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NOAA National Weather Service and FEMA Offer Flood Safety Tips for Flood Safety Awareness Week

March 13, 2009

Flooded street.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Floodwaters can be swift, powerful and, at times, deadly. However, advanced planning can help protect lives and minimize property losses due to flooding. With the spring thaw approaching, NOAA's National Weather Service and FEMA are partnering to observe the fifth annual Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 16-20, 2009.

The National Weather Service, along with FEMA’s FloodSmart program, has launched a new Web page that shows the effects and cost of flooding to millions of people in the United States. The site also provides essential information on what to know and do before, during and after a flood, and a variety of safety tips and online tools, including one that lets them see whether their homes and businesses are threatened at various flood stages.

Cars caught in flash flood.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

“Floods claim nearly 100 lives and cost billions in property damage in the United States annually,” said Jack Hayes, director of NOAA's National Weather Service. “Spring is peak flood season in many parts of the country, but floods can happen anywhere, at any time of the year. Many lives could be saved by following some simple and essential flood safety tips.”

“Knowing what you can do to protect against the impact of flooding is critical in keeping your family, home and financial well-being secure,” said Ed Connor, acting federal insurance administrator for FEMA’s Mitigation Directorate. “Purchasing flood insurance is one important step you can take now. Many residents incorrectly believe that homeowners insurance covers the costs of flooding, but in fact, only a flood policy can.”

Understand Your Risk

One way to learn about flood risk is by visiting the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service Web site. Click on your location on the U.S. map in the center of the page to learn about conditions in your area.

National Weather Service hydrologists, in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey, FEMA and other water agencies and river commissions, have developed a tool that allows emergency planners as well as business and home owners to visualize flood risks in specific locations. This tool – a series of flood inundation maps – is available for a number of coastal and river areas, with plans to expand coverage across the United States. These interactive maps display the depth and extent of flood waters for specific river stage levels. Flood inundation maps are available online.

Know What to Do

Turn Around, Don't Drown poster.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Review flood safety information and preparedness tips so that you will know what to do if you are suddenly faced with a flood. Seek information from credible local and federal emergency planning agencies. Recommended Web resources include:

Take Action

Consider what steps you can take now and what steps you will need to take if your home or business floods. Know what you will need to do if you encounter flooding while driving or outdoors. Some tips:


When Floods Strike:

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.