Flooding Awareness

Flood

According to the National Weather Service a strong El Nino is shaping up for our winter outlook. It is being forecast to become one of the strongest on record. What does all of this mean for us? A strong El Nino is expected to influence weather and climate patterns in various ways. 1st, a large swath of the western and northern US from California into the Pacific Northwest is expected to be warmer than average. 2nd, The US Drought Outlook shows some improvement is likely in central and southern California, however, drought is likely to persist.

 Understanding the type of hazardous weather that may affect you and your family where you live is an important component to preparedness. 

  • Know Your Risk
    • Thunderstorms and Lightning
      • All thunderstorms are dangerous. According to the National Weather Service, lightening associated with a thunderstorm kills on average in the U.S. 51 people and injures hundreds more each year.
      • Facts about Thunderstorms
        • They may occur singly, in clusters or in lines.
        • Some of the most severe occur when a single thunderstorm affects one location for an extended time.
        • Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain for a brief period, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
        • Warm, humid conditions are highly favorable for thunderstorm development.
        • About 10 percent of thunderstorms are classified as severe – one that produces hail at least an inch or larger in diameter, has winds of 58 miles per hour or higher and produces a tornado.
      • What to do during Thunderstorms
        • Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
        • Avoid contact with corded phones and devices including those plugged into an electrical outlet for recharging.  Cordless and wireless phones not connected to wall outlets are OK to use.
        • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
        • Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
        • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
        • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.
        • Avoid natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
        • Avoid hilltops, open fields, the beach or a boat on the water.
        • Take shelter in a sturdy building. Avoid isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
        • Avoid contact with anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
        • If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
      • What to do after a Thunderstorm or Lightning Strike
        • If lightning strikes you or someone you know, call 9-1-1 for medical assistance as soon as possible. The following are things you should check when you attempt to give aid to a victim of lightning:
          • Breathing - if breathing has stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
          • Heartbeat - if the heart has stopped, administer CPR.
          • Pulse - if the victim has a pulse and is breathing, look for other possible injuries. Check for burns where the lightning entered and left the body. Also be alert for nervous system damage, broken bones and loss of hearing and eyesight.
      • After the storm passes remember to:
        • Never drive through a flooded roadway. Turn around, don’t drown!
        • Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
        • Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or to local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.
        • Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or those with access or functional needs.
        • Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
        • Watch your animals closely. Keep them under your direct control.
    • Flooding
      • Basic Safety Tips
        • Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
        • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
        • Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
        • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.
      • Flood Watch
        • Flood Watch = “Be Aware” – Conditions are right for flooding to occur in your area
        • Steps to Take
          • Turn on your TV/radio. You will receive the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
          • Know where to go. You may need to reach higher ground quickly and on foot.
          • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies 
      • Flood Warning
        • Flood Warning = “Take Action” – Flooding is either happening or will happen shortly
        • Steps to Take
          • Move immediately to higher ground or stay on high ground
          • Evacuate if directed
          • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
      • After a Flood
        • Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
        • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded and watch out for debris. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways.
        • Do not attempt to drive through areas that are still flooded.
        • Avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
        • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.
      • When it is not Flooding: Make a Plan
        • Know your flood risk.
        • Make a flood emergency plan.
        • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
        • Consider buying flood insurance.
        • Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to get to higher ground, the highest level of a building, or to evacuate.
        • Stay tuned to your phone alerts, TV, or radio for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders.