Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss. As much as 90 percent of the damage related to all natural disasters (excluding droughts) is caused by floods and associated debris flows. Most communities in the United States can experience some kind of flooding.
Keep yourself informed by knowing flooding terminology!
· A flood watch or flash flood watch indicates that conditions are favorable for flooding to happen.
· A flood warning or flash flood warning means flooding is occurring or imminent.
· Minor flooding occurs when minimal or no property damage is expected, but the flooding could possibly cause some public threat or inconvenience.
· Moderate flooding occurs when some inundation of structures and roads near streams is expected. Some evacuations of people and or a transfer of property to higher elevations are necessary.
· Major flooding occurs when there is extensive inundation of structures and roads in addition to the possible significant evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations.
Urban flooding can occur in any area of the city. Urban flooding usually occurs when the rain storm drains become blocked by debris or during very intense periods of rain where rainfall amounts exceed the capability of storm drains to move water away from the area.
· The first thing to prepare for all emergencies is to have a plan, what will you do? And have a disaster preparedness kit.
· If you know your area is prone to or susceptible to potential flooding, have sandbags filled and placed to channel water away from your property before a storm begins. (Where to get sandbags)
· If you have access to sandbags or other materials, use them to protect your home from flood waters if you have sufficient time to do so. Filling sandbags can take more time than you may think.
· Since standard homeowners insurance doesn't cover flooding, if you live in a designated flood area ensure coverage by contacting your insurance company or agent to purchase flood insurance. This must be done before there is even a threat of flooding as insurance companies stop issuing policies if there is a threat of flooding. (i.e. an approaching storm or hurricane). Many flood insurance policies take at least 30 days to go into effect so even if you can buy it as a storm is approaching, it may not protect your investment.
What to do when flooding is imminent or occurring:
· If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Be sure to lock your home as you leave. If you have time, disconnect utilities and appliances.
· Do not walk through flood waters. It only takes six inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 9-1-1 for help.
· Do not drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade; Turn Around, Don't Drown! Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide many hazards (i.e. sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc). A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in a matter of seconds. Twelve inches of water can float a car or small SUV and 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles.