With many communities throughout the nation facing threats of spring flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are once again joining forces to commemorate Flood Safety Awareness Week March 12 – 16.
According to the National Weather Service, more deaths occur due to flooding each year than from any other severe weather related hazard. The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. All areas of the country can be at risk for flooding and when such conditions are forecasted. The Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service is a great tool to check out the latest in river flood information. Information on flood stage, flood impacts and any current flood warnings or statements is available for each station on the map. For more information, visit http://water.weather.gov/ahps/.
More than half of all flood-related deaths result from vehicles being swept downstream. Remember, flash flooding can take only a few minutes to a few hours to develop. Be prepared to take detours and adjust your route due to road closures if there is standing water. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Flood water may be much deeper than it appears as the roadbed may be washed out. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
FLOOD AND FLASH FLOOD SAFETY TIPS
• Monitor NOAA All Hazards Radio or your favorite news source for vital weather information.
• If flooding occurs, get to higher ground, away from areas subject to flooding.
• Avoid areas already flooded and do not attempt to cross flowing streams.
• Do not drive around barriers that warn you the road is flooded. Some cities and counties will issue a fine to motorists who ignore barriers!
• Never drive through flooded roadways as road beds may be washed out under flood waters. Remember: Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
• If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
• Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, if there is a threat of flooding. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
For more information on flood safety, visit www.floodsafety.noaa.gov/ or contact Jefferson County Homeland Security & Emergency Management at 304-724-8914.