Protecting yourselves and your home during Flood Safety Awareness Week

The National Weather Service sees precursors to spring flooding already
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 5:24 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - In Wisconsin, March 6-10 has been declared by Governor Evers as Flood Safety Awareness Week. Brown County officials and other community members gathered Monday morning to discuss how to stay safe and how to mitigate a flooding risk in your community.

“In emergency management, it’s always important to preach about preparedness for any hazard that we might face in our community, and with it being Flood Safety Awareness Week in the state of Wisconsin and Troy Streckenbach declaring it locally as well it helps us just use that as a platform to stress that preparedness yet again, specifically for flooding in our community,” said Lauri Maki, Brown County Emergency Management Coordinator.

Melting snow and heavy rain are two of the most common forms of natural flooding in Wisconsin. Kurt Kotenberg with the National Weather Service in Green Bay said from a weather aspect when the snow melts it has to go somewhere, and the potential system coming this week and next week could make an impact. He said the melted snow ends up in the land and into the rivers.

“Our soil moisture is starting to be a little bit above normal and our precipitation starting to be above normal,” Kotenberg said. “So when you start combining those things and then you add another couple of snow events here like the one coming this week and next week. We’re starting to look at perhaps a heightened flood potential here for this upcoming spring.”

Brown County Sheriff Todd Delain said one of the main things law enforcement sees is flash flooding, where the water rises quickly in streams and creeks and overflows the roadways. He said any water that is coming over the roadway is not safe to drive through. It only takes a few inches of moving water to cause problems.

“First and foremost if you go through, oftentimes it’ll do significant damage to your vehicles, which then causes problems for us because we have to try and get that vehicle out of the water and we’re potentially putting tow truck drivers at risk to try to get in there and get it out,” Sheriff Delain said.

Sheriff Delain said he knows that with the increase in the flash flooding that occurs, there is a greater risk of fatalities or injury related to people being swept away.

“We know that it only takes about six inches of moving water to have a person swept away,” Sheriff Delain said. “As the water rises, there are other issues that certainly present themselves. With 12 inches of flowing water that comes across a roadway that generally is enough water potentially to move a small vehicle and once you get to 18 to 24 inches of flowing water over a roadway that’s enough water to move a larger vehicle.”

The following tips could help you improve your safety when flooding strikes:

  • Know if your home is in a flood risk zone
  • Consider flood insurance
  • Build a “Go Kit” that is filled with food, water, cash, medications, and copies of important documents in a waterproof container
  • Make an emergency/evacuation plan
  • Elevate valuables and move them from the basement

Maki stressed the importance of having flood insurance because you may not get a lot of help from FEMA.

“FEMA wouldn’t get involved unless the entire community was impacted to a certain extent,” Maki said. “That’s something we always try to talk about as well as if it’s just a few homes that are hit with flooding or fire or any type of natural disaster, FEMA doesn’t just come in right away.”

To check if you are in a flood zone, sign up for Code Red, or learn how to make a plan, go to