving to the walls. Keep heavier items down low. Know what you’re going to do if a big one hits, whether that means getting under a table or somewhere outside away from buildings or other objects that could fall.

In your storage space, make sure shelving is attached to the walls. Your storage property may install them for you. We suggest using ropes or bungee cords to keep boxes on shelves. Consider using stackable bins, which will be more sturdy than boxes, and put heavier boxes on the bottom, going lighter as you stack them. Also, make sure that earthquake damage is included on your storage insurance policy, and if it’s not, ask for a rider including it. It will cost a bit more, but in the case of an earthquake, you’ll be glad you got it.

 

Floods

Flood damage is often not covered by insurance. So, if you live in one of the many areas prone to floods in Idaho, we encourage you to make sure it’s covered in your homeowner’s, renter’s, or self storage insurance. 

Most of the flooding here takes place in Central Idaho, the Panhandle, Southwestern, and Southeastern Idaho and flooding is projected to increase by about 8% by 2050. We get flash floods and general floods. 

In your storage space, you can stack your boxes on top of palates to get them a few inches off the ground. For home and work, come up with an evacuation plan and be aware that flash floods can happen in minutes.

 

Storms

The amount of rain you’ll see in Idaho depends on just where you live. For example, Island Park gets 106 days of rain and 26.2 inches, while Bruneau gets 49 days and just 7.6 inches. 

Wherever you live in our beautiful state, it’s important to be prepared for severe weather, including dust storms, gusting winds, extreme rain, thunderstorms, lightning, and occasionally hail, and these storms can come on suddenly. Take shelter when and if a big storm comes on, and listen to the news for storm updates.

In the winter, from December to February, snowstorms become a big concern. Statewide, we get 47 inches of snow yearly. Along with the snow we get slick roads, freezing rain, and even avalanches.

Protect your stuff in storage by renting a space with climate control. Those cold temperatures and that dry air can cause serious damage to a lot of items from electronics to furniture. Also, whether you put them in storage or not, winterize your RV, boat, or any other vehicle you won’t be using. Freezing temperatures can crack pipes and harm other vehicle systems. Also, during a snowstorm, postpone travel if you can.

 

Wildfires

We covered droughts, and one of the hazards a drought causes is the potential for wildfires. In Idaho, we average 133 fires on 77,000 acres every year. In the 2000s, the average annual burn was 334,000 acres.

Half the wildfires in the state occur due to lightning strikes. Sadly, human error causes others. At home and work, have an evacuation plan. You’ll also want homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. If you have a storage space, make sure fire and smoke damage are on your self storage renters’ insurance policy. Around your home, clean up the leaves, shrubs, and branches regularly. 

Wildfires can burn neighborhoods and harm air quality. The smoke can even damage your stuff in storage. To do the most to keep your belongings secure, we suggest using a climate-controlled, indoor space.

Speaking of a self storage property where you can keep your belongings safe, Storelocal has state-of-the-art properties in Coeur d’Alene and Nampa. We have superior security and a range of sizes to fit your needs.