The most common natural hazard facing Maine is flooding. Floods most often occur in January, March and April when the snow pack is most subject to natural variables such as the “January Thaw” and seasonal rain falls that cause rapid snow melt and run off but they can occur any time of the year.
Flooding can occur because of heavy rain, hurricanes, tropical storms, quickly melting snow, ice jams, dam breaches and seasonal storms.
Many flood-related deaths and injuries are caused by fast-moving water and in many cases could be avoided. The National Weather Service advises anyone who approaches a flooded area to Turn Around, Don’t Drown.™ As little as six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult and only a few feet can carry a vehicle away.
To protect your home or business from flood damage and loss:
- Be aware of hazards that can increase the potential for flooding – including flash flooding.
- Know the flood prone areas in your community - including dam locations.
- Have a family evacuation/communications plan.
- Know where and how to seek shelter in the event of evacuation.
- Check with your insurance agent about flood insurance coverage; most homeowners insurance does not cover floods. Your agent should be able to help you secure insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
- Take steps to “flood proof” your home, such as elevating electronics, appliances and furniture, building a dam of sandbags, unplugging electronics and equipment and varnishing wood doors and floors.
- During the flood stay tuned to radio or TV to get the latest information or monitor a NOAA Weather radio.
- Pay attention to evacuation orders.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams or areas at risk of flooding.
- DO NOT DRIVE ON FLOODED ROADWAYS or cross flowing streams, as the road underneath may be washed out.
- Be cautious when driving at night as it may be more difficult to recognize flood dangers.