HARRISBURG, Pa. -- When the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) issued a news release warning of the potential storm one day before April fool's day, Don Menke yawned. "This must be a joke," he thought. The sky was slightly gray and, yes, he expected rain, but maybe PEMA was being extra cautious because of the Tropical Depression declared a disaster late last year?
In the news release, PEMA warned that heavy rains could lead to flooding in eastern and central portions of the Commonwealth.
On April 2 as Don gazed out the window of his bungalow in New Hope, which overlooks the Delaware River, it began raining softly. To his surprise the river started rising immediately-and steadily. He felt safe, however, because his home is elevated eight feet above grade.
Don had minor water damage to his furnace and electric meter which are at grade. He bought the house five years ago, already elevated. He plans to renovate, moving the furnace and meter above grade and reserving the space under his house for just his car and storage. An architect, Don is still considering how to build partitions between the existing support columns that will allow floodwaters to flow through if he is flooded again. Disaster officials suggested Flood Vents that work to manage the flow and Don is considering that option.
Don's flood insurance covers damage to the house, including the furnace. He registered with FEMA and received rental assistance for lodging until the repairs to his electrical system and furnace can be made.
According to State Coordinating Officer Adrian R. King Jr., "One of the most effective ways to prevent future flood damage is to elevate your home above the flood level. Mr. Menke's case is a testament to the effectiveness of home elevation for mitigation."
Federal Coordinating Officer, Tom Davies, added, "Using mitigation techniques is not only wise in terms of money saved on repairs and other losses, but it decreases stress and displacement. It is an important aspect of disaster preparedness."
Mitigation information is available on FEMA's web site, www.fema.gov., or at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.