The National Weather Service (NWS) has designated March 18th-22nd, 2013, as the annual Flood Safety Awareness Week.
Nationwide, it floods somewhere in the United States nearly every day of the year. In the past 30 years, floods have claimed an average of 94 lives a year and the economic impacts of floods are growing. The annual average inflation-adjusted direct damage costs due to flooding have risen each of the past three decades from $4.7 billion for 1981-1990, to $7.9 billion for 1991-2000, to $10.2 billion for 2001-2010.
Closer to home, in 2011 hurricane Irene made landfall near Cape Lookout on August 27nd and tracked northward across eastern North Carolina into southern New England. Irene produced a swath of rainfall exceeding 8 inches along and east of the interstate 95 corridor, resulting in widespread flooding. There were 2 deaths attributed to flooding from Irene, and flooding caused around 1.5 billion dollars in economic losses, which includes hundreds of millions of dollars’ loss to the agricultural community.
The goals of Flood Safety Awareness Week are to inform the public about NWS forecast and warning services and flood safety information, heighten public awareness to the risks associated with all types of floods including flash flooding, storm surge, and those related to dam or levee failures, and empower citizens to take actions necessary to protect their lives and property.
2011 was a devastating year for flooding impacts and provided a clear example of why Americans depend on multi-agency water resource services like flood forecasts and warnings issued by the NWS, water observations provided by the USGS, water control and management provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s efforts in flood preparedness and response.
"TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN" (TM)
Most flood-related deaths occur in motor vehicles when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways. Motor vehicles were involved in 68 of the 113 flood related deaths across the nation in 2011. Don’t underestimate the power of flowing water across a road. It only takes 12 to 18 inches of water to cause a vehicle, even large SUVs, to float. Unknown to the driver, the road may even be washed away under the surface of the water, allowing the vehicle to be swept away with the flood current. The NWS has developed the flood safety slogan: Turn Around Don’t DrownTM and hopes you will remember these words when you’re faced with a flooded roadway and have that important decision to make. Be especially cautious when driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
Source - http://www.erh.noaa.gov/rah/news/content/RAH_FSAW2012.pdf