We see our fair share of flooding across New York State. Some areas are more prone than others, but between ice jam floods, snowmelt floods, flash floods, and river floods, there are plenty of times where flooding can become a reality. No matter where you live in the state, the best thing you can do is be ready.
Flood Advisories are issued when an upcoming weather event will create problems. Typically, those problems will be more of an annoyance than a serious issue.
When the situation looks like it will be worse, Flood Watches get issued. These usually happen days ahead of a weather event that could turn nasty. When it's upgraded to a Warning, you need to take action. This alert means that flooding is happening and could threaten life and property.
Many people are surprised to hear how little water causes flooding and creates danger. Just six inches of moving water can knock over an adult. It takes only one foot of water to push cars, and about two feet of water will take out SUVs and trucks.
This means as much as you may want to help someone out of flood waters or drive through that ‘puddle’ to get home faster, you should not do so!
The Centers for Disease Control reports that half of all flood-related deaths occur when people try to drive through floodwater. Walking in floodwater is the second-highest contributor to death.
The last thing you want to do when a warning is issued is panic. To keep calm, create a communication plan with your family and friends. It's 2021, so a group text message is a great way to keep everybody on the same page. Another great resource is Facebook. During serious emergencies, Facebook allows you to mark yourself safe so that everyone knows they don’t need to worry about your health and wellness.
Another thing you may want to do is have an emergency kit ready. This does not have to be something that takes days to put together. Because I live in New York and know how quickly the weather can change, I always keep a blanket, a bottle of water, a granola bar, a snow brush and a cell phone charger in my car. These few simple items can make a really bad day go a little more smoothly.
Our state has had many noteworthy flooding events. One that stands out in recent memory is from June 2006. Between the 26th and 28th that month, warm, tropical rain fell over the Western Mohawk, Susquehanna, and Delaware River basins. Most saw 2-6” of rain, but those in the high peaks of the Catskills saw 11-13”!
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) report, the event claimed four lives, ruined thousands of homes and closed hundreds of roads and highways. It is estimated that clean-up efforts cost $227 million. Check out the National Weather Service photo gallery of the event.
Use Severe Weather Awareness Week to help prepare yourself and your family. Remember, it takes just a few minutes to throw a bag together to keep in your car. That bag could be the difference between a real emergency and just an inconvenient day.
Always have a way to get alerts sent to you. In this day and age, most people have a cell phone. This is the most effective way to get alerts delivered. The Spectrum News app is a great way to get any advisory, watch, or warning sent directly to your pocket. As long as you heed the warnings given to you, you have a great chance of staying safe and dry.