Flood Safety Awareness
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - As we head into spring and temperatures warm up, flooding, at some point, will likely be a concern throughout the County. So, what can you do to stay prepared? Vanessa Symonick has more.
Louise Fode: “Basically, it’s bringing flooding to the forefront of people’s minds. We’ve just been through winter. We haven’t had a lot of flooding going on and now we’re heading into our flood season. We want to make sure that people remember that flooding is a risk and what to do in case of a flood. To stay safe and protect their property.”
National Flood Safety Awareness Week in New England runs from March 13th- 19th and while this week is used as a week to raise awareness it’s always important to be prepared for flooding no matter what time of year. Here locally, most flooding comes from ice jams in local rivers because of warming temperatures, but flooding can also come from periods of heavy rain or even from snow melt. Most river levels are monitored using a series of automated gauges within the rivers themselves through the USGS to indicate when a river is reaching flood stage.
Nick Stasulis: “Our gauging systems have a piece of equipment or a box that sits at the side of the river. Those can look different. Some may be a concrete structure, so might be like an aluminum box. And there’s a line that runs down it to the river that measures the height of the water. We call that gauge height, but it’s really the elevation of the water. And that unit that does the readings, it logs a value every 15 minutes.”
And when those gauges get to a high level, flooding becomes a concern on the roads. according to officials 38% of all flood related fatalities occur when driving into hazardous flood waters. It takes around 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a car and six inches of rushing water to take a person off their feet.
Darren Woods: “We’ve seen many times where the road is washed out underneath and the pavement is just kind of sticking together for whatever reason that it does that. And if any bit of weight at all goes on the top of it you’ll fall right through. We’ve seen cars get stranded in flooded roads.”
And both Woods and Fode have this final message about making sure you stay safe in flooded areas.
Woods: “The biggest thing is just being aware. Really paying attention. Seeing what the conditions are. Paying attention to the weather because rain affects a big portion of what may or may not happen for us.”
Fode: “so if you are in a community that might get cut off due to flooding make sure you have the resources ahead of time. Make sure that you have an evacuation kit if you need that”.
And you can find more information about flood safety by visiting ready.gov/floods. Vanessa Symonick, Newssource 8
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