PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
Monday, March 18, 2013
The National Weather Service is hosting its annual Flood Safety Awareness Week campaign today through Friday, March 22nd. Every March the National Weather Service spends a week focusing on flood prevention and awareness.
2013 is the Centennial Anniversary of the largest weather disaster in Ohio’s history, the Great Ohio Valley Flood of 1913. This extreme weather event extended from Indiana to New York with record rainfall and flooding starting on March 23rd 1913 and lasting through the 27th. The rainstorms produced the largest weather disaster the nation had ever witnessed to that point. Ever river in Ohio and Northwest Pennsylvania flooded, many to unprecedented levels. When the flood waters finally receded, over a quarter million Americans were left homeless and over a thousand had perished. Those killed directly by flood waters is estimated to be around 600 in Ohio alone (still estimating).
An era of flood awareness with an emphasis on flood protection followed immediately after the flood. Many towns that were impacted saw their landscapes reshaped as they adopted new dams, levees, and flood walls. During the last century state and federal agencies developed numerous flood warning, awareness, and protection services to protect life and property for those who live in flood zones. Despite all the advances in mitigation and forecasting, flooding is still the number one hazardous weather-related killer in the United States. The first step to reducing the loss of life and property from floods is to be aware of your flood risk.
The National Weather Service has the role of issuing flood warnings to alert the public of potentially dangerous flooding conditions. One tool for accessing these forecasts is through the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service website, also known as AHPS.
The AHPS website makes available to users the river gauge readings along with predictions on future river stages at points across the country. In Ohio and Northwestern Pennsylvania there are over 23 such river forecast point. Communities that are affected by the rivers that these gauges represent can monitor river rise and forecasts to help them prepare for impending floods.
The AHPS provides the public with more detailed and accurate answers to the following questions:
• How high will the river rise?
• When will the river reach its peak?
• Where will the flooding occur?
• How long will the flood last?
• How long will the drought last?
• How certain is the forecast?
Additional information about the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service can be found at http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/ or Flood Safety Awareness Week can be found at WWW.FLOODSAFETY.NOAA.GOV. For more information about the Great Ohio Valley Flood of 1913 please visit http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu/1913Flood/.