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FLOOD SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK, March 27th-31st, 2017

A.H.P.S. (The Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service)

AHPS Screenshot

WHAT IS AHPS?

  AHPS IS THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE'S ONGOING EFFORT TO MODERNIZE OUR HYDROLOGIC SERVICES. AHPS PROVIDES IMPROVED RIVER AND FLOOD FORECASTS...AND WATER INFORMATION ACROSS AMERICA TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY...AND TO ENSURE THE NATION'S ECONOMIC WELL-BEING.
  AHPS GRAPHICAL PRODUCTS ARE AVAILABLE AT OUR WEB SITE...CLICK ON THE Rivers and Lakes LINK. 


WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM AHPS?

  EVERYONE WHO MAKES DECISIONS BASED ON WATER...INCLUDING FARMERS...RIVER BOAT PILOTS...EMERGENCY MANAGERS...MUNICIPAL WATER SUPPLY OFFICIALS...RECREATIONAL BOATERS AND WATER SKIERS...FISHERMEN...AND DAM OPERATORS.  ALL OF THESE PEOPLE CAN ALL BENEFIT FROM AHPS.

WHAT WILL AHPS DO FOR ME?

  BECAUSE EVERY MINUTE COUNTS...AHPS WILL HELP EMERGENCY MANAGERS BE MORE PROACTIVE TO "FIGHT" A FLOOD.  AHPS PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR COMMUNITY LEADERS AND BUSINESS OWNERS TO MAKE BETTER LIFE-SAVING DECISIONS ABOUT EVACUATING PEOPLE OR MOVING PROPERTY BEFORE A FLOOD.  THE NAVIGATION COMMUNITY WILL BE ABLE TO PLAN WITH BETTER CONFIDENCE AND OPTIMIZE BARGE AND SHIPPING OPERATIONS...SAVING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EACH YEAR.  RECREATIONAL USERS WILL BE ABLE TO STAY OUT OF HARM'S WAY.  AHPS...WITH ITS SUITE OF ENHANCED INFORMATION...PROVIDES THE PUBLIC WITH MORE DETAILED AND ACCURATE ANSWERS TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

  • HOW HIGH WILL THE RIVERS 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?

TOPICS FOR THE REST OF FLOOD SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK:

  • TUESDAY...TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN.
  • WEDNESDAY...FLOODING...CAUSES AND SEVERITY.
  • THURSDAY...FLOOD INSURANCE.
  • FRIDAY...FLOOD SAFETY.

 

T.A.D.D. (Turn Around, Don't Drown!)

TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN IS A NOAA NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CAMPAIGN TO WARN PEOPLE OF THE HAZARDS OF WALKING THROUGH OR DRIVING A VEHICLE THROUGH FLOOD WATERS.

WHY IS TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN SO IMPORTANT?

  EACH YEAR...MORE DEATHS OCCUR DUE TO FLOODING THAN FROM ANY OTHER SEVERE WEATHER RELATED HAZARD.  THE MAIN REASON IS THAT PEOPLE UNDERESTIMATE THE FORCE AND POWER OF WATER.  MORE THAN HALF OF ALL FLOOD RELATED DEATHS RESULT FROM VEHICLES BEING SWEPT DOWNSTREAM.  MANY OF THESE DEATHS ARE PREVENTABLE.

WHAT CAN I DO TO AVOID GETTING CAUGHT IS THIS SITUATION?

FOLLOW THESE SAFETY RULES:

  1. MONITOR THE NOAA WEATHER RADIO ALL HAZARDS...OR YOUR FAVORITE NEWS SOURCE FOR VITAL WEATHER-RELATED INFORMATION.
  2. IF FLOODING OCCURS...GET TO HIGHER GROUND.  GET OUT OF AREAS SUBJECT TO FLOODING...LIKE DIPS...LOW SPOTS...CANYONS...AND WASHES.
  3. AVOID AREAS ALREADY FLOODED...ESPECIALLY IF THE WATER IS FLOWING FAST. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS FLOWING STREAMS.  TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN.
  4. ROAD BEDS MAY BE WASHED OUT UNDER FLOOD WATERS.  NEVER DRIVE THROUGH FLOODED ROADWAYS. TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN.
  5. DO NOT CAMP OR PARK YOUR VEHICLE ALONG STREAMS AND WASHES...PARTICULARLY DURING THREATENING CONDITIONS.
  6. BE ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS AT NIGHT WHEN IT IS HARDER TO RECOGNIZE FLOOD DANGERS.

TOPICS FOR THE REST OF FLOOD SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK:

  • WEDNESDAY...FLOODING...CAUSES AND SEVERITY.
  • THURSDAY...FLOOD INSURANCE.
  • FRIDAY...FLOOD SAFETY.

 

 

Flooding - Causes and Severity

Ephrata, PA flooding 2011

THERE ARE TWO MAIN WAYS THAT FLOODING TYPICALLY DEVELOPS IN PENNSYLVANIA.

FIRST...EXCESSIVE RAINFALL. 

  TOO MUCH RAIN WILL FALL IN A SPECIFIC AMOUNT OF TIME...OVERWHELMING THE CREEKS AND STREAMS...AND FILLING THE RIVERS.  THE CAUSES FOR THIS EXCESSIVE RAIN VARY GREATLY.  WIDESPREAD HEAVY RAIN TO THE NORTH OF A WARM FRONT...SLOW MOVING THUNDERSTORMS...AND TROPICAL CYCLONES ARE THE CHIEF CAUSES OF EXCESSIVE RAINFALL IN PENNSYLVANIA. 

SECOND...SNOW MELT COMBINED WITH RAINFALL. 

  DURING THE WINTER AND EARLY SPRING...WHEN THERE IS SNOW ON THE GROUND...THE WATER  CONTENT OF THE SNOW IS RELEASED AND RUNS OFF INTO THE WATERWAYS WHEN IT MELTS DUE TO RAPIDLY WARMING TEMPERATURES...OR RAIN FALLING ON THE SNOW...OR BOTH.

LET US TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT TROPICAL CYCLONES:

  TROPICAL CYCLONES ARE PROLIFIC PRODUCERS OF RAINFALL...AND OFTEN CREATE FLOODING WHEN THEY MOVE INLAND. WHEN IT COMES TO TROPICAL CYCLONES...WHICH IS THE GENERIC TERM FOR A HURRICANE...TYPHOON...OR TROPICAL STORM...THE WIND SPEEDS DO NOT TELL THE WHOLE STORY.

  INTENSE RAINFALL...NOT DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE WIND SPEED OF A TROPICAL CYCLONE...OFTEN CAUSES MORE DAMAGE.  SINCE THE 1970S...INLAND FLOODING HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR MORE THAN HALF OF THE DEATHS ASSOCIATED WITH TROPICAL CYCLONES IN THE UNITED STATES.  TYPICALLY...GREATER RAINFALL AMOUNTS AND FLOODING ARE ASSOCIATED WITH TROPICAL CYCLONES THAT HAVE A SLOW FORWARD SPEED...OR STALL OVER AN AREA.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT INLAND FLOODING FROM TROPICAL CYCLONES?
  INLAND FRESHWATER FLOODS ACCOUNTED FOR MORE THAN HALF OF U.S. TROPICAL CYCLONE DEATHS OVER THE PAST 30 YEARS.

  RAINFALL IS TYPICALLY HEAVIER WITH SLOWER-MOVING STORMS...AS SLOWER-MOVING TROPICAL CYCLONES ALLOW HEAVY RAIN TO PERSIST FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME OVER A LOCATION.

WHAT TYPES OF INLAND FLOODING ARE CAUSED BY TROPICAL CYCLONES?
  BOTH FLASH FLOODING AND LONGER-LASTING RIVER FLOODING CAN RESULT.

  FLASH FLOODING OCCURS IN CREEKS...STREAMS...AND URBAN AREAS WITHIN A FEW MINUTES OR HOURS OF EXCESSIVE RAINFALL.  STREETS CAN BECOME SWIFT MOVING RIVERS AND UNDERPASSES CAN BECOME DEATH TRAPS.

  RIVER FLOODING OCCURS FROM PROLONGED HEAVY RAINS ASSOCIATED WITH DECAYING HURRICANES OR TROPICAL STORMS...AND IN EXTREME CASES...RIVER FLOODS CAN LAST A WEEK OR MORE.

HOW DO I KNOW HOW SEVERE A FLOOD WILL BE?
  WITHIN FLOOD WARNING PRODUCTS...THE NWS CONVEYS THE MAGNITUDE OF OBSERVED OR FORECAST FLOODING USING FLOOD SEVERITY CATEGORIES. THESE FLOOD SEVERITY CATEGORIES INCLUDE MINOR FLOODING...MODERATE FLOODING...AND MAJOR FLOODING. EACH CATEGORY HAS A DEFINITION BASED ON PROPERTY DAMAGE AND PUBLIC THREAT.

THE DEFINITIONS OF FLOOD SEVERITY:

  • MINOR FLOODING: MINIMAL PROPERTY DAMAGE. SOME PUBLIC THREAT OR INCONVENIENCE.
  • MODERATE FLOODING: SOME INUNDATION OF STRUCTURES AND ROADS NEAR STREAMS. SOME EVACUATIONS OF PEOPLE AND...OR TRANSFER OF PROPERTY TO HIGHER ELEVATIONS ARE NECESSARY.
  • MAJOR FLOODING: EXTENSIVE INUNDATION OF STRUCTURES AND ROADS. SIGNIFICANT EVACUATIONS OF PEOPLE AND...OR TRANSFER OF PROPERTY TO HIGHER ELEVATIONS.

  THE EFFECTS OF FLOODS VARY LOCALLY.  FOR EACH NWS RIVER FORECAST LOCATION...FLOOD STAGE...AND THE STAGE ASSOCIATED WITH EACH OF THE NWS FLOOD SEVERITY CATEGORIES ARE ESTABLISHED IN COOPERATION WITH LOCAL PUBLIC OFFICIALS.  INCREASING RIVER LEVELS ABOVE FLOOD STAGE CONSTITUTE MINOR...MODERATE...AND MAJOR FLOODING.  IMPACTS VARY FROM ONE RIVER LOCATION TO ANOTHER BECAUSE A CERTAIN RIVER STAGE (ALSO KNOWN AS RIVER HEIGHT) IN ONE LOCATION MAY HAVE AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT IMPACT THAN THE SAME LEVEL ABOVE FLOOD STAGE AT ANOTHER LOCATION.

  YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO USE THE REGULAR TONE-ALERT TESTS ON THE NOAA WEATHER RADIO TRANSMITTERS TODAY TO PRACTICE FLOOD SAFETY DRILLS AND PROCEDURES AT YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS.

TOPICS FOR THE REST OF FLOOD SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK:

  • THURSDAY...FLOOD INSURANCE.
  • FRIDAY...FLOOD SAFETY.

 

 

Flood Insurance

Johnstown Flood 1889

WHAT IS FLOOD INSURANCE?
  IN 1968...CONGRESS CREATED THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM IN RESPONSE TO THE RISING COST OF TAXPAYER-FUNDED DISASTER RELIEF FOR FLOOD VICTIMS AND THE INCREASING AMOUNT OF DAMAGE CAUSED BY FLOODS.

WHY DO I NEED FLOOD INSURANCE?
  FLOOD LOSSES ARE NOT COVERED BY YOUR HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE POLICY.  LOCAL FLOODING CAN HAPPEN IN ALL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY AT ALMOST ANY TIME OF THE YEAR.  FLOODING CAUSES MORE DAMAGE IN THE UNITED STATES THAN ANY OTHER WEATHER RELATED EVENT...AVERAGING 4.6 BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS.

HOW DO I OBTAIN A FLOOD INSURANCE POLICY?
  YOU CAN PURCHASE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE FROM PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES AND AGENTS.  IN FACT...YOU MAY BE ABLE TO PURCHASE IT WITH A CREDIT CARD.  CURRENTLY...THERE ARE OVER 100 INSURANCE COMPANIES THAT SELL NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE COVERAGE THROUGH SOME SIXTY-THOUSAND INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENTS.

  IF A SELLER OF A PROPERTY HAS FLOOD INSURANCE COVERAGE ON THE BUILDING...THAT POLICY CAN BE ASSIGNED TO THE BUYER AT THE TIME OF CLOSING.  IF A MORTGAGE COMPANY REQUIRES FLOOD INSURANCE AS A CONDITION OF THE LOAN...THE LENDER MAY ESCROW FLOOD INSURANCE PREMIUMS...MAKING IT EASY TO ENSURE THAT YOU WILL NOT GET CAUGHT WITHOUT FLOOD INSURANCE WHEN A FLOOD THREATENS YOUR HOME.

WHO CAN PURCHASE FLOOD INSURANCE?
  ANYONE IN A COMMUNITY THAT PARTICIPATES IN THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM CAN PURCHASE BUILDING AND...OR CONTENTS COVERAGE...WITH A FEW EXCEPTIONS.  COASTAL BARRIER RESOURCES SYSTEM AREAS...OTHERWISE PROTECTED AREAS...AND BUILDINGS PRINCIPALLY BELOW GROUND OR ENTIRELY OVER WATER ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE.

Flood Smart dot GOV  YOU CAN FIND OUT IF YOU CAN GET FLOOD INSURANCE USING THE FloodSmart.gov WEBSITE.  JUST FILL OUT THE FLOOD RISK PROFILE FOR THE LOCATION YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT.

TOPICS FOR THE REST OF FLOOD SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK:

  • FRIDAY...FLOOD SAFETY.

 

 

Flood Safety

Have a Plan to Stay Safe

 

IS FLOODING REALLY THAT BIG OF A DEAL?

  FLOODING CAUSES MORE DAMAGE IN THE UNITED STATES THAN ANY OTHER WEATHER RELATED EVENT...AN AVERAGE OF 4.6 BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS.  FLOODING CAN OCCUR IN ANY OF THE 50 STATES OR U.S. TERRITORIES DURING ANY TIME OF THE YEAR.

HOW CAN I FIND OUT IF I AM IN DANGER FROM A FLOOD?
  NOAA WEATHER RADIO ALL HAZARDS IS ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO RECEIVE WARNINGS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.  NOAA WEATHER RADIO ALL HAZARDS IS A NATIONWIDE NETWORK OF RADIO STATIONS BROADCASTING CONTINUOUS WEATHER AND RIVER INFORMATION DIRECT FROM NEARBY NWS OFFICES.  THE AHPS WEB PAGE IDENTIFIES WHERE FLOODING IS OCCURRING. 

IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO PREPARE FOR A FLOOD?
  INFORMATION ON HOW YOU CAN REDUCE POTENTIAL FLOOD DAMAGE AND WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A FAMILY DISASTER PLAN CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.  THE NWS WORKS WITH...AND RELIES ON...STRATEGIC PARTNERS INVOLVED IN FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT...FLOOD HAZARD MITIGATION...AND FLOOD PREPAREDNESS TO REDUCE THE LOSS OF LIFE AND PROPERTY DUE TO FLOODS.  

  WHEN FLOODING THREATENS...LISTEN TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO OR YOUR FAVORITE MEDIA OUTLET FOR WARNINGS AND STATEMENTS.  THESE WARNINGS AND STATEMENTS CONTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT SPECIFIC LOCATIONS THAT WILL BE IMPACTED...AND THE THREATS THAT ARE EXPECTED DUE TO THE FLOODING.

 

HOW DO I KNOW HOW SEVERE A FLOOD WILL BE?
  ONCE A RIVER REACHES FLOOD STAGE...THE FLOOD SEVERITY CATEGORIES USED BY THE NWS INCLUDE MINOR FLOODING...MODERATE FLOODING...AND MAJOR FLOODING. EACH CATEGORY HAS A DEFINITION BASED ON PROPERTY DAMAGE AND PUBLIC THREAT.

THE DEFINITIONS OF FLOOD SEVERITY:

  • MINOR FLOODING: MINIMAL PROPERTY DAMAGE. SOME PUBLIC THREAT OR INCONVENIENCE.
  • MODERATE FLOODING: SOME INUNDATION OF STRUCTURES AND ROADS NEAR STREAMS. SOME EVACUATIONS OF PEOPLE AND...OR TRANSFER OF PROPERTY TO HIGHER ELEVATIONS ARE NECESSARY.
  • MAJOR FLOODING: EXTENSIVE INUNDATION OF STRUCTURES AND ROADS. SIGNIFICANT EVACUATIONS OF PEOPLE AND...OR TRANSFER OF PROPERTY TO HIGHER ELEVATIONS.

  THE EFFECTS OF FLOODS VARY LOCALLY.  FOR EACH NWS RIVER FORECAST LOCATION...FLOOD STAGE AND THE STAGE ASSOCIATED WITH EACH OF THE NWS FLOOD SEVERITY CATEGORIES ARE ESTABLISHED IN COOPERATION WITH LOCAL PUBLIC OFFICIALS.  INCREASING RIVER LEVELS ABOVE FLOOD STAGE CONSTITUTE MINOR...MODERATE...AND MAJOR FLOODING.  IMPACTS VARY FROM ONE RIVER LOCATION TO ANOTHER BECAUSE A CERTAIN RIVER STAGE HEIGHT IN ONE LOCATION MAY HAVE AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT IMPACT THAN THE SAME LEVEL ABOVE FLOOD STAGE AT ANOTHER LOCATION.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FLOOD AND FLASH FLOOD?
  A FLOOD OCCURS WHEN PROLONGED RAINFALL OVER SEVERAL DAYS...INTENSE RAINFALL OVER A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME...OR AN ICE OR DEBRIS JAM CAUSES A RIVER OR STREAM TO OVERFLOW AND FLOOD THE SURROUNDING AREA.  MELTING SNOW CAN COMBINE WITH RAIN IN THE WINTER AND EARLY SPRING.  SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN BRING HEAVY RAIN IN THE SPRING AND SUMMER.  TROPICAL CYCLONES CAN BRING INTENSE RAINFALL TO THE COASTAL AND INLAND STATES IN THE SUMMER AND FALL.

  A FLASH FLOOD OCCURS WITHIN SIX HOURS OF A RAIN EVENT...OR AFTER A DAM OR LEVEE FAILURE...OR FOLLOWING A SUDDEN RELEASE OF WATER HELD BY AN ICE OR DEBRIS JAM.  FLASH FLOODS CAN CATCH PEOPLE UNPREPARED. YOU WILL NOT ALWAYS HAVE TIME TO PREPARE FOR A SUDDEN FLOOD.  SO...IF YOU LIVE IN AREAS PRONE TO FLASH FLOODS...PLAN NOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY AND PROPERTY.  THE USE OF THE WORD FLASH HERE IS SYNONYMOUS WITH THE WORD URGENT.

TODAY CONCLUDES NATIONAL FLOOD SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK.  

 

PLEASE REMEMBER TO PRACTICE FLOOD SAFETY ALL YEAR LONG...AS FLOODING CAN HAPPEN DURING ANY SEASON.

 

 

PDF Resources: Floods, The Awesome Power Brochure -- Red Cross Flood Safety Checklist Brochure