Wednesday, April 23, 2014

MN Severe Weather Awareness Week: Wednesday: Floods

We are in the middle of Minnesota's Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Today's topic is covering Floods.



Floods and Flash Floods
On a National Level...
Floods claim nearly 200 lives annually, force 300,000 persons from their homes, and result in property damage in excess of 2 billion dollars. Characteristically, 75 percent of flash flood deaths occur at night with half of the victims dying in their automobiles or other vehicles. It may be difficult to believe, but many deaths occur when persons knowingly drive around road barricades indicating the road is washed out ahead.

 In 2007, a deadly flood occurred August 18-19 in southeast Minnesota, killing seven people and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses. A state record for rainfall was set at Hokah — 15.1 inches in 24 hours — while several other areas received more than eight inches of rain.

Are You Prepared?
Assume a thunderstorm produces 6 inches of rain in less than 6 hours time near your community. Storms of this magnitude or greater occur several times each year in the U.S.  Would you know what action to take to protect yourself and the people who depend on you for safety? After a major flood event, one of the most common quotes from the survivors of the flood is the expression they did not believe it could happen to them or in their community.

Before the Flooding...
There is nothing anyone can do to prevent the occurrence of flash flood producing rainfall. However, by striving for sound flood plain zoning, developing an emergency action plan in advance of the disaster, purchasing flood insurance at least 30 days before the flooding, and being aware of the dangers associated with extremely heavy rainfall and flooding, there is a chance of decreasing the death toll and property damage that results from flash flooding.

  1. Assemble an emergency supply kit that includes enough provisions for you and your family to live on for a minimum of three days.
  2. Make an emergency plan for you and your family and share it with them.
    Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government.
  3. Get a NOAA Weather Radio. Listen for information and warnings.
  4. Elevate appliances such as the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk. 
  5. Consider installing "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home. As a last resort, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins. 
  6. If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds. 
  7. Get Flood Insurance. Property insurance does not typically cover flood damage. Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and consider if you need additional coverage. You may also want to learn about the National Flood Insurance Program at www.FloodSmart.gov
 Driving Safety
  • 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.

What to do in a Flash Flood

    Flash floods occur within six hours of the beginning of heavy rainfall. Below are some guidelines for keeping safe during a flash flood:
    • Be prepared to evacuate and go to high ground immediately.
    • Get out of areas subject to flooding, such as low spots, canyons, washes, etc.
    • Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream on foot. Even water only six inches deep, when moving at a high rate of speed, can knock you off your feet.
    • Never drive through flooded areas or standing water. Shallow, swiftly flowing water can wash a car from a roadway. Also, the roadbed may not be intact under the water.
    • If the vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and its occupants.
    • Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to recognize flood dangers.
    • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
    • Understand the difference between a Flash Flood Watch and a Flash Flood Warning

Know the Terms

​Flash Flood Watch Flash Flood Warning​
Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information​ Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.​

Perfect timing to cover floods as we are experiencing spring rains this week. One important thing to remember is TURN AROUND... DON'T DROWN!!!

Here are some good sites on flood safety and prepardness:
http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4340128_Flood.pdf

https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/hsem/weather-awareness-preparedness/Documents/Flood%20Safety%20Checklist%20-%20HomeFlooding.pdf

http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov/resources/FloodsTheAwesomePower_NSC.pdf

http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov/


Stay tuned for Tomorrow when it is the biggest day: Tornadoes with Simulated drills at 1:45pm and 6:55pm.

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