Being 'flood smart' means understanding the risks you face both in property damage and personal injury where you live or have a business...and taking steps to lessen or mitigate those risk factors.
About Flooding & Flash Floods
Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States, however not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, while others such a flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Additionally, floods can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.
Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall. Overland flooding, the most common type of flooding event typically occurs when waterways such as rivers or streams overflow their banks as a result of rainwater and cause flooding in surrounding areas. It can also occur when rainfall exceeds the capacity of underground pipes, or the capacity of streets and drains designed to carry flood water away from urban areas.
While flooding patterns in our area seem to be as volatile and unpredictable as ever, we're fortunate in that a significant amount of resources have been committed to understanding our Gulf Coast weather while providing the most accurate predictive tools available. There is a wealth of information available on topics such as:
Flood insurance availability
Revised floodplain mapping
Similar topics that may be conveniently accessed on the Net
All that is required to help you minimize your exposure to losses is your commitment to know the facts and then to follow through with the suggested strategies.
Useful Websites & Guides
These resources will provide most residents and business owners with a good beginning on being "flood smart." Naturally, you'll want to have all this information well in-hand before severe weather strikes. With it looking like the 2013 hurricane season may end without any major problems for our area, it would be a great time to carefully plan your preparations for next year...when we may not be so lucky.
Here are a few simple steps to take that will help you successfully cope with any flooding your area is prone to:
Determine Your Risk - The first step in preparing is to understand what you are likely to face in a flooding situation. For a general overview, the Ready site is a great place to start. You'll want to download their Are You Ready? Guide (PDF), a comprehensive booklet that provides valuable insights into individual, family and community preparedness.
Getting an accurate fix on how flood-prone your home or business location is will be crucial. You may get details on that topic at FEMA's Map Service Center.
One of the most useful websites to visit in your hunt for flood risk assistance is FloodSmart, where you'll be able to get help in understanding how to read a flood map, study various flood risk scenarios and pick topics of special interest to you from among the brief-but well made-video offerings.
Since we can't know the exact extent or severity of future flooding events, one of the most crucial steps to take to protect your home or business is to secure flood insurance from FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You can explore what is covered and how building and contents coverage differs, learn when insurance is required to be held, get a summary of coverage and much more. If you'd like to review Harris County-specific insurance rate map data, you may do that at the TexasChart webpage. Having that protection in place will let you rest a little easier when high water is threatening your home or business.
Don't forget that you can keep up with weather conditions in Pasadena easily just by referring to our Emergency Management weather pages.
They will provide you with:
A comprehensive Texas-focused website that helps prepare you for more than just flooding emergencies
Current conditions at our four monitoring stations
A large radar map of storm activity and when things start brewing in the Gulf