picture of a flood

The story of the GREAT BANGOR STORM SURGE FLASH FLOOD

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to watch the real audio flood awareness presentation!

The National Weather Service has declared the week of March 18th Through 22nd
Flood Awareness Week in Maine and New Hampshire, as well as in the remainder
of the United States.

In the United States, flooding is the top weather-related killer.
On the average, flooding claims the lives of about 100 people
annually. Most victims are in their cars.

In Maine and New Hampshire, flooding can occur at any time of the year. However,
typically, the greatest threat of flooding occurs in the spring when
heavy rains and snowmelt can combine to produce excessive runoff.
Ice jams can also produce flooding during the late winter and early
spring.

To alert the public to these potentially threatening conditions, the
National Weather Service issues flood WATCHES and WARNINGS.
Generally, a FLOOD WATCH is issued when flooding is possible within
the next 36 hours. A FLOOD WARNING indicates that flooding is
imminent or is currently occurring.

There are a number of different types of flood warnings issued by
the National Weather Service.   Here are some definitions.

River Flood Warnings - Issued specifically for major rivers, these
warnings include forecasts of water levels and/or flows at certain
points along the river. Widespread heavy rain, possibly coupled
with snowmelt, is often responsible for this flooding.

Small River and Stream Flood Warnings - These warnings are issued by
county for the smaller rivers and streams. Heavy rainfall, possibly
combined with snowmelt, is often responsible for this type of
flooding.

Flash Flood Warnings - These warnings are issued by county for
rivers and streams when rapid rises in river and stream levels are
expected during a short period of time. Heavy, slow moving
thunderstorms and dam breaks are often the cause of this type of
flooding.

Urban Flood Warnings - Issued for urban areas when local drainage
systems are not be able to handle the volume of runoff from heavy
rain, and possibly snowmelt. In the fall, winter, and spring leaves
or snow may contribute to the flooding by blocking drainage systems.

Coastal Flood Warnings - Issued when the combination of the
astronomical tide and the storm surge will result in flooding of
coastal areas. Onshore winds associated with large storms
contribute to this type of flooding.

To help determine the potential for flooding, the National Weather
Service Office in Gray continually monitors hydrologic conditions
throughout New Hampshire and Western Maine. River statements are
issued daily and contain forecasts of the water levels for the major
rivers in the area. Also, during the late winter and early spring
the National Weather Service, in coordination with other federal,
state, and local agencies and cooperative observers, surveys the
snowpack in the area to determine the potential for spring flooding.

Ice jams can also cause flooding during late winter and early
spring. Be alert to any rapid rises or falls in the river levels.
A rapid rise in a river level may indicate that an ice jam has
formed downstream of you. In contrast, a rapid fall in a river
level may indicate that an ice jam has formed upstream from you. If
an upstream ice jam breaks up rapidly, flooding of downstream areas
can occur quickly.

Here are some safety and preparedness tips:

Never drive a car into a flooded roadway! As little as 6
inches of rapidly flowing water can cause some cars to be
washed off the roadway. Water levels are often difficult to
judge, particularly at night when flooded roads are more
difficult to see. You may not be able to see if a roadway is
already washed away.

If you live along a small river are stream:

Know your area's flood risk.

Keep appraised of current weather conditions including the
latest FORECAST and any FLOOD STATEMENTS, WATCHES or WARNINGS
for your area.

Monitor river or stream conditions and be prepared to seek
higher ground, if conditions warrant.

Report any flooding to the appropriate authorities.

If ordered to evacuate, do so immediately.

For additional information, call your local National Weather Service
Office or check out the latest hydrological conditions for the
northeastern United States on the internet at:

  http://www.nws.noaa.gov/er/nerfc/

The following are links to the daily public information statements on Flood Awareness.
Monday - OVERVIEW
Tuesday - FLOOD WATCHES AND WARNINGS
Wednesday - DETERMINING FLOOD POTENTIAL
Thursday - SAFETY AND PREPAREDNESS TIPS
Friday - KEEPING INFORMED ABOUT FLOODING AND THE FLOOD POTENTIAL

updated 3/13
by ES