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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > Flood Awareness Week: Safety and Preparedness Tips

Flood Awareness Week: Safety and Preparedness Tips


March 17, 2008


The National Weather Service has declared the week of March 17th through 21st Flood Awareness Week in Maine and New Hampshire. MEMA joins the NWS Forecast Offices in Gray and Caribou, Maine in reminding all Mainers that flooding is our number one hazard, causing more damage in the state than any other natural disaster. Flooding also kills.

In the United States, flooding is the top storm-related killer, on average, claiming the lives of about 100 people annually. About 60 of those deaths are the result of people driving into flooded roadways. Victims are usually either trapped in their cars or they drown as they are washed downstream by raging flood waters.

The vast majority of the deaths are preventable. Here are some flood safety and preparedness tips that could save your life.

  • Never drive a car into a flooded roadway! As little as 2 feet of water will float most cars and can cause them to be washed off the roadway. Water levels are often difficult to judge, particularly and you may not be able to tell if a roadway is already washed away.

  • Always remember, if you come upon a flood roadway, TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN! Find another way home; it could save your life.

  • Be especially cautious at night when darkness makes it difficult to see flood dangers. If driving, slow down so you have more time to react to potential hazards.

  • During heavy rainfall events or during times of rapid snow melt, do not camp or park in flood-prone areas.

  • Monitor the latest forecast and listen for any alerts for your area to warn you of impending hazardous situations

  • Stay informed of water levels and forecast water levels. Move to higher ground if flooding is expected.

  • Be alert to any rapid rises or falls in the river levels. A rapid rise in a river level may indicate that an ice jam has formed downstream of you. In contrast, a rapid fall in a river level may indicate that an ice jam has formed upstream from you. If an upstream ice jam breaks up rapidly, flash flooding of downstream areas can occur very quickly.

If you live along a small river or stream:

  • Know your area's flood risk.

  • Keep appraised of current weather conditions for your local area including the latest forecasts, and any flood watches, warnings or statements.

  • Monitor river or stream levels and be prepared to seek higher ground, if conditions warrant.

  • Report any flooding to the appropriate authorities.

  • If ordered to evacuate, do so immediately.

For additional information, call the National Weather Service Office in Gray or Caribou or your County Emergency Management Agency.

And visit Maine Prepares for a full library of flood safety and preparedness information.



Lynette Miller


Last update: 07/20/10