County Encourages Residents to Prepare for Heavy Rains and Potential Flooding

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For Immediate Release: 10/1/2015 County Encourages Residents to Prepare for Heavy Rains and Potential Flooding The National Weather Service is issuing a Flash Flood Watch from 8 a.m. Friday, October 2, through 8 p.m. Saturday, October 3, 2015. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible. The County is expected to get between three and six inches of rain during that time with periods of very heavy rain within sustained steady and moderate rainfall. This is a separate prediction from any additional rainfall produced by Hurricane Joaquin. It is still too early to predict the effects of Hurricane Joaquin on the County but its track is being constantly monitored and its impact would potentially be felt from Sunday into Monday. Updated information about Hurricane Joaquin will be provided as it becomes available. Due to the already heavy rainfall throughout the County earlier this week, and the current forecast, there is the potential for flooding in many areas of the County. Montgomery County emergency responders and planners encourage residents to stay aware of the changing weather forecasts and make plans in advance to mitigate their effects. In Anticipation of Flooding: • If possible, clear storm drains of leaves and debris and check gutters. • If your basement is prone to flooding, move valuables to a higher location. • Store valuables and important personal papers in a waterproof container. • Avoid areas subject to flooding, including low spots, canals and streams. Know alternate routes to avoid those areas. • Remember, never attempt to drive over a flooded road – you can be stranded or trapped. The depth of the water and the condition of the road is not always obvious and very difficult to determine at night. Flooding Facts: • Flash floods develop from intense storms dropping large amounts of water in a short time. Flash floods occur with little or no warning. During periods of urban flooding, streets can become swift moving rivers and basements can fill with water. • If a Flash Flood Warning, issued when flooding is imminent or occurring, goes into effect, take immediate precautions. • In many cases it takes less than a foot of water to incapacitate a vehicle. • A foot of water will float many vehicles; two feet of rushing water will carry away most vehicles including SUV’s and pick-up trucks. • Swiftly moving floodwaters of six inches will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing lack of control and possible stalling. • Roads covered by floodwaters could already be washed away; don’t drive across roads that are not visible. • Heed all flooding alerts and warnings from public safety officials. Driving Precautions during Heavy Rain and Flooding: • Always exercise caution on roadways during periods of heavy rain: use headlights whenever you use windshield wipers, reduce speeds and maintain a safe distance between vehicles. • Know your location and do not become distracted while driving. If you need public safety assistance, you need to be able to provide your specific location. • If you encounter high water, turn around and drive to a safe spot. Call the police non-emergency number – 301-279-8000 to report the situation to emergency personnel. • Never drive around a street barricade. • If your vehicle is trapped in high water call 9-1-1 for rescue. Get out and go to higher ground if you can safely do so. • Six inches of water can sweep a person off their feet and rocks, tree limbs and other debris can be caught in moving water and be dangerous to you when walking, wading or swimming through flood waters. • If you have to walk or wade through flood water, use a stick to poke the ground in front of you to determine depth and any underwater debris. For emergencies, call 911 immediately. For information about County programs and services, call 3-1-1 (use 240-777-0311 for cell phones), between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. or go anytime to the call center’s online portal at www.MC311.com. The hours at the MC311 call center will be extended this weekend if weather conditions warrant. To stay informed during a severe weather event, major crisis or other type of emergency, sign up for the County’s “Alert Montgomery” emergency warning system. Learn more at: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/OEMHS/AlertMontgomery. # # # Release ID: 15-350 Media Contact: Lucille Baur 240-777-6507

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