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Flood Safety Awareness Week
Flood Safety

Is flooding really that big of a deal?

Flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other weather related event, an average of $4.6 billion a year in the past 20 years. Flooding can occur in any of the 50 states or U.S. territories at anytime of the year.

How can I find out if I am in danger from a flood?

NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio is one of the best ways to receive warnings from the National Weather Service. NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather and river information direct from nearby NWS offices. Also, the NWS' Rivers web page identifies where flooding is occurring.

How do I know how severe a flood will be?

Once a river reaches flood stage, the flood severity categories used by the NWS include minor flooding, moderate flooding, and major flooding. Each category has a definition based on property damage and public threat.

  • Minor flooding: minimal or no property damage, but possibly some public threat or inconvenience.
  • Moderate flooding: some inundation of structures and roads near streams. Some evacuations of people and, or transfer of property to higher elevations are necessary.
  • Major flooding: extensive inundation of structures and roads. Significant evacuations of people and, or transfer of property to higher elevations.

What's the difference between a flood and flash flood?

  • A flood occurs when prolonged rainfall over several days, intense rainfall over a short period of time, or an ice or debris jam causes a river or stream to overflow and flood the surrounding area. Melting snow can combine with rain in the winter and early spring. Severe thunderstorms can bring heavy rain in the spring and summer. Tropical cyclones can bring intense rainfall to the coastal and inland states in the summer and fall.
  • Flash floods occur within six hours of a rain event, or after a dam or levee failure, or following a sudden release of water held by an ice or debris jam. Flash floods can catch people unprepared. You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. So, if you live in areas prone to flash floods, plan now to protect your family and property. The use of the word flash here is synonymous with urgent.

Is there anything I can do to prepare for a flood?

How to reduce potential flood damage and what to include in a family disaster plan can be obtained from the American Red Cross. See their Flood and Flash Flood page.

The NWS works with, and relies on, strategic partners involved in floodplain management, flood hazard mitigation, flood preparedness, and flood warnings to reduce the loss of life and property due to floods. Key partners include the US Geological Survey, FEMA, the National Hydrologic Warning Council, the Association of State Floodplain Managers, the American Red Cross, the National Safety Council, the Federal Alliance For Safe Homes, the Weather Channel, and other media outlets, and many other government and private sector organizations.

Home - NWS Forecast Office - Caribou, Maine

National Weather Service
Caribou Weather Forecast Office
810 Main St
Caribou ME 04736
(207) 492-0170
Page last modified: January 18, 2007
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