Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States, but not all floods are the same. In New Jersey, flash floods develop in just a few minutes. Flash floods are the rapid and extreme flow of water into normally dry areas or the rapid increase in water level in a stream or creek.
Some of the most common flash flooding in this area is snowmelt flooding. This occurs when melting snow causes a major source of water to overflow quickly. The snowpack can hold water for a long period of time until the temperature rises above freezing and the snow melts. Once the snow melts, the water acts similarly to a large rainstorm and penetrates the soil, runs off into rivers or lakes, or both. This can cause massive overflowing as a snowpack can contain gallons of water.
This is extremely dangerous when there have been large amounts of snowfall in a winter with little time above freezing temperatures. Unfortunately, New Jersey has experienced both in the last few months.
In order to prepare for flooding this spring below are some simple steps you and your family can take to stay safe:
- Make an inventory of household items for insurance purposes
- Clear debris from gutters and downspouts to allow for proper drainage
- Move furniture, valuables and important documents to safe, dry places
- Put together a safety kit with water, canned food, first aid, radio, flashlights and blankets
- Be aware of the flood evacuation route in your area and know alternative routes from home, work and school
Once you and your family are prepared for floods, there are ways to volunteer to get your community prepared as well. Volunteer to help elderly neighbors clean their yards of debris or volunteer at one of Jersey Cares Environmental Stewardship opportunities across the state.