Flood Protection Information
Para recibir esta información en español llame al (320) 269.6575



Flooding in our community is caused by several sources: The Chippewa and Minnesota Rivers leaving their banks as a result of a heavy snowfall during the winter and faster than anticipated melting in the spring. Next, ice jams further upstream in Benson or Ortonville that have broken loose or are blasted loose will result in fast currents in Montevideo. Particularly, properties in Smith Addition are especially vulnerable as they are located in very close proximity to the river and on the west side of the levee. Smith Addition was hit particularly hard in 1969, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2009, 2010 and 2011. High watermarks are found on the buildings in Lagoon Park and on utility poles on Chippewa Street in Smith Addition. Following the 1997 flood, voluntary buyouts took place. To date, over 100 properties have been purchased as part of a long term flood mitigation program.


Even though you may not have been affected by a past flood or have since taken steps to flood proof, please understand that the next flood could be even worse and your property may still be in jeopardy. This flyer is designed to give you some ideas of what you can do to protect yourself.



Montevideo is a participating community in the National Flood Insurance Program and the Community Rating System (CRS). Montevideo currently holds a Class 8 designation. With this designation, property owners are able to purchase flood insurance at a discount (10%). If you do not have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent. Homeowner’s insurance, unless specifically noted, does NOT cover damage from floods. Many homes in Smith Addition are renter-occupied; these residents are also encouraged to obtain insurance. This insurance is backed by the federal government and is available to everyone, even for properties that have been flooded in the past.


Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the lender when they obtained a mortgage or home improvement loan. Typically, these policies just cover the structure and not the contents of the home. The flooding that occurs in Montevideo usually results in the loss of personal belongings but limited damage to the structure. It is important to note that policies must be in place for 30 days prior to having a claim on the property. Therefore, property owners are encouraged to buy early. 



Do not walk through flowing water: Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths.


Do not drive through a flooded area: Flooding in Montevideo commonly results in road closures in Lagoon Park and the immediate areas around the levee.


Stay away from power lines: Electrical currents can travel through water. Report downed power lines to Xcel Energy 1-800-895-1999 [electric outages] and Great Plains Natural Gas Company 1-800-252-1166 [natural gas odor].

Be alert to gas leaks.  Turn off the gas to your house before it floods.  If you smell gas, report it to a City of Montevideo official or your gas company.  Do not use candles, lanterns or open flames if you smell gas or are unsure if your gas has been shut off.


Keep children away from the flood waters, ditches, culverts and storm drains.  Flood waters can carry unimaginable items that have dislodged themselves. Culverts may suck smaller people into them rendering them helpless.


Clean everything that has been wet.  Flood water will be contaminated with sewage and other chemicals which pose severe health threats.


Look out for animals, especially snakes.  Small animals that have been flooded out of their home    may seek shelter in yours.


Do not use gas engines, such as generators, or charcoal fires indoors during power outages.  Carbon monoxide exhaust can pose serious health hazards.




The first thing you should do is check your flood hazard. Flood maps and flood protection references are available at the Montevideo/Chippewa County Public Library, as well as at Montevideo City Hall. If you are, in fact, in a mapped floodplain area city officials can give you more information such as depth of flooding over a building’s first floor and past flood problems in the area, also if formal elevation certificates have been executed in the past on a particular property, copies may be on file.


Montevideo has several trained staff to help you, City Engineer Mike Amborn [Civil Engineer], City Manager [Certified Floodplain Manager], and Brad Henriksen [Certified Building Official]. Depending on information requested, particular staff individuals will visit a property to review its flood problems and explain ways to stop flooding or prevent flood damage. Call city hall at (320) 269.6575. These services are free, unless explicitly stated prior to executing the service.



Several of Montevideo’s efforts depend on your cooperation and assistance. Here is how you can help:

-        Do not dump or throw anything into the ditches or streams. This is a violation of the city ordinance. Even grass clippings and branches can accumulate and plug channels. A plugged channel cannot carry water thus when it rains, the water must go elsewhere.


-        If your property is next to a ditch or stream, please do your part and keep the banks clear of brush and debris. The city has a site available free to its residents for such debris located next to the Montevideo Airport.


-        Always check with the Community Development Department before you build on, alter, re-grade, or add fill to your property. A building or conditional use permit may be needed to ensure that projects do not cause adverse affects with neighboring properties.


-        Maintain current/best practices in terms of flood insurance, floodproofing and flood safety.





There are several ways to protect a building/property from flooding. One approach is to make your walls waterproof and place watertight closures over the doorways. Please note that this is not recommended for houses with basements or in cases where water will get over two feet deep. These two are extremes that would cause adverse affects if used in those situations.


A second approach is to raise the house above flood levels. A small, stick built house can be elevated for less than $10,000. Some of these techniques listed have already been incorporated into homes located in Smith Addition. The Community Development Department is available to explain options for floodproofing. Finally, please realize that most, if not all, of the actions listed would require a permit of some kind.



The City of Montevideo is comprised of one 100-year floodplain.  Properties in the floodplain are affected by either the Minnesota River floodplain or the Chippewa River floodplain. Seasonal flooding is the general type of flooding caused by Minnesota and Chippewa Rivers.  Flooding on the Minnesota and Chippewa Rivers is generally a slow event, and can be caused by rain north and west of us as it makes its way down the river for eventual discharge from Lac Qui Parle Lake. Various floods from both water bodies have hit Montevideo in recent memory. 

Major Flood Stage:


Moderate Flood Stage:


Flood Stage:


Action Stage:


Historical Crests
(1) 23.90 ft on 04/06/1997
(2) 22.15 ft on 04/14/2001
(3) 21.68 ft on 04/12/1969
(4) 20.09 ft on 03/23/2010
(5) 20.02 ft on 04/10/1952


Information on whether your property is in the 100-year floodplain can be obtained by coming into the City of Montevideo Office and having the Building Inspector help you.  Maps are available to look at as well as other flood-related information.  Montevideo also has Elevation Certificates for new development available.  Contact the City of Montevideo office at (320) 269-6575 for further assistance.



If your property is susceptible to flooding, there are many flood damage reduction measures you can employ.

•Watertight seals can be applied to brick and block walls to protect against low-level flooding.

•Utilities such as heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters and other major appliances

can be elevated to higher floors in the structure or on raised platforms.

• Temporary measures such as moving furniture and other valuables to higher floors or sandbagging exterior openings will also help.

• Elevating or relocating the entire structure may also be a feasible option.




All development within the 100-year floodplain (not just construction of buildings, but filling, excavation, fences, etc.) is required to obtain a City of Montevideo Development Permit.  Applications must be made prior to doing any work in a floodplain area.  Please contact the Montevideo Building Inspector to receive all the information you will need in order to properly develop in the floodplain at (320) 269-6575.  You may report any illegal development activities to the above number as well.



The NFIP requires that if the cost of improvements to a building or the cost to repair damages (from any cause) to a building exceeds 50% of the market value of the building (excluding land value), the entire building must be brought up to current floodplain management standards.  Building improvement projects include exterior and interior remodeling, rehabilitation, additions and repair and reconstruction projects.   Additionally, the cost of currently planned improvements will be added to the cost of previously made improvements and compared to the existing market value to determine if the improvements exceed 50% of the structure’s value.  Please contact the Montevideo Building Inspector at (320) 269-6575 for further information.



Floodplains play a valuable role in providing natural and beneficial functions to the area around, and including, Montevideo.  Floodplains that are relatively undisturbed provide a wide range of benefits to both human and natural systems.  These benefits provide aesthetic pleasure as well as function to provide active processes such as filtering nutrients.  Smith Addition and Lagoon Park opens space areas were created to maintain bio-diversity and ecosystem sustainability.  Both floodplains contain historic and archeological sites that provide opportunity for education and study.  Both enhance waterfowl, fish and other wildlife habitats and provide feeding/breeding grounds.  And lastly, both floodplains provide natural erosion control and open space so further flooding damage does not occur.



As simple as it may sound, simply keeping smaller ditches and streams free of debris can dramatically improve the run-off capacity of low-lying areas, as well as greatly reduce the occurrence blockage that significantly contributes to flooding.  It is illegal to dump materials into a required waterway and violators may be fined.  If you see someone in the act of dumping or see debris in one of our watercourses, please contact the City of Montevideo Office at (320) 269-6575.



Many times, flooding along the Chippewa and Minnesota Rivers within Montevideo can be predicted (give time of advance warning) in advance, giving ample warning for preparation and evacuation.  However, in the event of a flash flood due a large rain event, you may be the first to notice the oncoming situation and have only hours to execute your plan.  Notify the Montevideo Police/Fire Department.  Montevideo’s Emergency Alert System will be activated.  Tune your radio to KDMA/KMGM/KKRC for local and National Weather Service Updates.  You will also see regular interruption on local radio and television stations advising you of the situation.



If you should require further or more detailed information regarding flood-related issues in Montevideo, here are some additional sources:

•FEMA.gov website

•The City of Montevideo Office (320) 269-6575

103 Canton Avenue, PO Box 517



Montevideo, MN  56265

•Floodplain FAQ page on the www.montevideomn.org website.



•Montevideo Public Library


Additional materials on any of the above may be found at the Montevideo/Chippewa County Public Library or at City Hall.