When it comes to hurricanes, wind speeds do not tell the whole story. Hurricanes produce storm surges, tornadoes, and often the most deadly of all inland flooding.
While storm surge is always a potential threat, more people have died from inland flooding in the last 30 years. Intense rainfall is not directly related to the wind speed of tropical cyclones. In fact, some of the greatest rainfall amounts occur from weaker storms that drift slowly or stall over an area.
Inland flooding can be a major threat to communities hundreds of miles from the coast, as intense rain falls from these huge tropical air masses.
So, the next time you hear "hurricane" think "inland flooding"!
What Can You Do?
- When you hear "hurricane," think "inland flooding."
- Learn your vulnerability to flooding by determining the elevation of your property.
- Evaluate your insurance coverage; as construction grows around areas, floodplains change. If you are in a flood area, consider what mitigation measures you can do in advance. Get more info from the National Flood Insurance Program: 1-888-CALL-FLOOD ext. 445.
- In highly flood-prone areas, keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, lumber, shovels, work boots and gloves. Call your local emergency management agency to learn how to construct proper protective measures around your home.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels and areas known to flood, so you or your evacuation routes are not cut off.
- Monitor NOAA Weather Radio.
- Avoid driving into water of unknown depth. Moving water can quickly sweep your vehicle away.
- Restrict children from playing in flooded areas.
- Test drinking water for potability; wells should be pumped out and the water tested before drinking.
- Do not use fresh food that has come in contact with floodwaters. Wash canned goods that come in contact with floodwaters with soap and hot water.
- Stay away from downed power lines.