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The Disaster That Is Snow Melt and Flooding

The snow was beautiful, a winter of deep powder and winter wonderlands. Spring is coming, and that all must melt. So, What happens when there are 37 feet of snow and an atmospheric river in the forecast dumping 10+ inches of rain on that snowpack? Flooding!

This is the situation in California here in March of 2023.

D911 Disaster App was created with flood emergencies in mind. Floods cause more than $40 billion in damage worldwide annually, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In the U.S., losses average close to $8 billion a year. Death tolls have increased in recent decades to more than 100 people a year. So we believe that preparing for floods resulting from melting snow and heavy rain is crucial to ensuring the safety of people and property in flood-prone areas. Right now, this emergency is playing out in California, even so, any mountainous state can face this devastating situation whenever a deep snowpack is melted by heavy rains.

Here are some thoughts.

One of the most critical steps in preparing for floods is educating the public about the potential risks and the necessary steps to take in case of a flood. This includes informing people about the signs of flooding, what the flood warning system statuses mean, and when and where they can go to escape the risks - while they are still at risk as opposed to rescues. Information to help identify the risks of rising water levels and overflowing rivers, and the importance of having an emergency plan in place.

Another essential step in preparing for floods is to assess the risks in your area. This involves identifying flood-prone areas, evaluating the potential impact of a flood, and determining the best ways to mitigate the risks. Your neighbors may have a story to tell about the last flood, there may be evidence of risk, like a very small creek, or an otherwise dry wash, that will be overwhelmed if a significant snowmelt flood is to occur.

In areas prone to flooding, it is essential to pay attention to the flood warning system. This system includes early warning systems, such as sirens or alerts through mobile devices, to notify people of potential flooding. The warning system should also include instructions on evacuation routes and safe locations to go during a flood. The D911 Mobile App has these connections ready for you, along with information about where o go and what to expect when you arrive.

For all of us, it is essential to have emergency supplies on hand. If you are evacuated, this will mean having pictures of your important documents, if they are not easy to remove from your home, as well as any prescriptions, medical devices, and your mobile phone. If you stay home, you may be without power, or water, as floods sometimes contaminate water systems. You too will want to have a list of goods ready to go. This includes items such as bottled water, non-perishable food, first aid kits, flashlights, and blankets. It is also important to have a plan for how to evacuate if necessary, including a plan for pets and any necessary medications.

Overall, preparing for floods resulting from melting snow and heavy rain in the springtime requires careful planning, education, and risk assessment. By taking these steps, we can help to ensure the safety of our communities and reduce the potential damage caused by floods.

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