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  • Louisiana Flood Breaks Records, Displaces Thousands

    The Southern states have been getting pummeled by rain, causing massive flooding and endangering countless thousands.

     

    Louisiana

    Louisiana Flood - via USA Today Louisiana Flood - via USA Today

    Over 40,000 homes have been affected by the flooding in Louisiana. More than 11,000 people are now homeless in the state. At least nine people are dead. And now, it seems like things will only get worse before they improve.

    More rain is expected this week, according to a local report, which could make the flooding situation even worse. Although the rivers have started to fall in their water levels, the Amite River reached a high of 46.2 feet, rising above the 29-foot flood stage, beating out its previous record by 6 feet in one area. More rain would certainly make things unbearable.

    These floods came from days of constant, torrential rain. A federal emergency was declared, and now 10,000 people are in shelters. Since the flooding began, over 30,000 people have been rescued from the floods.

    As flood waters continue downstream, worry grows for areas south of Baton Rouge. With so much rain, it could push the floods further past that area, creating more problems for those downstream.

    Aside from the Louisiana flood, which has received the more brunt of damage and high waters, a few other states are experiencing their own woes.

     

    Mississippi

    Flash flooding did some major damage to some locations in Mississippi, including the town of Crosby, where water washed away one man’s home. Dozens of people have been displaced, with homes now drenched in three feet of water.

     

    Texas

    But it’s not just Louisiana that’s being threatened by floods. Texas has also been experiencing heavy rainfall. Fortunately, no flooding has yet been reported, although flash flooding could be a major issue.

     

    Flooding is an issue to all states, so no matter where you live, check out your flood risk at floodsmart.gov and take the necessary precautions to countering floods. And remember, if you do plan on getting flood insurance, most plans will take 30 days to come in effect, so don’t wait until it’s too late!

     

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  • China Floods Displace Millions

    China Floods - Via BBC China floods - via BBC

    China knows very well about extreme weather. Monsoons, typhoons, earthquakes, floods, drought…you name it. Even though extreme weather and natural disasters are something they are used to, every new disaster still comes as a shock.

    On July 20, 2016, China’s Hebei and Henan provinces were pounded by a monsoon which caused the Qili River to flood. There was no advanced warning, and not enough time to act. The floods killed over 150 people and displaced millions.

    But this isn’t the first time such chilling devastation has affected China due to flood. In fact, since the beginning of this year at least 1,074 people have lost their lives in China due to floods, winds, hail, and many geological happenings.

    China knows all about natural disasters. Throughout the years, they have seen countless floods, earthquakes, and other disasters. But if there’s one thing we learned from this most recent flood, it’s that early warning is key.

    Public officials failed to give enough warning to the people, which, had it been otherwise, could have saved lives. While it is a tragic event – one the locals had a hard time predicting – we can learn from it. When it comes to emergency preparedness, being informed and staying aware of what’s going on around you can save your life.

    Man Clearing Leaves From Guttering Of House China floods

    For example, learn whether you live in an area susceptible to flooding. Before the rain even comes, find ways to keep your home protected. Make sure gutters and storm drains are not blocked. Invest in sand bags if you know flooding has been an issue in the past, or think it could be in the future.

    Get flood insurance. Flood insurance doesn’t become active until 30 days after you buy it, so if you see rain on the forecast, chances are it’s already too late. Don’t wait until the last minute if you know you’re in a flood-prone area. Act now.

    Just like the folks in China, we can’t always rely on others to inform us of impending dangers. Sure, we’ve had reliable warnings and watches for quite some time so tuning in to your local weather alert station is always a great idea. But you know your area better than anyone, and that means you know the dangers that come with it, so even if the weather station reports “no flood watch,” you know your area might be an exception, so plan accordingly.

     

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  • Severe Weather Has Its Own Timetable: Now Is the Time to Prepare

    Tornado Severe WeatherIowa’s statewide tornado drill, held on March 24, was supposed to be held the day before. It was postponed because of bad weather.

    Natural disasters don’t exactly conform to our timetables. Yet many have a seasonal ebb and flow. Although tornadoes occur year-round, most take place in the spring and early summer – hence, tornado season. Floods are common in March and April because of heavy rain and melting snow. Hurricane season peaks in August and September.

    This seasonal nature of wild weather could explain why 33 states and U.S. territories held severe weather awareness events in March. Another 21 events are planned for April.

    Events varied from state to state. Last week, for example, California sponsored Tsunami Preparedness Week, while Colorado nailed some extremes with Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week. Maryland’s Severe Storms Awareness Week highlighted a different hazard every day.

    The point of all this is, if you haven’t started preparing for a natural disaster, now’s a good time.

    One goal of Maryland’s awareness week was to highlight the difference between a watch and a warning, so people can act appropriately.

    A watch meansTornado Watch - Severe Weather that atmospheric conditions are right for severe weather to develop, but it hasn’t yet. Severe weather watches tend to last for longer time periods. A warning means severe weather is imminent or occurring, so take appropriate action now. The terminology is the same for many types of severe weather: tornadoes, flooding, severe thunderstorms, winter storms and hurricanes.

    Sometimes the National Weather Service issues weather advisories. These can refer to specific weather hazards within a storm, like a high wind advisory. They can also refer to severe weather that is imminent or occurring but won’t have quite as adverse an impact. A flood advisory, for example, is for flooding that shouldn’t really affect life or property.

    A month ago, eight tornadoes touched down in Virginia, killing five people.  Virginia’s governor referenced that disaster in a proclamation calling March 22 Tornado Preparedness Day.

    “All Virginians should know where to seek shelter during a tornado, whether at home, at work, at school, or elsewhere,” the proclamation said.

    Part of preparing for a disaster is knowing how to respond appropriately. For example, before a tornado, pick the safest place to shelter in a building. A basement is best, but if that’s not available, go to the center of a small, interior room on a building’s lowest floor. Either way, get under something and cover your head and neck. This advice doesn’t apply to mobile homes or buildings. From those, go to the nearest shelter.

    Flooded Street of Des Plains City - Severe Weather

    Evacuating if directed is also the best course of action during a flood. But be careful. Flooding is the deadliest weather hazard, mostly because people try to drive or walk across flooded roads and bridges. Be sure to have alternate routes to get to a shelter in case the main route is flooded.

    Once you’ve got a plan, practicing it is equally important.

    Employees of the Clear Lake, Iowa, Chamber of Commerce participated in this year’s delayed Iowa tornado drill. The Chamber’s Director of Tourism, Libbey Patton, said in a TV news story that chamber members had inclement weather plans for both office and events.

    “And we have had to use it a few years ago for [a weekly event] just to get everyone home and off the roads,” she said.

     

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