Flood and Flash Flood Safety

When flooding occurs in Maine, we usually have some advance notice and the National Weather Service issues flood watches and warnings.

Flash floods can happen whenever we get too much rain in too short a time, at any time of year. Warnings are issued, but there may be little or no advance notice.

Flood Facts:

  • A car or small truck will float in as little as two feet of water. If your vehicle begins to float, you lose control over the vehicle. If your vehicle stalls in a flooded roadway, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. The water may sweep the vehicle and its occupants away.
  • Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle related.

Flood Fatalities in Maine

  • In 1996, heavy rain caused serious flooding in New Hampshire and western Maine. A Scarborough, Maine man drowned when he drove his car into a flooded roadway where the road had washed away.
  • In 2004, a man died in Gardiner when attempting to kayak in a swollen stream. Rushing flood water may look exciting to the amateur canoeist or boater, but it has incredible power and may be carrying hidden debris.
  • In 2007, a woman and her little granddaughter in Limerick were swept away when they tried to walk through flood water.
  • In 2012, a Milo man was killed when he drove into a washed-out section of road.

Safety Tips:

  • Never drive a car into a flooded roadway as the road underneath may be washed out.
  • Stay clear of streams during heavy rainfall events. Swiftly moving water is extremely powerful and can easily overpower a person.
  • Do not attempt recreational boating in flood water. The current can be powerful and there may be heavy debris swept along in the water, making it extremely dangerous.
  • Keep children and pets inside and away from flooded streets, culverts, and streams.
  • Report flooding to the appropriate authorities.
  • Obey road blocks and barriers, even if the flooding has receded. Flood waters may have undercut the road surface or left dangerous debris in the roadway.
  • If you live in a flood prone area, have a plan in case the water starts rising quickly.
  • Know your evacuation route and if advised to evacuate do so immediately.

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