What you probably don’t know about flooding disasters
When we think about flood risks, hurricane and common coastal flooding comes first. But, according to the latest reports eight of the 10 states that have seen the most flood disasters are inland.
This means you have one more reason to be prepared for flooding regardless of where you live. In these conditions no community, no house is immune to flooding and its costly impact. We can see that these days as the rains have caused rivers to rise throughout the central U.S., leading to widespread flooding from Texas to Michigan.
Heavy rain, along with melting snow, have caused several key rivers across the central United States to reach or approach major flood stage this week. This had a serious impact resulting in evacuations, water rescues and emergency declarations.
Flooding is our nation’s most common natural disaster.
The United States has over 3.5 million miles of shoreline bordering oceans, lakes, and rivers. Coastal counties are home to more than 123 million people. And more than 25 million Americans live in flood zones.
These areas are have a bigger risk from weather-related catastrophes, which can cause significant physical and economic damage. But this doesn’t mean that all other communities are not supposed to be prepared for such disaster scenarios.
We all know that the U.S. policy is not adequate to reduce the effect of these natural calamities on homes and the communities that leave in these areas. It’s part of your daily task to take in consideration what is to be done to be prepared for emergency cases like this.
There is of course, The National Flood Insurance Program that aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. The system works as insurance to property owners and businesses. The program was established to help reduce federal spending on disaster response and rebuilding. Nowadays the program is nearly $24 billion in debt and faces an unsustainable future.
And what’s the use of that insurance if you don’t manage to stay safe and have a chance to use it?
Flood safety and preparedness
We are currently in a time of year when floods are a common threat across inland US. According to NOAA, there have been 215 U.S. disasters costing $1 billion or more since 1980, for a total of more than $1.2 trillion in damage.
More, the year 2017 tied 2011 for the largest total number of such devastating events.
Given the risk of flooding disasters for some more areas and the fact that 2017 was the costliest year on record for weather disasters in the U.S., is important to know your risk of flooding and have a plan.
Coastal flooding can be devastating, especially in conjunction with a hurricane or tropical storm. We all remember the flooding that took place just last year in Texas and Louisiana due to Hurricane Harvey.
Still, the inland events are as devastating as coastal ones. Flooding forced already hundreds to evacuate and leave all behind.
Make a flood plan when it is not flooding
As I am always saying, an emergency plan well made before the event occurs, it is the best thing you can do, especially if you leave in such areas. It is a good decision that you have an insurance for your house and your business, but here we discuss about your life and your family.
The main thing you must do is to avoid walking or driving flood waters. Avoid as well any bridges that are over these waters as they scour the foundation material and make any bridge unstable.
It’s easy to misjudge the depth of floodwater. In some cases, the flash flood event occurs over such a localized area, say one part of city, that driving conditions may go from dry roads to high water in a matter of a few miles or within minutes.
Don’t forget that just one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
An average of 82 people have died in the U.S. from flash floods each year from 2006-2015, so actually you car can be a deadly trap. Follow the rules and don’t try to be a hero. You have plenty of moments to do this as you must use this time to save you and those in need.
Below, is just an example of what generated 155 deaths in 2015 and the number one cause of weather-related fatalities.
Many drivers are going around our barricades. Please remember, the blockade is there for a reason. This car went around barricades & got stuck in high water on SR 331 in St. Joe Co. Luckily the driver is okay.
Please If you see a barricade, find another way.
This is a story with happy ending, but you’d better stay out of the water. You don’t want to become a statistic.
It’s easy to misjudge the depth of floodwater. In some cases, the flash flood event occurs over such a localized area, say one part of one county or city, that driving conditions may go from dry roads to high water in a matter of a few miles or within minutes.
Your responsibility is to prepare and be aware
If you are a aware of what is to come, start with the most important things and make sure you double check everything. I prefer to start with my things first and I suggest you do that, too. Secure your personal documents and valuables in a secure waterproof case. If you plan to leave the area, make sure to put it along with your bag-out bag.
Make sure you leave before local officials issue an evacuation order for your area. Even a slight delay will result in significantly longer travel times and maybe traffic congestion. Stay connected to any forecast prediction you can, from radio to mobile apps, and make sure you evacuate and avoid routes that are expecting floods sooner than in your area.
- Take your BOB ( you have one ready, right?) and any other emergency kits
- Raise furniture and place any valuables onto beds or tables
- Unplug everything and place electrical items in the highest place
- Turn off power, water and gas
- If you have some sand bags, use them all over your laundry/bathroom drain holes to prevent sewage backflow
- Discuss the details of evacuation plan with your family, and let your friends know were you leave
Disaster preparation will look different for every family as they evaluate their surroundings and what they deem important. A flood can be devastating, but you can minimize the damage by preparing well in advance.
Best option is that you have some friends or relatives that live outside the flood zone.
Ask them if you could come to them, other way you can go to a hotel until the flood passes. This means that you need some money (never to late to set some money aside for these kind of situations) to pay for the accommodation.
Still, don’t rely on these as most probably the hotels in the area are fully booked during flooding disaster. In these situation, fellow preppers and community groups are opening their doors to flood victims.
Hopefully you will keep doing drills of your bugging out plan testing for different conditions. There is no “right” way to make such a plan. You can only strive to do the best you can to prepare for the unknown.
Are you making a bug out plan for a flooding? What other steps do you think are important for this kind of scenario?