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Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 17-21

Flood Safety Awareness Week is being observed this week, March 17-21, by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS).

The week highlights how floods occur, the hazards associated with floods, and safety measures to protect life and property. During the 20th century, floods were the number one natural disaster in the United States in the number of lives lost and property damage. In a 30-year period, 1977-2006, on average, nearly 100 people died annually due to flooding while flood damages averaged $4.6 billion a year.

In 2006, eight people in the state of Kentucky lost their lives due to flooding.

Floods are unique severe weather events that can occur every month of the year in Kentucky and are a threat from border to border. Floods do not respect time or location. From persistent rains from slow-moving systems in the winter to torrential thunderstorms in the spring and summer, and remnants of tropical systems in the autumn, floods can be a threat throughout the year.

People often underestimate the force of water. More than half of all flood-related deaths are attributed to vehicles that are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable simply by not driving or walking onto flooded roads. Most vehicles lose control in six inches of swiftly flowing water and can be swept away in 18-24 inches of moving water.

The All-Hazards NOAA Weather Radio and the NWS Jackson Web site: http:// www.crh.noaa.gov/jkl are among the best sources of official flood watches and warnings. Knowing what to do before, during and after a flood can save lives and reduce injuries and property damage.

The NWS works with and relies on strategic partners involved in floodplain management, flood hazard mitigation, flood preparedness, and flood warnings to reduce the loss of life and property due to floods. Key partners include the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, FEMA, the National Hydrologic Warning Council, the Association of State Floodplain Managers, the American Red Cross, the National Safety Council, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, media outlets, and many other government and private sector organizations

Additional information about National Flood Safety Awareness Week is available on the NWS Flood Safety website at http:// www.weather.gov/floodsafety. This site contains information about flood safety and what you can do to save life and property.

Flood safety tips:

1. Climb to safety if you hear or see signs of a flood and take cover from other threatening weather as soon as possible.

2. Listen to the All Hazards NOAA Weather Radio to receive flood warnings from the NWS.

3. Turn around when approaching a flooded road. Barricades are put up for your protection. Drivers can lose control of their vehicles in as little as six inches of water and two feet of water will carry most vehicles away, including SUVs. Road beds may have been scoured or even washed away during flooding, creating unsafe driving conditions.

4. Floods can occur nearly anywhere and at anytime of the year from coast to coast and border to border. Persistent thunderstorms over the same geographical area can lead to flash and river flooding.

5. Develop a flood emergency action plan.

6. Determine your flood risk and purchase flood insurance if necessary. Flood damage is not covered by homeowner’s insurance.

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