Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Flood’ Category

May 31, 1889: More than 2,000 people perished when a dam break sent water rushing through Johnstown, Pa.

Flooding and mudslides in the Colombian city of Mocoa sent torrents of water and debris crashing onto houses in the early hours of Saturday morning, killing 254 people and injuring hundreds



Post-Debbie flooding has exceeded expectations as tens of thousands of residents are ordered to evacuate and 140,000 Queenslanders remain without power.

Daily Mail


CDC: During and After a Flood

USDA Invests $103 Million to Protect Lives, Property After Natural Disasters



Header Press Release

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Release No. 0015.17
USDA Office of Communications
(202) 720-4623
USDA Invests $103 Million to Protect Lives, Property After Natural Disasters
WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2017 – Acting Deputy Agriculture Secretary Michael Young today announced U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing up to $103 million in fiscal year 2017 for disaster recovery efforts to help state, local and tribal units of government protect lives and property in disaster-affected areas following natural disasters.

Local units of government, or sponsors, will use financial and technical assistance from the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP Program) to carry out much-needed recovery projects to remedy damages caused by natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes. Nearly $9 million will be used to fund disaster recovery projects, such as debris removal and streambank stabilization, in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina that will repair damages caused by Hurricane Matthew, a powerful storm that roared up the East Coast in late September through early October 2016.

Up to 70 percent of this fiscal year’s financial assistance funding will be used by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to purchase floodplain easements in Louisiana. In August 2016, severe flooding devastated sections of two of Louisiana’s largest cities—Baton Rouge in southcentral Louisiana and Shreveport in northwestern Louisiana.

“America’s communities rely upon the stability USDA emergency programs provide when unpredictable disasters hit” Young said. “The Emergency Watershed Protection Program funds will support diverse recovery projects including clearing debris-clogged waterways, stabilizing streambanks and repairing damaged water-control structures in local communities to make them resistant to future threats.”

Congress designates funding for the EWP Program. The fiscal year 2017 funding is included in the continuing resolution signed by Congress in early December 2016 to keep the federal government operating through April 2017.

Initial funding requests and projects approved for the five states are included below. States will continue to submit requests for EWP disaster recovery assistance and the remaining funds will be used to help communities cope with the adverse impacts from existing and future natural disasters.

Louisiana – $65 million for the purchase of floodplain easements on private land owned by individuals and public land owned by local, state and tribal governments after severe flooding adversely impacted eastern Louisiana in August 2016. In the city of Baton Rouge, approximately 30 homes in a development in Livingston Parish and about 20 homes in Pointe Coupee Parish will be demolished and the flood-prone land restored to its natural condition. Signups will be held in the two areas to enroll the land into the EWP-floodplain easement option.

Florida – up to $3.1 million for disaster recovery projects to address impacts and damages from Hurricane Matthew including debris removal in Putnam and Volusia counties and channel bank stabilization in Brevard County.

Georgia – up to $97,000 for projects to address impacts and damages from Hurricane Matthew including debris removal in Brantley County.

North Carolina – $908,000 for projects to address impacts and repair damages caused by Hurricane Matthew including sediment removal and streambank stabilization to protect roads and a waste water treatment plant in eastern North Carolina.

South Carolina – up to $5.7 million for projects to address impacts and damages from Hurricane Matthew including debris removal in the counties of Beaufort, Charleston and Horry; towns of Hilton Head Island, Mount Pleasant and Summerville; and Horse Range Watershed Conservation District in Orangeburg County.

The EWP Program helps communities carry out much-needed recovery projects to address damages to watersheds caused by hurricanes, floods, fires, windstorms, wildfires and other natural disasters. EWP offers two options— disaster recovery and permanent floodplain easements. Privately-owned land or public lands owned by local, state or tribal units of government are eligible for USDA assistance through the EWP Program. NRCS provides 75 percent of the funds for recovery projects and the public entity pays the remainder in cash or in-kind services. Floodplain easements are purchased and held by the USDA NRCS. Landowners are compensated for the surface easement and retain ownership of the properties enrolled.

At least 188,000 people remain under evacuation orders after Northern California authorities warned an emergency spillway in the country’s tallest dam was in danger of failing Sunday and unleashing uncontrolled flood waters on towns below.


  • About 150 miles northeast of San Francisco
  • Lake Oroville is one of California’s largest man-made lakes
  • The 770-foot-tall Oroville Dam is the nation’s tallest.


1/11/1966: In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, more than 10 inches of rain falls in 12 hours, causing a flash flood. Four hundred people were killed and 50,000 needed to be evacuated due to the sudden influx of water.

History Channel


11/17/1421: A storm in the North Sea batters the European coastline. Over the next several days, approximately 10,000 people in what is now the Netherlands died in the resulting floods.

History Channel

50 years ago this month, the Arno River spilled over its banks in Florence, killing 35 people, causing lasting damage to homes, buildings and treasured artworks, ruining some 6,000 businesses and leaving 70,000 citizens without electricity, gas or heating for days.

NY Times


Turn Around Don’t Drown®


Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.

A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult.

It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.

It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.

Yellow Warning Sign

TADD Warning Sign

The yellow warning sign, right, “When Flooded, Turn Around Don’t Drown®” complies with Federal Highway Administration (FHA) standards and is intended for deployment as a permanent road sign. Warning signs alert drivers of a possible danger ahead, such as when it may be necessary to slow down and stop, or a road hazard or special situation may be ahead. Details on producing this Turn Around Don’t Drown® warning sign are available here.

The “When Flooded, Turn Around Don’t Drown®” warning sign should be deployed at locations where the incidence of flooding is high, the onset of flooding is rapid, and/or it is not practical to deploy incident signs in a timely manner.

NWS offices are encouraged to work with officials in their local areas in promoting use of this sign to save lives and property.

Warning signs have a black legend (i.e., lettering and outer border) and a yellow background (RGB color 255:208:69 or Pantone 116).  More detailed guidance on use of warning signs can be found in Chapter 2C of the MUTCD

TADD Warning Sign
Pink Incident SignTADD incident sign

The FHA, with its Letter of Support, has encouraged use of the phrase “Flooding Ahead Turn Around Don’t Drown®” as an official incident management road sign (pink) following FHA specifications. Get details on producing this Turn Around Don’t Drown® incident sign.

Incident management signs are a specific type of Temporary Traffic Control (TTC) sign deployed in response to short-term events which impede the normal flow of traffic such as accidents, natural disasters, hazardous material spills, or other unplanned incidents.  The “Flooding Ahead Turn Around Don’t Drown®” incident management sign is intended for use at locations where stream waters flooding across a road have made passage dangerous.  The location may be a road which dips down to the level of a stream channel or a bridge or culvert which cannot pass high flood flows.

Incident management signs are intended for mounting on temporary sign holders such as the one shown above.  They should not be mounted on construction barricades.

This type of incident sign has a black legend (i.e., lettering and outer border) and a fluorescent pink background (RGB color 255:40:140 or Pantone 232).  More detailed guidance on incident signs can be found in Section 6I in Part 6 of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

TADD incident sign


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