Floods

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					                                                            National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
                                                                                    U.S. Department of Commerce

NOAA Knows...
Floods
F
      rom the beginning of time, the power of water has         Understanding
      captured the human imagination and influenced             Your Risk
      how culture evolved throughout the world.
                                                                    Monitor local
    It’s the topic of popular bible stories, global legends     flood threats with the
and Greek mythology. It can be beautiful, like the              click of a mouse at www.weather.gov/water. Water-level
cascading falls of Niagara. It can be useful, like the          gauges in areas with flooding in the forecast will appear
mighty Colorado River — providing hydro-electrical              purple for major flooding, red for moderate flooding,
power to millions of people. It also can be a destructive       orange for minor flooding, yellow for near-flood stage,
and deadly force of nature when heavy rain, melting             and green for no flooding.
snow, coastal storms and undersea earthquakes cause it to
flow in unexpected places.                                           NOAA also provides new flood inundation maps to
                                                                show which parts of a given city will likely be submerged
                            NOAA understands the                when we predict a flood. This tool helps local officials
                        dangers of floods. Each year in         decide whether to bring in sand bags, move property or
                        the United States alone, nearly         evacuate people from threatened areas. Inundation maps
                        100 people are killed by                are posted at ww.weather.gov/ahps/inundation.php. The
                        floodwaters, which cause an             National Weather Service continues to add new locations
                        average of $7 billion in property       to this tool.
                        damage. By planning ahead for
                        this threat and making wise             Know What to Do: Turn Around, Don’t Drown
                        decisions, people can                      Most flood-related deaths occur in motor vehicles
                        minimize their physical and             when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways.
                        economic risk.                                  Don’t underestimate the power of flowing water
NOAA: Bringing Information to You                                          across a road!

    The National Weather Service can help. We issue                                    It’s an incredibly senseless way to
flood forecasts, watches and warnings for every U.S.                               die and is completely avoidable.
community every day of the year. Meteorologists and                                 NOAA has adopted the flood safety
hydrologists at 122 weather forecast offices, 13 river                          slogan: Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
forecast centers and nine national centers use cutting edge                  and hopes you will remember this when
technology to monitor the atmosphere, rivers and                          you’re faced with a flooded roadway and an
streams, develop river forecasts, and issue watches and                important decision to make.
warnings for floods and flash floods.                                                                    (continued on back)
    It only takes six inches of slow-moving water to lose    Flood Facts
control of a big, heavy vehicle, and to knock people off
                                                               4   Since 1900, floods have
their feet.
                                                                   killed more than 10,000
    Review flood safety and preparedness tips so that you          people in the U.S.
will know what to do if you are suddenly faced with a
                                                               4   Motorist can lose control
flood. Great resources include www.floodsmart.gov and
                                                                   of their vehicles in just
www.weather.gov/floodsafety.
                                                                   six inches of water.
Take Action
                                                               4   Most homeowners
In Advance:.                                                       insurance does not cover
                                                                   flood damage.
   4   Create an evacuation plan before a flood.
                                                               4   Floods are the second-most common of all natural
   4   Discuss flood plans with your family; everyone
                                                                   disasters, after wildfires.
       should know what to do in case family members
       are not together during a flood.                        4   Mud slides result from long, heavy rain on
                                                                   hillsides causing soil, large rocks, boulders, and
   4   Purchase flood insurance: talk to your insurance
                                                                   homes to slip free.
       agent about coverage options.
                                                               4   Heavy spring floods often occur when rain and
When Floods Strike:
                                                                   warm temperatures cause snow to melt rapidly.
   4   Get to higher ground, away from the flooded area.
                                                                                       4   Ice jams occur as melting
   4   Use a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio All                                       snow and heavy rain
       Hazards to receive up-to-date emergency                                             break frozen rivers into
       information.                                                                        large ice flows often piling
                                                                                           up at bridges and narrow
   4   Evacuate immediately, if advised to do so.
                                                                                           passages causing water
   4   Do not cross a flooded road. It may be more                                         to backup and overflow
       dangerous than it appears.                                                          riverbanks.
                            4   Be especially cautious at      4   Most flash floods are caused by slow moving
                                night when it is more              thunderstorms, those that move repeatedly over the
                                difficult to see a flood.          same area or heavy rain from tropical storms and
                                                                   hurricanes. They can develop within minutes,
                            4   Keep emergency supplies
                                                                   depending on the intensity and duration of the rain,
                                on hand, such as non-
                                                                   the topography, soil conditions and ground cover.
                                perishable food, medicine,
                                maps, a flashlight and          For more information, visit www.weather.gov/water.
                                first-aid kit.
                                                                To learn more about NOAA, visit http://www.noaa.gov.




                                                                                                              January 2010