Flood safety awareness week " Day 5

The following web story is an amended transcription from the National Weather Service regarding flooding safety awareness week. This is the fourth of a five part series on flooding safety which will run each day during New York's flooding safety awareness week. Today TMs topic is flood safety.

Is flooding really that big of a deal?

Flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other severe weather related event, an average of $5 billion a year. 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?

We here at and on our network of stations, NBC-3. CBS-5, and CW-6 are monitoring the very latest weather conditions for you. We will, in lockstep with the National Weather Service, alert you when any flood warnings area issued. You can click here for the latest information on our website for the latest severe weather and flooding hazards. The National Weather Service also provides forecasts and warning here. This website 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 National Weather Service 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.
  • The impacts of a flood vary locally. For each National Weather Service river forecast location, flood stage and the stage associated with each of the National Weather Service flood severity categories are established in cooperation with local public officials. Increasing river levels above flood stage constitute minor, moderate, and major flooding. Impacts vary from one river location to another because a certain river stage height in one location may have an entirely different impact than the same level above flood stage at another location.

    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.

    A flash flood 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, and 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 here.

    The National Weather Service 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 U.S. 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 media, and many other government and private sector organizations.

    For more on your weather forecast, click on Weather and then the Live Triple Doppler Radar tab on our weather page. Make sure you refresh the Doppler radar to see the very latest information, as well. Furthermore, we have our new Interactive Doppler Radar on our website. You can zoom down to street level with Interactive Doppler Radar. You are in total control of where the radar can zoom in. Give it a try. In addition, you may tune to NBC Weather Plus on Time Warner Cable digital channel 133 or over the air 3.3 to get the very latest weather updates locally and nationally. Plus, click on Severe Weather Tab to see detailed county watches, warnings, and advisory information. In addition, you can follow along with me on Twitter by either clicking on the follow button on the Twitter section of our weather page or by visiting