Preparing for Mother Nature’s toughest weather

May 27, 2015

We’ve all heard the expression, “spring is in the air!” Well, spring has fully sprung, and as flowers bloom and temperatures grow warmer, so does the threat of severe weather which is also common during this time of year. Depending on what region you live in the US, severe weather-related events such as tornadoes and hurricanes are prone to happen causing serious damage to homes and businesses. Luckily, the U.S. Government Bookstore offers the following weather-related publications to help you prepare for Mother Nature’s toughest weather.

003-017-00569-1Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Lightning, Nature’s Most Violent Storms: A Preparedness Guide, Including Tornado Safety Information for Schools. This illustrated booklet showcases facts about weather-related events and suggests life-saving actions you can take, if you find yourself in an unexpected situation resulting from a weather-related event.  The goal of this booklet is to present you with details on how to recognize severe weather, be aware of your surroundings, and to encourage you to develop a plan to be ready to act when threatening weather approaches. Additionally, it provides important information on what causes specific weather-related events and features a “Why Worry About Thunderstorms?” fact list of weather-related risks as it relates to lighting, tornadoes, flash floods and floods, and hail.

FloodsTheAwesomePower_NSC_Page_01Floods: The Awesome Power. This booklet explains flood related hazards and suggests lifesaving actions you can take in the event of a flood. Filled with illustrations, this easy-to-read booklet provides helpful information on how you can recognize a flood potential and develop a plan to be prepared when threatening weather approaches. It also provides information on flood severity categories from minor to major flooding scenarios, river floods, and flash floods risks whether in a car, truck, or SUV, or at home, work, or school.

Weather Spotter’s Field Guide: A Guide to Being a SKYWARN Spotter. The United States is the most severe weather-prone country in the world. Each year, people in this country cope with an average of 10,000 thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,200 tornadoes, and two land-falling hurricanes. Approximately 90% of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, causing around 500 deaths each year and nearly $14 billion in damage.9780160924255

SKYWARN® is a National Weather Service (NWS) program developed in the 1960s that consists of trained weather spotters who provide reports of severe and hazardous weather to help meteorologists make life-saving warning decisions. Spotters are concerned citizens, amateur radio operators, truck drivers, mariners, airplane pilots, emergency management personnel, and public safety officials who volunteer their time and energy to report on hazardous weather impacting their community.

Although, NWS has access to data from Doppler radar, satellite, and surface weather stations, technology cannot detect every instance of hazardous weather. Spotters help fill in the gaps by reporting hail, wind damage, flooding, heavy snow, tornadoes and waterspouts. Radar is an excellent tool, but it is just that: one tool among many that NWS uses. We need spotters to report how storms and other hydro-meteorological phenomena are impacting their area.

This guide provides the procedures for Spotter Reporting, their role in severe storms that may result in hazardous conditions, and provides safety tips for extreme weather conditions.

003-017-00563-1Owlie Skywarn’s Weather Book. Although designed to appeal to children, this booklet provides important severe weather-related information for all ages. It includes information on hurricanes, tornadoes, lighting, floods, and winter storms. This booklet is written and illustrated in a cartoon style format for children 8 to 12; however, it contains valuable disaster preparation and response information of use to parents, teachers and other adults.

How can I get these weather-related publications?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy the following  publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Order by Phone: You may also Order print editions by calling our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Trudy Hawkins is Senior Marketing and Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division supporting the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).

 


Rebuilding after the floods: FEMA shares lessons learned after Sandy

October 28, 2013

This week marks the one-year anniversary of Superstorm or Hurricane Sandy. The destruction and devastation is still felt by many people on the East Coast as they rebuild and recover from this historic superstorm.

Damaged-homes-Superstorm-Sandy-GazetteImage: In this Oct. 31, 2012 file photo, a view from the air shows the destroyed homes left in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in Seaside Heights, N.J. New Jersey got the brunt of Sandy, which made landfall in the state and killed six people. Photo Credit: Mike Groll, Associated Press

Sandy is only one storm among many that have caused Americans agony in recent years. As recently as last month, catastrophic flooding damaged Colorado, and we never know what is coming in the future – when the next natural disaster will strike.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for providing aid to those affected by natural disasters, which includes resources like fact sheets and publications for consumers and local and state governments  on how to prepare for and recover from devastating floods.

Road-damage-Colorado-floods-2013Image: A flood-wrecked road in Colorado, September 16, 2013. Photo credit:  KUSA.

Hazard Mitigation Field Book – Roadways

Hazard-Mitigation-Field-Book_Flooded-Roadways_9780160902031One of the biggest problems immediately after a disaster like Hurricane Sandy is the impact of flooding on the infrastructure, particularly roads, that prevent emergency responders and local officials from getting in to the flooded areas to assess the damage, or construction personnel from getting materials in to rebuild.

Hazard Mitigation Field Book: Roadways focuses on ways for municipalities to lessen the impact of flooding on roadways. This FEMA roadway damage field guide helps state and local governments rapidly assess various flood-caused roadway hazards and identify the best hazard mitigation (HM) solutions for the situation. It also includes case studies and general design guidance to help prevent damage to and around roadways through engineering and construction practices.

The information is very technical— focusing on the various problems that can result from flooded roadways and how to fix, prevent and reduce the impact of the problems. FEMA is encouraging governments to be proactive and repair substandard infrastructure rather than getting stuck in a disaster-rebuild-disaster cycle that is often costly and does not fix the problem. But while the intended audience for this publication is local and state governments, it contains useful information for any concerned citizen. Hazard Mitigation Field Book: Roadways is available both in Spiral-bound Print and as an ePub eBook.

Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction

Home-builders-guide-coastal-construction_9780160914133Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction is comprised of 37 fact sheets broken down by ten topics related to residential coastal construction. The fact sheets are designed with photographs, drawings, charts and diagrams presenting the information in a user-friendly way. FEMA shares best practices and the reasoning behind them in order to improve the performance of buildings subject to flood and wind forces in coastal environments. Many of the fact sheets also include a list of additional resources on the topic.

This guide is a great resource for those who already sustained damage and need advice on how to rebuild while also renovating and improving your existing coastal residence.

Building contractors, realtors and others in the construction industry who work with homes in hurricane or typhoon-prone areas should take special note as Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction includes the newest building codes and recommendations for flood, storm and hurricane resistant construction learned from recent disasters.

[NOTE: For New Jersey residents, here is a Rebuilding After Sandy Fact Sheet about new state building requirements for coastal construction which refers to homes declared “substantially damaged buildings” (see below).]

Other Flood Publications

Answers-to-Questions-about-Substantially-Damaged-Buildings_064-000-00048-9A good companion book to the Home Builder’s Guide is the Answers to Questions About Substantially Damaged Buildings (Paperback) and eBook version which provides information on FEMA regulations and policy on substantial improvement as it applies to damaged structures.

Floods-The-Awesome-Power_9780160814181Floods: The Awesome Power is a consumer guide sold in a package of 25 from NOAA’s National Weather Service that explains flood-related hazards, and suggests life-saving actions you can take.

Prevention is Worth A Gallon of Cure

One year ago, Americans along the East Coast were evacuating and seeking shelter from Hurricane Sandy, and one month ago Coloradoans were under water. With each natural disaster there are lessons learned that can hopefully make a difference in preventing tragedy for when the next one strikes. Whether you live on the Atlantic, Pacific or Gulf Coast, or any flood-prone area, these valuable publications can help communities and homeowners rebuild and hopefully lessen the impact for when the damage is done.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE FLOOD-RELATED PUBLICATIONS?

You can find these Federal flood and flood control publications through any of these methods:

  • Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
  • Visit our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
  • Go to a Library: GPO provides copies of these publications to Federal Depository libraries worldwide. Find them in a library near you.

About the Author: Our guest blogger is Emma Wojtowicz, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs. Additional content provided by Government Book Talk Editor: Michele Bartram, Promotions & eCommerce Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division.


Trickle, Trickle, Splash, Splash

September 9, 2011

 As I sit here writing this, it’s raining. It’s been raining for days, as a result of the remnants of Hurricane Lee. Before that, we got rain from Hurricane Irene, although thankfully not what Vermont and Upstate New York received. Before that, innumerable August thunderstorms had dumped inches of precipitation on us. The forecast for the next few days? More rain. Earlier this summer I read that our area was in a “moderate drought” state. Ha! I was just bemoaning our saturated state with a co-worker, in the course of which I said “I’ve been blogging about earthquakes and hurricanes, so I guess I’ll have to dig out a Government publication on floods.” Aha!

 This brings me to Floods: The Awesome Power, a National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA to the cognoscenti) booklet that covers all kinds of flooding scenarios, including the one I’m putting up with right now. “Floods are often produced by hurricanes, tropical storms, and tropical depressions. A tropical cyclone’s worst impact may be the inland flooding associated with torrential rains. When these storms move inland, they are typically accompanied by very heavy rain.” Happily, we’re not experiencing what Louisianans did a few days ago, but it wouldn’t be totally unprecedented, either. A few years ago a freak weather system dumped tons on rain around here, resulting in a mini-flash flood in our basement – two or three inches worth. All I’ll say is that pulling up waterlogged wall-to-wall carpeting underlain with ratty-looking linoleum squares isn’t my favorite thing to do. Last night, after work, I spent a couple of hours down there mopping up from the current seepage, and the stream down the block looked way high. It can happen anywhere.

Floods: The Awesome Power not only covers the types of weather systems that can cause flooding, it provides information on how to keep track of such events, how to prepare in advance (“Store drinking water in food-grade containers. Water service may be interrupted”) what to do when the deluge is upon you (“Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and its occupants sweeping them away. Vehicles can be swept away by as little as 2 feet of water”), and what to do afterward (“If the power is out, use flashlights, not candles”). Guilty as changed on that last point – it sounds as if I need more batteries and less wax around the house. There’s also a detailed outline on how to develop a family disaster plan, which could be useful in any number of crisis situations.

All in all, I don’t know of a better way to find out a lot about coping with flooding in a concise, easy-to-read format. You can read Floods: The Awesome Power here, buy it in packs here (great for neighborhood associations and other groups), or find it in a library. As for me, this old doo-wop classic says it all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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