Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness: Floods
During Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week, Wednesday has been dedicated to educating us about flooding and flash floods. Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) reports nationally floods claim nearly 200 lives each year, force 300,000 people from their homes and result in property damage in excess of $2 billion. In Minnesota floods kill more people than any other weather event. 15 people have died in floods since 1993.
About 75 percent of flash flood deaths occur at night. Half of the victims die in automobiles or other vehicles. Many deaths occur when people drive around road barricades that clearly indicate the road is washed out ahead. In 2007 a deadly flood occurred August 18-19 in southeast Minnesota, killing 7 people and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses.
My hometown of Spring Valley was hit hard, Rushford suffered even more damage.
Here is some information provided by HSEM about general flood preparedness.
"Spring and summer rainfalls can be heavy and produce flash floods in a matter of hours." I would add the last few flood situations we've experienced in the Faribault area occurred in the fall. "There are a few common sense preparations everyone can take to prepare for any type of flood emergency:"
- Assemble an emergency supply kit that includes enough provisions for you and your family to live on for a minimum of 3 days.
- Make an emergency plan for you and your family and share it with them. Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government.
- Get a NOAA Weather Radio. Listen for information and warnings. I would add downloading the KDHL, POWER 96, KRFO, KAT KOUNTRY Apps is even a better way to keep updated because the alerts are right on your phone which is usually with you wherever you go.
- Elevate appliances such as the furnace, water heater, electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
- Consider installing "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home. As a last resort use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs or basins.
- If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwaters from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
- Get flood insurance. Property insurance does not typically cover flood damage. Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and consider if you need additional coverage. You may also want to learn about the National Flood Insurance Program at www.FloodSmart.gov