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NOAA News Releases 2005
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NOAA’s National Weather Service will host the first annual Flood Safety Awareness Week from March 21-25, 2005, to raise public attention to the dangers of flooding and ways to protect life and property. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“No state or territory is immune from the dangers of flooding, but knowing how to react when floods threaten can mean the difference between life and death,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA's National Weather Service. The National Weather Service strives to improve flood forecasts and warnings, as part of NOAA’s continuing mission to serve society’s increasing need for weather and water information.

Floods, on average, kill more than 100 people and are responsible for $4.6 billion in damage in the United States each year. More than half of those deaths occur in vehicles overtaken by floodwaters.

“From ice jams and rapidly melting snow to torrential thunderstorms and slow-moving tropical storms, floods can be a threat throughout the year,” said Thomas Graziano, Ph.D., acting chief of the Hydrologic Services Division at NOAA’s National Weather Service. “Extensive and persistent public education on the hazards of flooding is key to reducing the loss of life and is the goal of Flood Safety Awareness Week.”

Topics to be covered during Flood Safety Awareness Week:

Monday, March 21: Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service

The Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) is the National Weather Service’s on-going effort to modernize hydrologic services from floods to droughts. AHPS extends the range and quantifies the certainty of NWS river forecasts and provides timely user-friendly, visual products accessible on the Internet.

Tuesday, March 22: Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

People often underestimate the force of water. More than half of all flood-related deaths are attributed to vehicles that are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable simply by not driving or walking onto flooded roads. Most cars begin to float and lose contact with the road, assuming the road has not been washed out, in only 18-24 inches of water. Remember, when approaching a flooded roadway, Turn Around, Don’t Drown.

Wednesday, March 23: Inland Flooding from Tropical Systems

Heavy rain and subsequent flooding produced by tropical systems such as hurricanes, and their remnants can be deadlier than the strong winds such storms create. Slow-moving systems typically produce heavy rain in the same area for extended periods resulting in significant flooding.

Thursday, March 24: Determining Flood Risk and Flood Insurance

Flood losses are not covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy. Flood insurance is available, however, to any property owner in a community participating in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program. Flood hazard maps, produced by FEMA, enable consumers to determine their risk and choose appropriate flood insurance.

Friday, March 25: Flood Safety

The National Weather Service, along side government and private sector partners, informs communities across the United States how to become aware of flood risks and how to properly react when a flood threatens. Knowing what to do before, during and after a flood can save lives and reduce injuries and property damage.

The NOAA National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.

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