By FRANK LEWIS
PDT Staff Writer
This week is National Flood Safety Awareness week across the country. Flash flooding is a frequent event in southern Ohio. These flash floods create quick rises on area creeks and streams and have many times forced families from their homes to seek safety on higher ground. The creeks and streams flow out into the Ohio and Scioto rivers and often cause large rises on the rivers prompting river flooding.
“Knowing where you live and work and having a plan to make sure you can receive weather warnings and take actions to protect yourself is what the awareness week is all about. Awareness Week is a time to make and review plans of what you will do when flood emergencies occur,” said Kim Carver, director for Scioto County Emergency Management Agency (EMA). “Ten of the 12 federal disaster declarations that the county has received over the past 20 years have been for flooding. People need to be aware of whether they live or work in a flood-prone area. If they do, they need to have a preparedness plan on how they will get to high ground quickly should flash floods strike. Likewise, if their homes are in a designated flood zone.” Carver said residents need to devise a flood plan on how to protect themselves and their property.
Carver said homeowners should have flood insurance if they live in the Flood Hazard Areas as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA County Flood Plain Maps are located at the Flood Plain Management Office next door to the Scioto County Courthouse. Kendra Hobson is the Floodplain Manager and she can help individuals identify what their proximity to a flood plain is in regard to the various watersheds in Scioto County. Hobson can be reached at 740- 355-1274. Carver said FEMA no longer will help individuals when disaster declarations are granted if they do not have insurance and practice self-help before the flood.
For families and businesses wanting to develop a Flood Emergency plan for their family or workforce, information is provided on two websites: www.ready.gov/floodawareness and www.weathersafety.ohio.gov.
“Make a plan and monitor creeks and streams and the river closely when heavy rain events occur. Taking the steps to be proactive rather than reactive can save lives and property,” Carver said. “Every home should have an inexpensive NOAA weather radio that can be set to alert when Flash Flood and River Flood Warnings are issued. Taking time now to be ready when heavy rainfall inundates area watersheds can mean the difference of life and death. It pays to have a plan. Motorists should never take a chance with high water. Residents should not make the mistake of waiting too long to seek higher ground. Scioto County has lost many lives from quick rising waters. Folks should not underestimate its energy.”
According to the EMA, there are various ways to receive severe weather advisories, warnings and watches. Emergency Alert System (EAS) notifications are broadcast over local radio stations with a tone followed by emergency weather information. Also, Emergency Management broadcasts over scanners to police, fire and EMS on countywide frequency (453.950) whatever particular product has been issued by the National Weather Service. Those with smart phones can receive Twitter and Facebook Alerts from Scioto_Alert and Scioto EMA locations on social websites. A web page managed by EMA hosts whatever severe weather alert is in effect at https://sites.google.com/site/sciotoemergencymgt. Real Time Weather Data from a meteorological station at the Emergency Operations Center in downtown Portsmouth can be viewed at www.weatherlink.com/user/sciotoema. Carver said citizens should find a source for severe weather information and monitor forecasts closely when skies turn dark.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.