TRENTON, N.J. - Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is encouraging residents to take steps to prepare for possible seasonal floods. The National Weather Service is calling for heavy rains to blanket the region through Friday, and flooding is a possibility.
According to the National Weather Service, estimates of 2 to 4 inches of rain are expected, with significant runoff. Rain will begin early Thursday morning and the heaviest rain will occur Thursday night into Friday morning. With rivers and streams just starting to lower from the last rain event, they are expected to rise again quickly.
Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, with the spring months bringing heightened risks due to rapid snowmelt, severe storms and heavy rainfall, and are common in New Jersey’s low-lying areas.
Residents are reminded that protecting themselves from flooding requires simple action, including: storing important documents, adhering to local evacuation plans and purchasing flood insurance to protect their financial investment.
FEMA and NJ Office of Emergency Management also offer the following tips to prepare for flooding:
- Have a safety kit with drinking water, a first-aid kit, canned food, a radio, flashlight and blankets.
- Know safe routes from home, work and school that are on higher ground.
- Protect your property. Most homeowners insurance does not cover flooding. Make sure that your flood insurance policy is up to date.
- If flooding occurs, go to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes etc.
- Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams.
- Roadbeds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways. If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
- Do not turn electricity back on in your home if you detect gas or if the electrical system has been flooded.
- Clean and disinfect everything that was touched by floodwaters or mudflows, and throw out any affected foodstuffs.
- Follow directions from local officials regarding the safety of drinking water.
Flood insurance is available through approximately 90 insurance companies in more than 20,400 participating communities nationwide. The average flood insurance policy costs around $500 a year. Everyone can purchase flood insurance – renters, business owners and homeowners – and last year one-third of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program were for policies in low- to moderate-risk areas. In low- to moderate-risk areas, lower-cost Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs) start at less than $120 a year. Individuals can learn more about their flood risk and how to protect their property by visiting FloodSmart.gov, ready.nj.gov or by dialing 1-800-427-2419.