…Probably the last thing on your mind is water floating your bed- with you in it- from the bedroom to the dining room. But ya know, it’s something we should begin thinking about now.
OK, I gotta admit it was the first thought I had this morning, so you can color me ‘strange’.
But seriously, with all the snow we’ve had this year, and more on the way, it’s a sure bet the state powers are thinking about their beds floating away, and we should be as well. Up north we’ve surpassed our yearly ‘average’ in snow, and March is yet to arrive, and the time we get most of our year’s supply. Flooding is going to be a really hot issue in a couple of months, or less, and time for preparing is not when all this snow decides to wash downstream.
With that in mind, I’d like to gather a bit of information into one place so your fingers don’t have to do all the walking. Here goes…
…Flood Preparation, Part One… Safety
There are many low-cost measures you can take to protect yourself, your home, and your property from losses.
A FLOOD can take several hours to days to develop.
A FLOOD WATCH means a flood is possible in your area.
A FLOOD WARNING means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.· Know your area’s flood risk – if unsure, call your local emergency management office. (Heck, you may alert them it’s time for them to prepare, too!)
· If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily for several days, and all this snow starts melting fast, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
· Listen to local radio or TV stations for flood information. (If you know someone who lives in a flood zone, call them and get some intelligent intelligence on the situation in their area- they’ll be light years ahead of FEMA or others.)
· Refer to your Family Disaster Plan and assemble a Disaster Supply Kit. (You DO have one, don’t you? I know we talked about this before… tsk tsk…)
· Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places: a friend’s home in another area, a motel or an emergency shelter. (How about your BOL? Make it a training scenario that’s real.)
When a FLOOD WATCH is issued:
.· Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home. (Actually, the time to do this is long before any kind of ‘watch’ is issued: have it done now so you can relax instead of panic and forget something.)
· Fill your car gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued. And don’t forget, check the oil and tires.
When a FLOOD WARNING is issued:
· Listen to local radio and TV stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.
FLASH FLOOD waves move at incredible speeds, can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels- and while they’re at it, turn your car into a drifting pile of debris. Killing walls of water can reach heights of 10 to 20 feet. You won’t always have warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. Flash floods can take only a few minutes to a few hours to develop. When a flash flood WATCH is issued be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice.
When a flash flood WARNING is issued for your area or the moment you first realize that a flash flood is imminent, act quickly to save yourself. You may have only seconds.
Flash flood tips…
· Go to high ground immediately- Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes, etc.
· Avoid already flooded and high velocity flow areas. Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream on foot where water is above your knees. (Got a walking stick/staff with you? Honestly, though: unless you are absolutely positively certain you can cross even a shallow stream safely, don’t do it! Wearing a PFD may not be a bad idea, either.)
· Do not drive through flooded areas. 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 and sweep them away· Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
· Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
Next up: Flooding, Part Two.
Be safe, All. Don’t wanna lose you just yet, OK?