Spring is here. With warmer weather comes melting snow and the risk of flooding. The National Weather Service (NWS) reports several regions of the country could see spring flooding and the American Red Cross has steps people in those areas should follow to stay safe.
According to the NWS, North Dakota has the greatest risk of major flooding this spring. Other states include Idaho, California, Nevada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas and parts of the southeast up the coast to Virginia.
Despite the recent nor’easter dropping record amounts of snow, New England and the Mid-Atlantic states will see only a low threat of flooding this spring.
Everyone should know the difference between a flood watch and warning. A flood or flash flood watch means either is possible in your area. A warning means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon.
People should get their households ready now and build an emergency kit, which should include three days of supplies for everyone in the household. Contents for every kit should include water (one gallon per person per day), nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home.
You should also download the free Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information and shelter locations at your fingertips. It also features emergency weather alerts to help keep the user safe, and provides information about what to do in case of various disasters and the locations of open shelters. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
IF FLOODING OCCURS Listen to local radio and television stations for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). People should also:
Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
When a flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
Keep children out of the water.
Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger