FEMA REGION III: FLOOD SAFETY TOOLKIT (March 2021) – Please share with your stakeholders.

FEMA REGION III FLOOD SAFETY TOOLKIT (March 2021)


This came out from FEMA Region III today….

Even during COVID, flooding occurs.  Please share this toolkit with your stakeholders.

Flooding is a reoccurring theme in Blues music. The Blues, as you know, is a uniquely American style of music, just like flooding is a uniquely powerful hazard.

Bessie Smith wrote and recorded “Backwater Blues” in 1927. The song, about a girl trying to escape a flood, tells a sad story of the urgency to escape. In the song she says:

When it rains five days and the skies turn dark as night
Then trouble’s takin’ place
In the lowlands at night
I woke up this mornin’, can’t even get out of my door
I woke up this mornin’, can’t even get out of my door
There’s been enough trouble
To make a poor girl wonder where she wants to go

“When the Levee Breaks” was originally written by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929. Music buffs know that it was covered by such bands an artist as Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, and Ben Harper. The song perfectly encapsulates the power of water:

If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break
If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break
When the levee breaks, I’ll have no place to stay.

Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan, Lord
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
It’s got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home
Oh well, oh well, oh well

And then there’s “Texas Flood,” written by Larry Davis in 1958 and made famous by Stevie Ray Vaughan. A bit more lighthearted, the story is of a man leaving his love for sunnier days:

Well I’m leavin’ you baby
Lord and I’m goin’ back home to stay
Well I’m leavin’ you baby
Lord and I’m goin’ back home to stay
Well back home are no floods or tornados
Baby and the sun shines every day

Yep, it’s flood season. Those rainy-day blues are right around the corner.

And yet, it’s hard to imagine, as we glance out our windows and see snow and ice on the ground, as we kick the salt off our boots and light a fire to warm our families at night, that we soon will transition to thinking about severe weather season. Thunderstorms, late-season winter storms, and floods will soon occupy our 5-day forecasts.

Even stranger still is the necessity to think of severe weather season during the COVID-19 pandemic. As our country conducts a nationwide vaccination effort, flooding will not go away. Floods are occurring earlier and later into the season, in places that have not flooded before, and the water is inching higher.

To that end, we ask that you share the information in this toolkit with your stakeholders. In combination with our Sustainability and Home Mitigation toolkits, not only can we become more prepared, but we can also better prepare our communities. Flooding is a top hazard in our region, accounting for the most dollars in damage annually.

We can work to change that.