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Kootenai County - “Not too long ago when we had the arctic cold fronts, we were informing the public on the signs of frostbite and hypothermia”, said Sandy Von Behren, Director of Kootenai County Office of Emergency Management. “Now to much of our delight, the National Weather Service in Spokane forecasts dryer and warmer temperatures for North Idaho. That may sound good and it is” Von Behren said, “but the public should also understand and prepare for the risk of spring flooding”.
Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. The snow melt can impact rises in small streams and rivers, ice jams, water seepage into basements, flooding in poor drainage areas and ponding water.
Stay informed by listening to the radio or television, check social media sites for current information. You can sign up for emergency notifications. Alert! Kootenai County is for those that live or want to be informed of emergencies in Kootenai County. To register or for more information go to www.kcgov.us/alertkootenai. If you have trouble registering, you can call (208) 446-1850.
The Office of Emergency Management wants you to also be informed on the difference between a flood watch and flood warning. A flash flood warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring and you should take action. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flood warning means to take action and is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring. A flood watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible and you should be prepared. A flood advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance, but flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning.
If you live in or around a flood a plain or floodway, prepare for flooding ahead by clearing snow around drainages and the foundation of your home. Secure, put away or elevate any belongings that are susceptible to flooding. Know where to purchase sand and sandbags if you need them. Also, alert city/county officials to blocked culverts, rock slides or flooding.
For more information on flood preparedness you can go to http://oem.kcgov.us or www.ready.gov.