BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — You probably don’t like to think about the potential for natural disasters, including heavy floods, but it’s important to always be prepared for them.

Bismarck and Mandan have already begun thinking ahead, after being selected from a national pool to receive multi-million-dollar grants to help pay for flood mitigation.

These new funds mean that the two cities will soon begin a project that will protect homes from flooding in the event that a hundred-year flood occurs, but what is a hundred-year flood in the first place?

“One of the ways they actually teach people about the hundred-year flood,” explained ND Department of Emergency Services Recovery and Mitigation Chief Justin Messner, “is that they’ll give them a bowl of marbles. Ninety-nine of the marbles are clear, and one of the marbles is black. Every time a flood event happens, you could reach in and pull one out. Most of the time, you’re going to get a clear marble, but every once in a while, you’re going to pull out that black marble. Statistically, eventually, one of these types of floods is going to occur.”

As evidenced by the most recent remapping of the Missouri River, over 100 south Bismarck homes and over 650 trailer homes are at risk if a hundred-year flood occurs.

But Messner says the extra help from FEMA will help eliminate that risk. However, this would also require homeowners with federal loans to purchase flood insurance, which might be an unwanted price tag but would undoubtedly be beneficial in the long run.

“The amount of money that they’re going to save long term is about six times as much as they’re putting into it,” he noted. “On top of that though, it will protect them from the hundred-year flood, and make sure that their families are safe, that their properties are safe, and that they’ll be able to hopefully go through a storm or flood event and not even really feel an impact. That’s the real big benefit.”

Bismarck and Mandan are expected to receive the money this November, and Mandan aims to begin construction next spring.

However, Messner says both Bismarck and Mandan’s projects may not be completed for another two to three years.

If you’d like to check out all the details regarding Mandan’s project, visit this page. To learn about Bismarck’s project, click here instead.