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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > Flood Awareness Week: Watches and Warnings

Flood Awareness Week: Watches and Warnings


March 13, 2012


To alert the public to potentially threatening flood conditions, the National Weather Service issues flood watches and warnings. Generally, a Flood Watch is issued when flooding is possible within the next 36 hours. A Flood Warning indicates that flooding is imminent or already occurring.

There are several different types of flood warnings issued by the National Weather Service. Here are some definitions.

Flood warnings for major rivers:

These warnings are issued specifically for major rivers and include forecasts of water levels and/or flows at certain points along the river.

Flood warnings for small rivers and streams:

These warnings are issued by county for the smaller rivers and streams.

Flash flood warnings:

These warnings are issued for rivers and streams in a specific area when rapid rises are expected to cause flooding and immediate action may be needed to save lives or protect property.

Flood advisories:

These advisories are issued for urban areas or for small streams when the normal drainage is unable to handle the volume of runoff from heavy rain and/or snowmelt. Ice or snow may contribute to the flooding by blocking drainage mechanisms.

If you live in a flood-prone area, be sure to monitor the latest forecasts for any watches or warnings. Always report any flooding to the appropriate local officials and always obey all barricades and local detours. And never, under any circumstance, drive into a flooded roadway!

Check for current flood watches and warnings on the MEMA and Maine Prepares web sites.

The National Weather Service has declared the week of March 12th through 16th, Flood Awareness Week in Maine and across the United States.





Last update: 07/20/10