BOSTON – With some areas already experiencing bouts of spring flooding, emergency management officials are urging New England residents to stay informed about the potential hazards of flooding.
As part of National Flood Awareness Week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to improve public awareness.
The agencies’ goal is to improve understanding about flood risk among individuals, families, businesses and communities. Knowledge and the right precautions can protect families, homes and finances.
“New Englanders are generally aware of the hazards of seasonal and coastal flooding, but Hurricanes Irene and Sandy certainly opened peoples’ eyes regarding flash flooding,” said FEMA Region I Acting Administrator Paul Ford. “The value of an emergency plan and a flood insurance policy for your home or business – even if it is not in a flood-prone area – is now apparent.”
Floods are the most common hazard in the United States. However, not all floods are alike. Floods typically occur when too much rain falls or snow melts too quickly. Chunks of ice from a thawing river can block its normal flow and force water out of its banks. While some floods develop slowly, flash floods develop suddenly.
Hurricanes can bring flooding to areas far inland from where they first hit the coast, as we witnessed two years ago from the devastating impacts of Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, and last year from Hurricane Sandy.
There are simple steps citizens can take today to reduce their risk to all types of floods. Flood Safety Awareness Week is an excellent time for people and communities to learn about their flood risk and implement precautions to mitigate the threat to life and property.
One of the most dangerous elements of a flood is floodwaters covering roadways, and the public is urged to never attempt driving through them. Many people lose their lives every year by attempting to drive through flood-covered roadways.
NOAA will issue the 2013 U.S. Spring Outlook and flood assessment on March 21.
For more information on flood safety tips and information, visit www.ready.gov/floods or the Spanish-language web site www.listo.gov For information on how to obtain a flood insurance policy, visit www.floodsmart.gov
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders and to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.