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Niagara County soaked: National Weather Service advice on flooding

Tue, Jun 18th 2024 09:10 am

Portions of Niagara County experienced torrential downpour – and subsequent flooding – on Tuesday morning.

The National Weather Service has flood safety information posted on its website. It offers:

During a flood

During a flood, water levels and the rate the water is flowing can quickly change. Remain aware and monitor local radio and television outlets. Avoid flood waters at all costs and evacuate immediately when water starts to rise. Don't wait until it's too late!

•Stay informed: Listen to radio and television, including NOAA Weather Radio if possible, check the internet and social media for information and updates.

•Get to higher ground: If you live in a flood-prone area or are camping in a low-lying area, get to higher ground immediately.

•Obey evacuation orders: If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Lock your home when you leave. If you have time, disconnect utilities and appliances.

•Practice electrical safety: Don't go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping or popping noises – get out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!

•Avoid flood waters: Don't walk through flood waters. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 if possible. Do not drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade; turn around, don't drown! Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide hazards such as sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc. A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in seconds: 12 inches of water can float a car or small SUV, 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles.

After a flood

When flood waters recede, the damage left behind can be devastating and present many dangers. Images of flood destruction depict destroyed homes and buildings, damaged possessions, and decimated roadways. However, what you can't see can be just as dangerous. Floodwaters often become contaminated with sewage or chemicals. Gas leaks and live power lines can be deadly, but are not obvious at first glance.

•Stay informed: Stay tuned to your local news for updated information on road conditions. Ensure water is safe to drink, cook or clean with after a flood. Authorities may ask you to boil water for a while after a flood. Utility companies often have apps to update you on getting service back. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms when areas are dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage. Review generator safety.

•Avoid flood waters: Standing water hides many dangers including toxins and chemicals. There may be sharp objects under the water or the road could have collapsed. If it is likely your home will flood, don't wait for evacuation order, get out! Talk to friends and family about emergency visits. If you have pets, take them with you or get them somewhere safe.

•Avoid disaster areas: Do not visit disaster areas. Your presence may hamper rescue and other emergency operations.

•Heed road closed and cautionary signs: Road closure and other cautionary signs are put in place for your safety. Pay attention to them!

•Wait for the “all clear”: Do not enter a flood-damaged home or building until you're given the “all clear” by authorities. If you enter a flood-damaged building, be extremely careful. Water can cause floods to collapse, ceiling to fall, etc. Make sure the electrical system has been turned off. Have the power company or a qualified electrician fix wires. Contact your insurance agent to discuss property damage. If you have a generator, follow proper safety procedures.

•Contact your family and loved ones: Let your family and close friends know that you’re OK so they can help spread the word. Register with or search the American Red Cross’s “Safe and Well” listing.

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