CONWAY — The Conway Office of Emergency Management, along with the New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management, recommends that residents and visitors prepare for potential flooding as increasingly warm springtime temperatures, coupled with seasonal rainfall, speed the melting of the extensive snowpack.
Areas near and around the Saco and Swift rivers are at the greatest risk of flooding in the upcoming month, as the widespread snowpack still on the ground begins to melt.
It is important that residents and visitors take the proper steps to minimize the impact of potential spring flooding. That includes understanding the terms used to describe flooding:
— Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Watches are issued by the National Weather Service 12-36 hours in advance of a possible event.
— Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground. A flash flood could occur without warning.
— Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
— Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring. Seek higher ground immediately.
In addition, it is suggested that you purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio with battery backup and a tone-alert feature.
Ask local officials whether your property is in a flood-prone or high-risk area.
Know your community’s methods to warn you if evacuation is necessary.
Know your community's flood evacuation routes and where to find high ground. In a flash flood, you may need to seek high ground on foot quickly.
Test your sump pumps. If possible, have a backup power source.
Install check valves in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains in your home.
Ensure your home is ready. Where possible, minimize damage from basement flooding by elevating utilities and materials that could be damaged by limited basement flooding.
Anchor fuel tanks to ensure that they do not wash away, creating a safety and environmental issue inside or outside the home.
Develop a family emergency kit and make a family communication plan.
Know the elevation of your property in relation to nearby streams and dams so that you know if forecasted flood elevations will affect your home and property.
When necessar, construct barriers such as levees, berms and floodwalls to stop floodwater from entering your home or building.
Permission to construct such barriers may be required by local building codes. Check local building codes and ordinances for safety requirements.
Be prepared to turn off electrical power when there is standing water, fallen power lines, or before you evacuate. Know how to safely turn off gas and water supplies before you evacuate.
You may need to store materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber to protect your house from floodwaters and to make quick repairs after a severe storm.
Contact your insurance agent or local government to discuss flood insurance coverage. Flood losses are not covered under regular homeowner’s insurance policies.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency administers the National Flood Insurance Plan through the Federal Insurance Administration.
Contact your local Emergency Management office for more information on mitigation options to further reduce potential flood damage. Your local Emergency Management office may be able to provide additional resources and information on ways to reduce potential damage.
Follow NH HSEM on Twitter at twitter.com/NH_HSEM and Facebook at facebook.com/NH.HSEM. Also, sign up for NH Alerts to receive emergency information via your mobile and landline phones, including severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service and emergency information from NH HSEM.
To learn more about NH Alerts and other preparedness tools, go to readynh.gov or call (603) 271-2231.