I received an alert from Lori Fisher, Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Committee, on Friday with the alarming subject line: Potential Lake Flooding – Be Prepared.
Prepare for flooding?!?! Potential flooding? You heard right, if you work or live near the shore, prepare for potential Lake Champlain flooding in the days ahead.
As of the most recent instantaneous Lake Champlain water level data, the lake is currently 99.18 feet, but with lots of run-off coursing through streams and rivers toward Lake Champlain — and with more rain in the forecast — the waters will continue to rise in the days ahead.
How much? The oracles disagree. And even when they agree, they’re usually wrong. So, just to be safe, err on the side of prudence. Prepare for at least some Lake Champlain flooding.
Heavy rains could cause additional flooding and if they persist, there’s the potential for Lake Champlain to reach flood stage (100 feet) next week. High winds associated with continued storm events may generate significant wave action which will worsen conditions. If your home or business is near Lake Champlain or other waters, please consider taking precautions in advance to help protect people, property, and our waterways. (Lori Fisher, LCC Executive Director)
With Lake Champlain flooding much in the news over the last couple of weeks, you’ve probably heard some of the different flooding terminology. If you’re confused about the difference between a “flood watch” and a “flood warning”, the following explanation from Vermont Emergency Management is helpful. Make sure you know the correct terms in order to prepare for flooding.
- Flood Watch Flooding is possible. Watches are issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) 12 to 36 hours in advance of a possible event.
- Flash Flood Watch Flash Flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground. A Flash Flood could occur without warning.
- Flood Warning Flooding is occurring, or will occur soon. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Flash Flood Warning A flash flood is occurring. Seek higher ground immediately and stay away from streams and creeks.
According to Lori Fisher, you should take time now to rid potential flood areas of hazardous materials that could pollute Lake Champlain. “Propane tanks and other articles that we don’t want in our waters should be removed or secured.” I would also ensure that gas cans (for your lawn mower or outboard motor) are also moved to higher, drier ground.
And what about flood-risks that you can’t avoid like septic tanks and leach fields?
Be aware that submerged septic systems will not operate properly creating ecological problems and potential health risks. (Lori Fisher, LCC Executive Director)
Short of relocating your septic system to higher ground (not a viable option for most homeowners, especially on short notice), you’ll need to anticipate an interruption to your household plumbing and seek alternatives in the event of a flood.
And remember, Lake Champlain flooding upstream is just as dangerous.
“We are suggesting anywhere you can see the river people should get out, it’s better to have people out first before something else happens,” [Donald Jaquish, Director at Essex County Emergency Services] said. “People and their safety are our first concern and property second.” (Denpubs.com)
If you know any sunshine dances, you might want to practice them. And if you only know rain dances, staple your toes to the floor!
- Lake Champlain is Rising, Rising, Rising (rosslynredux.com)
- Lake Champlain Water Level Jumps 2 Feet in a Week (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Sewage floods into Lake Champlain, crews prepare for more rain (wptz.com)
- Flood watch in effect for most of region (wptz.com)