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Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Caribou ME
211 AM EDT Fri May 4 2018

...Severe Weather Preparedness Week Continues...

The National Weather Service has declared the week of April 30 
through May 4th, SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS WEEK in New England.
This is the 5th in a series of five Public Information Statements
on various topics related to severe weather awareness. 

...SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS - FLOODS AND FLASH FLOODS...

In addition to lightning, high winds, hail, and tornadoes, 
summertime thunderstorms also bring the threat of flooding and flash 
flooding to northern New England.  In the summertime, most flash 
floods are caused by heavy, slowly moving thunderstorms which can 
produce excessive rainfall in an area in just a short period of 
time.  In addition to the rainfall, topography, soil conditions, and 
ground cover help determine how much of the rainfall soaks into the 
ground and how much of the rainfall runs off into streams and rivers.

Nationwide, floods and flash floods are the greatest storm-related 
killer, claiming the lives of about 85 people annually. Similar to 
the rest of the nation, floods and flash floods are the number one 
storm-related killer in New England.  In addition, floods and flash 
floods are responsible for a considerable amount of public and 
private property damage.

Nationally, more than half of last years flood fatalities were 
caused by people attempting to drive through flooded areas.  Other 
fatalities were caused people attempting to run, walk, swim, or just 
fell into a flooded area.  As little as 2 feet of water will float 
most cars and small trucks.  If your vehicle begins to float, you 
lose complete control over the vehicle. If your vehicle stalls in a 
flooded roadway, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground.  The 
water may sweep the vehicle and its occupants away.

Dam failures can also lead to floods or flash floods.  While not 
always caused by the weather, dam failures can lead to extremely 
fast rises in river and stream levels.

Here are several fatal flood and flash flood events that occurred in 
Maine since 1996.

Oct 21 1996  Scarborough, Maine - Four to 19 inches of rain caused 
very serious flooding in New Hampshire and western Maine. One man 
drowned when he drove his car into a flooded roadway. Unknown to the 
man, the road had already been washed away.

Mar 31 1998  Franklin County, Maine - Snowmelt, caused by record-
breaking warmth, combined with recent rainfall to cause many rivers 
and streams to rise.  One man drowned when he drove his truck into a 
flooded roadway.

Apr 16 2007  Lebanon, Maine - A woman and her 4-year old 
granddaughter that she was carrying were swept to 
their death as they attempted to cross a flooded 
roadway on foot.

To alert the public to the threat of flooding, the National Weather 
Service issues FLOOD AND FLASH FLOOD WATCHES and WARNINGS.  A FLOOD 
WATCH indicates flooding/flash flooding is possible, and is usually 
issued in anticipation of heavy rainfall.  A FLOOD/FLASH FLOOD 
WARNING indicates that flooding is imminent or is already occurring. 
If you hear that a FLOOD/FLASH FLOOD WARNING has been issued for 
your area, move immediately to higher ground if flood waters 
threaten.

Here are some flood/flash flood facts and safety tips.

   *  Never drive a car into a flooded roadway.  More than
      Half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle related.

   *  Keep away from streams during heavy rainfall events.
      Swiftly moving water is extremely powerful and can
      Easily overpower a person.

   *  Keep children inside and away from flooded streets,
      culverts, and streams.

   *  Report any flooding to the appropriate authorities.

   *  If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

   *  Obey all road blocks and barriers, even if the flooding
      has receded.  Flood waters may have undercut the road
      surface or left dangerous debris in the roadway.

   *  If you live in a flood prone area, have a plan in case
      the water starts rising quickly.

$$

CB

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  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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