This is severe weather awareness week in Iowa. The Homeland Security department of Iowa and the National Weather Service ask that we focus on severe weather this time of the year. The focus is really all year long…but we need to remind ourselves and family that we are headed into some of the most severe months of the year. We need to make sure we stay ahead of the weather with tips on safety.
Today’s focus is on flooding. It is the most deadly of severe weather in the state of Iowa. Over the years more people have died in flooding than in lightning strikes..tornadoes..or winter storms.
The key is to make sure you know where flooding is common. If you are new to the area you can check out the basics on area river basins that flood by going to http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=dmx
This is the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. The map highlights points along area rivers that are flooding. You can also see the flood levels for each site. You can also see the past flooding events and how the area around each point is affected by the high water.
Flooding is common in Iowa. We have been through many monster floods….last year was one for the record books in Eastern Iowa.
Make sure you remember the basics of flood survival.
– Don’t drive through streets that area flooded. You can’t see the depth of the water. Your car can also be swept off the road with as little as a foot of rushing water.
– No playing in flooded areas. You can’t see what is below the water. Open man-holes in the streets or debris under the water can be most harmful. The water can be contaminated with human waist or chemicals.
-Flood Watch means there is a chance for flooding.
-Flash Flood and Flood warnings means flooding is happening right now. Move to higher ground.
If your home has a septic pump….check it this spring. Pour water into the septic hole and make sure the pump operates by pumping the water out of the basement. You can also purchase septic alarm systems that sound when the water gets too high. There are also battery back-ups for the pumps just in case the power is knocked out during severe weather.
Flood insurance is not perfect. Many homes owner policies do not include flood insurance. You need to check with your insurance company to make sure you have flood insurance and that includes flooding from heavy rainfall. You might be surprised how many policies do not include flooding.
Much more information on severe weather coming your way this week. Tomorrow we will go over safe living during severe thunderstorms.