Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hurricane Awareness Week-Flooding

We continue our coverage of Hurricane Awareness Week at News 14 Carolina. Today's topic from the National Weather Service is inland flooding.

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RALEIGH NC
MAY 24 2006...

NORTH CAROLINA HURRICANE AWARENESS WEEK...

THIS WEEK HAS BEEN DECLARED NORTH CAROLINA'S HURRICANE AWARENESS WEEK FOR 2006. ALL WEEK LONG THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILL BE ISSUING INFORMATIVE MESSAGES TO HELP YOU PREPARE FOR HURRICANE SEASON. EACH DAY WE WILL COVER A DIFFERENT TOPIC. TODAY WE WILL TALK ABOUT INLAND FLOODING.

INLAND FLOODING IS ONE OF THE MOST SERIOUS AND DEADLY THREATS HURRICANES BRING TO NORTH CAROLINA. MOST HURRICANE DEATHS OVER THE PAST 30 YEARS HAVE BEEN THE RESULT OF INLAND FLOODING. DURING THE PAST 30 YEAR PERIOD MORE THAN HALF (59%) OF ALL U.S. TROPICAL CYCLONE DEATHS HAVE OCCURRED FROM INLAND FRESHWATER FLOODING. NEARLY 78 PERCENT OF ALL CHILDREN KILLED BY TROPICAL CYCLONES DROWN IN THESE FRESHWATER FLOODS. AT LEAST 23 PERCENT OF ALL FLOODING DEATHS HAVE OCCURRED IN AUTOMOBILES AS PEOPLE ATTEMPT TO DRIVE THROUGH FLOODED AREAS WHERE WATER COVERS THE ROAD. THE TRAGIC HURRICANE SEASON OF 2005 WAS NO EXCEPTION. COUNTLESS INDIVIDUALS DROWN FROM LOUISIANA TO MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA. DURING HURRICANE FLOYD... OF THE 56 PEOPLE WHO PERISHED ALONG THE EAST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES... 50 DROWNED DUE TO INLAND FLOODING AND MOST IN AUTOMOBILES.

THE NWS SAFETY CAMPAIGN TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN IS AIMED AT EDUCATING EVERYONE ABOUT THE DANGERS OF DRIVING INTO FLOOD WATERS. A HURRICANES RAINFALL INTENSITY IS NOT DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE STRENGTH OF THE TROPICAL STORM OR HURRICANE. WEAK HURRICANES AND EVEN TROPICAL STORMS HAVE CAUSED DISASTROUS FLOODS THROUGHOUT HISTORY. WEAK TROPICAL STORM ALLISON DROPPED OVER 2 FEET OF RAIN IN EAST TEXAS RESULTING IN 22 DEATHS AND MAJOR DAMAGE.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO? WHEN A HURRICANE OR TROPICAL STORM THREATENS... THINK FLOODING. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO DETERMINE IF YOU LIVE IN AN AREA AT RISK FROM FLOODING FROM RAINFALL. IF YOUR YARD OR THE ROAD IN FRONT OF OR AROUND YOUR HOME FLOODS DURING ORDINARY THUNDERSTORMS YOU ARE LIKELY AT SERIOUS RISK OF FLOODING FROM TORRENTIAL HURRICANE RAINFALL. THOSE LIVING NEAR CREEKS...

STREAMS AND DRAINAGE DITCHES SHOULD ALSO WATCH WATER LEVELS CLOSELY. REMEMBER, EXTREME RAINFALL EVENTS BRING EXTREME FLOODING AND DURING EXTREME EVENTS EVEN THOSE AREA WHICH NORMALLY DO NOT FLOOD CAN BE AT RISK.

ALWAYS KEEP ABREAST OF ROAD CONDITIONS AND BE SURE YOUR ESCAPE ROUTE IS NOT BECOMING CUT OFF BY FLOOD WATERS.

NEVER ATTEMPT TO CROSS FLOWING WATER. AS LITTLE AS SIX INCHES OF FLOWING MAY FORCE YOUR CAR OFF THE ROAD AND DOWNSTREAM INTO DEADLY CONDITIONS.

NEVER ALLOW CHILDREN TO PLAY NEAR CREEKS... STREAM OR DRAINAGE DITCHES. AS RAIN WATER RUNS OFF CREEKS... STREAMS AND DITCHES FILL WITH RUNNING WATER THAT CAN EASILY SWEEP A CHILD AWAY.

LASTLY...HAVE AN EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN AND KNOW YOUR HOMEOWNERS AND FLOOD INSURANCE POLICIES. FLOOD DAMAGE IS NOT USUALLY COVERED BY HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE. DO NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. CHECK YOUR POLICIES.

Major flooding that can affected North Carolina typically occurs when back to back tropical system impact the same area. The eastern part of the state saw this with Dennis and Floyd in 1999. And Western North Carolina had major flooding in 2004 when Frances and Ivan crossed over the mountains and foothills.

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