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NWS Declares Flood Awareness Week
March 14, 2011
The National Weather Service has declared the week of March 14th through 18th Flood Awareness Week in Maine, as well as across the United States.
In the United States, flooding is the top storm-related killer, on average claiming the lives of about 100 people annually. More than half of those deaths are the result of people driving into flooded roadways. Victims are either trapped in their cars or drown as they are washed downstream by raging flood waters.
In 2010, there were at least 103 flood or flash flood fatalities across the United States. Many of the fatalities were related to people driving into flooded roadways. Some of those incidents occurred when vehicles drove around barricades. In addition, other fatalities occurred when people tried to walk or swim through flooded areas.
In Maine, flooding can occur at any time of the year. However, the greatest threat typically occurs in the spring when heavy rains and snowmelt can combine to produce excessive runoff. While the current snowpack (or lack thereof) is below normal to near normal (mountains), any heavy rains this spring could combine with melting snow to cause rivers to rise to flood levels.
With recent heavy rains in the area and saturated ground, be alert to the possibility of flooding. If you live in a flood-prone area, be sure to monitor the latest forecasts for the latest conditions. 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!
Here are some important recommendations from the National Weather Service:
- Respect the power of moving water.
- Never try to drive, swim, walk, or run through a flooded area.
- Keep a safe distance from the banks of swiftly moving streams, creeks, and ditches.
- Monitor children – and pets – closely when streams are high.
- If you encounter high water or flooding, turn around, don't drown!