Flood Safety Awareness across the Twin Tiers

By Kelly McCarthy

March 20, 2013 Updated Mar 20, 2013 at 9:57 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Failing to have a plan during extreme weather events could be one of the most costly mistakes local families can make, according to the National Weather Service.

They're hosting Flood Safety Awareness Week to remind everyone of the dangers of flooding.

The Susquehanna River cuts through dozens of communities in the Twin Tiers. The broader Susquehanna River basin is one of the most flood-prone river basin's in the United States.

"Ten percent of all flood-insured losses, 10 percent, comes from Susquehanna basin," said Dave Nicosia, warning coordination meteorologist at the Binghamton office of the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service wants residents to have a plan ready during this flood season because not all of flood-related losses can be so easily replaced.

"Fifty percent of all the deaths are related to people who drive willingly into flooded areas," Nicosia said. "So it can be prevented."

Prevention starts with having a plan, which should be the next step after determining whether you live in a flood-prone zone.

"And if you are at risk for flooding, you need to anytime we forecast heavy rains or there's a flood watch in effect, or any type of flood warnings, you got to keep informed," Nicosia said. "You have to know what's going on."

The NWS is using social media now more than ever to spread awareness during flood safety safety week. The

US National Weather Service Binghamton's Facebook page gives updates on safety tips and emergency information. That includes ways to help drivers if they find themselves caught in a flash flood.

"If you see a flooded roadway," Nicosia said. "You don't know how deep the water is, you don't know if the road has been undermined, we just tell people turn around. Don't drown, go in another direction and find another route."

There are plenty of tips to keep in mind, especially during this time of year.

"A lot of times you know this time of year we'll have one or two feet of snow on the ground and it's going to melt," Nicosia said. "A lot of times it's just minor flooding, so this is why they do it now."

Flood Safety Awareness Week runs through Friday.

The NWS says it's also important for people in the area to understand the different types of warnings issued for weather emergencies.

Specifically, come to know the differences between a flood advisory, a flash flood warning and a flood warning. Those who do, have a better understanding of making decisions in the best interests of their families, the NWS says.