Editor’s note: This is the third
article in a series of articles during March in observance of Severe Weather Awareness
Flooding and flash flooding
are the most dangerous severe weather threats throughout most areas of the country,
including Kansas, according to the National Weather Service.
“In our regional area, we have
experienced full flooding like those back in 1993, but, most recently, we
normally have experienced flash flooding,” said Chris Hallenbeck, emergency
management specialist, Emergency Management Office, Directorate of Plans,
Training, Mobilization and Security. “Flash flooding is a rapid and heavy flow
of high water into a normally dry area and can occur within a few minutes or hours
from excessive rainfall. It is very important to know what to do before, during
and after the flood.”
In 1993, Fort Riley was part
of a regional flood that broke previous flood records and covered most of the
Midwest. The flood is commonly referred to as the “Great Flood of 1993,”
according to the National Weather Service website. More information about the
Great Flood of 1993 can be found at www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/floods/papers/oh_2/great.htm.
“Being prepared for
flooding will keep your family safe and also help to minimize potential property
damage,” Hallenbeck said.
Sometimes floods develop slowly
and forecasters can anticipate where a flood will happen days or weeks before
it occurs. Oftentimes flash floods can occur within minutes and sometimes
without any sign of rain. Being prepared can save lives. Below are some tips
from the National Weather Service in the event of a flood:
BEFORE A FLOOD
• Create a family
• Assemble an emergency kit
• Know the risks
• Prepare your home
• Prepare family and pets
• Charge essential
electronics in the home
DURING A FLOOD
• Stay informed
• Monitor local radio and
television (including NOAA Weather Radio), internet and social media for information
• Get to higher ground
• Get out of areas subject to
flooding and get to higher ground immediately.
• Obey evacuation orders
• If told to evacuate, do
so immediately. Be sure to lock your home as you leave. If you have time,
disconnect utilities and appliances.
• Practice electrical
• Don’t go into a basement,
or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged.
If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping or popping noises --get
out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!
• Avoid flood waters
AFTER A FLOOD
• Stay informed
• Stay tuned to your local news
for updated information on road conditions. Ensure water is safe to drink, cook
or clean with after a flood. Oftentimes a boil water order is put in place
following a flood. Check with utility companies to find out when electricity or
gas services may be restored.
• Avoid flood waters
• Standing water hides many
dangers including toxins and chemicals. There may be debris under the water and
the road surface may have been compromised.
• If it is likely your home
will flood, don’t wait to be ordered to leave; evacuate yourself. Make
alternative plans for a place to stay. If you have pets, take them with you or make
arrangements to board them at a facility well away from the flooding danger.
• Avoid disaster areas
• Do not visit disaster
areas! Your presence may hamper rescue and other emergency operations.
• Heed road closed and cautionary
• Road closure and other cautionary
signs are put in place for your safety. Pay attention to them!
• Wait for the “all clear”
• Do not enter a flood
damaged home or building until you’re given the all clear by authorities. If
you choose to enter a flood damaged building, be extremely careful. Water can
compromise the structural integrity and its foundation. Make sure the
electrical system has been turned off, otherwise contact the power company or a
qualified electrician. Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to
discuss the damage done to your property. If you have a home generator, be sure
to follow proper safety procedures for use. You can find generator safety
information at www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/co/generator.shtm.
• Contact family
According to the National Weather
Service, below are some key terms to be aware of in the event of a flood or flash
• Flash flood warning. A flash
flood warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. Those in a
flood prone area should move immediately to high ground.
• Flood Warning. A flood warning
is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening.
• Flood watch. A flood watch
is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding
will occur, but it is possible.
• Flood advisory. A flood advisory is issued when flooding
is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause
significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations
that may threaten life and/or property.