Spring is near, and that means rain. For most of us, that only means wet feet and damp clothes. However, a torrential downpour or a slow-moving storm system can create a dangerous situation for people in low lying areas. Heavy rain can simply overwhelm drainage systems and overflow nearby rivers, lakes and streams.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that in the past five years, all 50 states have experienced flooding. Floods are among the most common and costly natural disasters in the United States. Each year it causes more deaths than any other weather hazard.
Swift moving water is a powerful force, and just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and two feet of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
Never drive through flooded roadways, and do not drive around barricades. Roads can easily be washed out by moving water, and you cannot determine its depth with a casual glance.
If you come across fast moving water crossing a road, make the safe choice: Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
Preparation is the best defense. Before a flood warning is in effect, make a flood emergency plan. Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work. Here’s what you need to do to prepare for rising water:
• Know your flood risk. To help communities understand their risk, FEMA has created flood maps.
• Consider buying flood insurance.
• Assemble or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Visit www.ready.gov to get a detail list of items for a supply kit.
• Consider trenching for foundation drains, slope the yard away from the house, direct water from gutter downspouts away from the foundation, install a sump pump in the basement, seal foundation cracks and basement walls with waterproofing compounds to keep out seepage.
• Familiarize yourself with the local government emergency plans. Know where to go, how to get to higher ground and official evacuation routes. Most importantly, make sure you receive weather related alerts, whether you’re at home, in the car or outdoors.