West Milford Dams
Did You Know....
- Individuals and business owners can protect themselves from flood
losses by purchasing flood insurance through National Flood
Insurance Program. Homeowner's policies do not cover flood damage.
Information is available through local insurance agents and
emergency management offices.
- Flooding has caused the deaths of more than 10,000 people since
1900. Property damage from flooding now totals over $1 billion each
year in the United States.
- More than 2,200 lives were lost as a result of the Johnstown,
Pennsylvannia flood of 1889. This flood was caused by an upstream
- Nearly 9 of every 10 presidential disaster declarations result
from natural phenomena in which flooding was a major component.
- On July 31, 1976, the Big Thompson River near Denver overflowed
after an extremely heavy storm. A wall of water 19 feet high roared
down the Big Thompson Canyon where many people were camping. 140
people perished and millions of dollars of property were lost.
WHAT IS A FLASH FLOOD?
Flash floods usually result from intense storms dropping large amounts
of rain within a brief period. Flash floods occur with little or no
warning and can reach full peak in only a few minutes.
- Flood waters can be extremely dangerous. The force of six inches
of swiftly moving water can knock people off their feet. The best
protection during a flood is to leave the area and go to shelter on
- Flash flood waters move at very fast speeds and can roll boulders,
tear out trees, destroy buildings, and obliterate bridges. Walls of
water can reach heights of 10 to 20 feet and generally are
accompanied by a deadly cargo of debris. The best response to any
signs of flash flooding is to move immediately and quickly to higher
- Cars can be easily be swept away in just 2 feet of moving water.
If flood waters rise around a car, it should be abandoned.
Passengers should climb to higher ground.
Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural
disasters--except fire. Most communities in the United States can
experience some kind of flooding after spring rains, heavy
thunderstorms, or winter snow thaws. Floods can be slow, or fast rising
but generally develop over a period of days.
Dam failures are potentially the worst flood events. A dam failure is
usually the result of neglect, poor design, or structural damage caused
by a major event such as an earthquake. When a dam fails, a gigantic
quantity of water is suddenly let loose downstream, destroying anything
in its path.
Last modified: Saturday, December 13, 2003
Floods and flash floods occur within all 50 states. Communities
particularly at risk are those located in low-lying areas, near
water, or downstream from a dam. Please check our pages West Milford
Dams and Flood Facts.
HELP YOUR COMMUNITY GET READY
The media can raise awareness about floods and flash floods by
providing important information to the community. Here are some
- Publish a special section in your local newspaper with
emergency information on floods and flash floods. Localize
the information by printing the phone numbers of local
emergency services offices, the American Red Cross, and
- Interview local officials about land use management and
building codes in floodplains.
- Work with local emergency services and American Red Cross
officials to prepare special reports for people with
mobility impairments on what to do if an evacuation is
- Periodically inform your community of local public warning