Jan-Feb 2016 Wetter Than Normal: Flood Risk Increases in Spring
GEMA/HS’s Ready Georgia campaign encourages flood preparedness March 14-18
(ATLANTA) – During Flood Safety Preparedness Week (March 14-18) the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security’s Ready Georgia campaign stresses flood preparedness as Georgia experiences above normal precipitation and flash flooding.
Late December and early January severe weather and flooding resulted in extensive damage to roads across north, central and south Georgia communities, as well as dangerous travel conditions, including two storm related deaths in Gordon county. A Presidential Disaster Declaration is in effect for 33 counties as a result of these storms. More rain and severe weather is likely through the spring.
“Our partners at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City are telling us the spring outlook for flooding includes above-normal river flood potential for many parts of Georgia,” said GEMA/HS Director Jim Butterworth. “It’s important Georgia residents be aware flooding dangers and know how to stay safe when waters are rising.”
Important Flood Information
Floods are unpredictable, but generally develop over a period of days. Flash floods usually result from heavy storms dropping large amounts of rain within a short period. They occur with little or no warning and can reach full peak in minutes. Though floods can occur without much warning, there are steps households can take to prepare ahead of time to minimize property damage, injury or even death.
- Know your area’s flood risk – if unsure, contact your local emergency management agency or planning and zoning department, or visit www.floodsmart.gov .
- Most home insurance policies Do Not cover flood damage from rising water. Review your policy with your insurance provider and if you rent, consider renter’s insurance. . FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program provides reasonable flood insurance in exchange for the careful management of flood-prone areas by local communities.
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a flood.
- A flood watch means widespread flooding is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. A watch is issued for flooding that is expected to occur six to 12 hours after the heavy rains have ended.
- A flood warning means a flood is expected in your area within six to 12 hours. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Build a disaster supplies kit and prepare a portable Ready kit.
- Plan how to leave and where to go if advised to evacuate.
- Develop a communications plan and select a meeting place outside of your neighborhood in case your family is separated and unable to return home due to flooded roads.
- Identify an out-of-town contact. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service.
- Plan ahead for your pets. Shelters cannot accept pets due to health reasons, so it’s important to find a pet-friendly hotel or make arrangements with family or friends in advance.
- Prepare your home by:
- Protecting important documents. Keep insurance policies and copies of other important documents in a waterproof container in your Ready kit. Make electronic copies by taking photos of them with your phone or scanning them.
- Move furniture and valuables to higher floors .
- Raise your furnace, water heater and electric panel if they are in lower areas of your home that could flood.
- If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
- Monitor local media, NOAA Weather Radio or the Ready Georgia mobile app for flood information.
- Follow local officials’ instructions.. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Do not drive around barricades. They are there for your safety.
- Never drive through standing water. It only takes one foot to float a full-sized automobile and two feet of fast-moving water can sweep it away.
- More than half of flood victims are in vehicles swept away by moving water.
- Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains.
- Stay out of floodwaters if possible. The water may be contaminated or electrically charged. However, if your car stalls in rapidly rising water, get out immediately and seek higher ground.
- Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of electric shock or electrocution.
- Do not return to your home until local authorities say it is safe. Even after floodwaters recede, roads and bridges may be weakened and could collapse. Buildings may be unstable, and drinking water may be contaminated. Use common sense and exercise caution.
About Ready Georgia
Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign designed to educate and empower Georgians to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, potential terrorist attacks and other large-scale emergencies. The campaign is a project of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS) and provides a local dimension to Ready America, a broader national campaign. Ready Georgia aims to prepare citizens for maintaining self-sufficiency for at least 72 hours following an emergency, and uses an interactive website, free mobile app, broadcast and print advertising and public awareness media messaging to reach its audiences. Ready Georgia is also on Facebook and YouTube.