Floods, Flash Floods Can Happen Anytime, Anywhere
Floods are the most common and widespread of all-natural disasters, except fire. In Georgia, most communities experience some kind of flooding after spring rains or heavy thunderstorms. Floods can be slow or fast rising but generally, develop over a period of days. Dam failures are potentially the worst flood events. When a dam fails, a gigantic quantity of water is suddenly let loose downstream, destroying anything in its path.
Flash floods usually result from intense storms dropping large amounts of rain within a brief period. They occur with little or no warning and can reach full peak in only a few minutes. Communities particularly at risk are those located in low-lying areas, near water, or downstream from a dam,” says Ware County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Jonathan Daniell.
Here is some information to help you develop a plan and be ready to act before the possibility of a flood or flash flood threatens you or your family:
Know What to Expect
- Know your area’s flood risk–if unsure, call your local emergency management agency office, planning and zoning department or local Red Cross chapter .
- If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
- Closely monitor a local radio station, TV station or NOAA Weather Radio for flood information.
Reduce Potential Flood Damage By
- Raising your furnace, water heater, and electric panel if they are in areas of your home that may be flooded.
- Consult with a professional for further information if this and other damage reduction measures can be taken.
Floods Can Take Several Hours to Days to Develop
- A flood WATCH means a flood is possible in your area.
- A flood WARNING means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
Flash Floods Can Take Only a Few Minutes to a Few Hours to Develop
- A flash flood WATCH means flash flooding is possible in your area.
- A flash flood WARNING means a flash flood is occurring or will occur very soon.
Prepare a Family Disaster Plan
- Go to www.warecounty.com, www.waycrossga.com, www.yourwarelocal.com and sign up for Code Red the free emergency notification system for the citizens of Waycross and Ware County.
- Check to see if you have insurance that covers flooding. If not, find out how to get flood insurance.
- Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box.
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Containing
- First aid kit and essential medications.
- Canned food and can opener.
- At least three gallons of water per person.
- Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
- Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
- Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
- Written instructions for how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you’ll need a professional to turn them back on.)
- Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places — a friend’s home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.
When a Flood WATCH Is Issued
- Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
- Fill your car’s gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued.
When a Flood WARNING Is Issued
- Closely monitor NOAA Weather Radio, local radio or television for the latest weather forecasts.
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately!
- When a Flash Flood WATCH Is Issued
- Be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice.
When a Flash Flood WARNING Is Issued
- Or if you think it has already started, evacuate immediately. You may have only seconds to escape. Act quickly!
- Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades . . . they are there for your safety.
- If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
For more information, contact Ware County EMA at 287-4394, Georgia Emergency Management Agency at 1-800-TRY-GEMA or visit these Web sites: www.gema.state.ga.us, www.srh.noaa.gov/ffc, www.warecitizencorps.com or www.redcross.org.