On average, flooding causes more property damage in the United States than any other weather related event. It is a threat to life and property that can occur in any of the fifty states or U.S. territories at any time of year. In 2013, the nation watched as deadly floods from severe storms impacted the Great Plains during May and record rainfall caused devastating flooding in Colorado in September. Last year, 85 people lost their lives to freshwater flooding. More than half of those fatalities were a result of people driving into floodwaters. On average, there are 89 fatalities and $8.3 billion in damages annually. During National Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 16-22, 2014, NOAA and FEMAwill highlight the importance of preparing for a flood before it strikes and teach the actions you should take when faced with a flooding situation. This week we ask that youBe a Force of Nature by knowing your risk, taking action and being an example where you live. Following these simple steps year round can help keep you and your loved ones safe when hazardous weather strikes. Keep tabs on the local forecast, create a disaster supplies kit, and alert others via texts and social media when a flood threat or other hazardous weather threat exists!
Flood Hazard Terms
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a flood hazard:
Flood Watch – Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
Flash Flood Watch – Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
Flood Warning – Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Flash Flood Warning – A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
Driving: Flood Facts
The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
- Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
- Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.
- Do not try to take short cuts. They may be blocked. Stick to designated evacuation routes.
- Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
During a Flood
If a flood is likely in your area, you should:
- check out our Facebook page Garrard EMA/CSEPP and like us to get updates.
- Listen to the radio or television for information.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.
If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
- Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening conditions.