After an extremely dry 2016 in Georgia, flooding may not be on many people’s minds, but the same above-normal rainfall necessary for drought recovery can result in widespread flooding. In January of 2017 alone, areas of Georgia saw more than double the amount of normal rainfall compared to the 30-year average, according to the National Weather Service. The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency’s Ready Georgia campaign encourages all Georgians to know their risks and prepare for the possibility of flooding this spring.
“Given the heavy rainfall we are already seeing this year, it’s important to know your risks for flooding and take precautions now,” said GEMA/HS Director Homer Bryson. “Georgia residents need to be aware of flooding dangers and make sure they know the proper ways to prepare and stay safe.”
Households should take the time now to prepare to minimize property damage, injury or even death. The Ready Georgia campaign offers the following tips to help Georgians before, during and after floods.
- Know your area’s flood risk – if unsure, or to check if flood insurance is required, contact your local emergency management agency or planning and zoning department, or visit www.floodsmart.gov.
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a flood.
- A flood watch means there is the potential for flooding based on current forecasts. Those in flood prone areas should be prepared to take action should a flood develop. A watch can be issued up to 48 hours in advance.
- A flood warning means a flood is imminent or occurring. A flash flood warning means the flood is expected to evolve quickly. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Build a disaster supplies kit and prepare a portable Ready kit in case you have to evacuate.
- Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate. This includes arrangements for pets. Set up a communications plan in case your family is separated.
- Make sure you’ve prepared your house when you leave so you can save as much as possible. Make it so your electronics, dining table and chairs, etc are as safe as they can be.
- Stay alert to changing conditions and forecasts.
- Closely monitor a weather/flood information source (i.e., local news, NOAA Weather Radio or the Ready Georgia mobile app).
- Follow the instructions of local officials. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Move to higher ground. Do not drive around barricades. Never drive through standing water.
- Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of electric shock or electrocution.
- Do not return to your home until local authorities say it is safe. Even after floodwaters recede, roads and bridges may be weakened and could collapse. Buildings may be unstable, and drinking water may be contaminated. Use common sense and exercise caution.