DULUTH, MN– Just in time for spring and an upcoming snowstorm and the melting to follow, Wednesday’s severe weather awareness week topic is flooding.
According to the Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM), on average, flooding and flash flooding claim around 200 lives, forcing around 300,000 people from their homes and causing nearly two billion dollars in damage per year.
Officials say in the state of Minnesota, floods have killed more people than any other severe weather event, as there have been 15 deaths in the state since 1993.
Around 75% of all flood related deaths occur at night, and around half of those deaths are in vehicles. Most of the deaths occur when people ignore the road closed signs and barricades indicating the road is either water-covered or washed out.
HSEM has some tips on how you can prepare in the event that significant rain is in the forecast that could lead to flooding.
- Have a weather radio so you are able to listen for any watches/warnings that are issued
- Put together an emergency supply kit with all the necessities needed for you and your family to survive on for a minimum of three days
- Create an emergency plan so you and your family know where to go
- Elevate any electrical appliances, especially if you are in a high-risk flood area
- Get flood insurance, as property insurance doesn’t usually cover flood damage
- Six inches of flowing water can knock a person off their feet and also reaches the bottom of most vehicles, which can lead to the vehicle stalling or loss of control
- A foot of water will float most vehicles
- 18 to 24 inches of fast moving water can carry away all vehicles
The biggest tip when driving is turn around, don’t drown!
Flash flooding usually will occur within a six-hour period of the beginning of the heavy rainfall. If you witness flash flooding, here’s what you need to keep in mind:
- Be prepared to evacuate to higher ground, and avoid low-lying areas
- DO NOT attempt to walk through high water on foot, as you could get knocked off your feet
- Never drive through roadways that are flooded, as the road could be washed out and you can lose control of your vehicle
- If you do drive through high water and get stuck, leave it immediately and seek higher ground
- Be extremely cautious at night, as it is much more difficult to spot flooded/washed out roads or where swift, flowing water is taking place
Also, be sure you know the difference between a Flash Flood Watch and Flash Flood Warning.
In the last seven years, the Northland has seen three major floods
- June 2012: Twin Ports, as well as parts of Carlton county
- July 2016: Parts of East Central Minnesota, into Washburn, Sawyer, Bayfield and Ashland Counties
- June 2018: Carlton, Douglas, Bayfield and Ashland counties hit hardest
Thursday’s topic is on tornadoes and due to the impending snowstorm, the Minnesota statewide tornado drill has been postponed and a new date is to be determined, but the Wisconsin tornado drill is still scheduled for 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.