April Showers Bring in the Flood Season
It’s Part of Nature!
Around the world, large rivers experience flooding as part of their life cycle, and the people who live along these rivers have grown to expect flooding every year. Despite this fact, floods can happen in any part of the country and sometimes occur with very little warning. April to September is often known as “flash flood season”, with much of the rainfall occurring between April to June, and August to September. Floods can result from rapid melting of winter snows, severe thunderstorms, tropical storms, and other precipitation events.
Flooding in Augusta
Most of the flooding that occurs in Augusta is caused by heavy rains. Augusta’s drainage systems, drainage channels, streams, tributaries, and creeks may exceed their capacity during times when there is heavy or prolonged rainfall, thus resulting in a flood. October 12, 1990, marks the worst flooding experience in the area. In total there was a culmination of 15 inches of rain during the 100-year storm event, causing millions of dollars’ worth of property damage. The areas that experienced the heaviest flooding were in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), commonly known as “floodplains”.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have published Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) which show flood hazard areas, along with the degree of risk in those areas. For more information, be sure to check with the Augusta Planning & Development Department to see if your home is in a SFHA zone. The department hosts regular meetings at 3:00pm the first Monday of every month.
Additionally, the Emergency Management Agency of Augusta regularly monitors the National Weather Service’s advisory bulletins and storm tracking services. The agency advises the Mayor and Administrators of evacuation plans during floods. To keep up with up-to-date weather information, residents can tune in to local network television and radio stations.
It is very important to learn the safest route from your home or business in the event of a flooding. The best thing to do is to move to higher, safer ground if you have to leave in a hurry and stay tuned in to your local news for reports of changing flood conditions in your area. The best practice is to have a safety plan in your home that has more than one route to get to safety, and to talk with your family what you will do to stay safe. Below are even more tips for keeping safe during a flash flood:
- Keep a portable radio, flashlights, and emergency cooking equipment, along with extra batteries on hand
- If emergency officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home – go immediately to a safe place.
- Never walk-through flowing water!
- Do not allow anyone to play in or near a flooded or fast-moving stream.
- If you come across an area covered with water, remember “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”.
- If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it as soon as possible as floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car (and its occupants) away.
- If you are caught in your home by rising waters, move up to the second floor or even to the roof if necessary. Be sure to bring warm clothing, a flashlight, and portable radio. Do not try to swim to safety! Wait for help, rescue teams will be looking for you!
- Bring in all pets and make sure you have the appropriate supplies for them.
- Only if time permits:
- Turn off all utilities at the main switch and close the main gas valve
- Do not touch electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area and you are standing on a piece of dry wood while wearing rubber shoes and gloves. Every source of electricity can be dangerous during and after flooding.
- Fill bathtubs, sinks, and jugs with clean water in case supplies are contaminated.
- Board up windows
- Move valuable and paperwork (especially insurance policies and a list of valuable) to higher elevation.
- Bring in outdoor possessions or tie them down securely
- After the flood:
- Always check for structural damage before entering the building.
- Be alert for gas leaks! Use a flashlight to inspect damage, never an open flame. If a gas leak is found, report it to the appropriate utility provider.
- Never touch power lines and electrical wires! Report any downed power lines to the appropriate electric provider. Furthermore, do not turn on any lights or appliances until an electrician has checked the system for short circuits.
Water Damage Caused to Your Home Due to an Unforeseen Flooding? Call SERVPRO® of Columbia County at 706-868-5441 and our professional crews will make it, “Like it never even happened. ®”