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March 13, 2012
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State observes Flood Safety Awareness Week

The Nevada Division of Emergency Management/Homeland Security and the National Weather Service are partnering together to educate Nevadans on National Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 12-16.

According to the National Weather Service, floods and flash floods are the No. 1 weather-related killer in the United States and can occur any time of the year. This is why the Nevada Division of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service Offices in Reno, Las Vegas, and Elko want to help spread the word about being flood safe.

Most severe floods occur in Nevada from heavy rain falling on a large low elevation snowpack.

Damage from small creeks and river flooding can be extreme and deadly and often occurs within a day or two after precipitation begins. Recent examples of significant flooding include the 1997 and 2006 New Year's Floods in Western Nevada. Spring snowmelt runoff is another, but less common, way Nevada experiences flooding and results from very warm temperatures melting a deep snowpack. Even in the driest of years, just one storm can lead to damaging flooding, which is why citizens of Nevada need to always be prepared for flooding.

A majority of flood related fatalities occur when people try to drive through flooded roadways. When driving your vehicle and there is a potential for flooding, look out for high water covering dips in the roadway, bridges, or low lying areas. One foot of fast moving water is often enough to carry away most automobiles. If you become stranded in your vehicle, leave it immediately and seek higher ground, as rising water may engulf the vehicle and sweep it downstream.

• Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.

• If you are near a river be aware of water levels and be prepared to take action to move to higher ground if river levels rise.

• Do not enter areas that are already flooded.

• Do not try to cross a flowing stream on foot when the water is at or above your knees.

• If walking or fishing along a river, be aware that erosion from swift running water can cause river banks to collapse.

• Never let children play around high water, storm drains, viaducts or arroyos.

• If you live near a burn area from a recent wildfire, you may have a higher risk for flash flooding.

• Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

• Have a flood preparedness and evacuation plan for you and your family.

• Never attempt to drive through a flooded roadway. Turn Around Don't Drown.

This is a time for individuals, families, businesses and communities to understand their risk for flooding and take precautions to protect their families and homes in the event of flooding.

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The Record Courier Updated Mar 13, 2012 07:52PM Published Mar 13, 2012 06:44PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.