PEMA Director Reminds Residents of Flood Concerns

January 14, 2005

Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director David Sanko is reminding Pennsylvanians to consider ways to prevent losses from flooding and to be prepared to act when severe storm warnings are issued that have the potential to cause flash flooding.

“With heavy rains tracking through the Commonwealth it is critical for
residents to pay attention to flash flood watches and warnings,” Sanko said. According to Sanko, torrential rainstorms combined with snow/ice melt can trigger flash flooding that could threaten communities with little warning and reach full strength in mere minutes.

“As flash flood conditions develop, the National Weather Service will
issue a flash flood watch or a flash flood warning – each representing a
different level of danger,” Sanko said.

A flash flood watch means that flooding may occur. Residents should
remain alert and watch rivers and streams. If they rise – don’t wait; move to high ground quickly.

A flash flood warning means that there is actual flooding. Residents
should act at once and move to high ground.

“Develop a family plan that identifies evacuation routes and a place to
meet in case your family gets separated,” Sanko advised. “And don’t drive into low-lying areas or over roads and bridges that are already under water. It is important to use common sense in those situations.”

Sanko also urged renters and property owners to purchase flood insurance policies to provide financial protection from potential summer storms.

“Flood damage, unlike wind damage, is not covered by homeowner’s or business insurance policies,” Sanko said. “This coverage must be purchased separately.

“It takes 30 days for a flood insurance policy to be effective so it’s
best to purchase it as soon as possible because of the unpredictability of severe storms,” Sanko added.

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