Barton River Expected to Flood: Health Department Urges Spring Flood Preparedness

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NEWPORT – The National Weather Service is saying that the Barton River is expected to cause minor flooding overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday. The forecast is saying that the flooding will impact Maple Street and River Road between Orleans and Coventry station. They are saying that there will be extensive field and lowland flooding.

The flood stage is at 8.0 feet, and is expected to rise near 8.5 feet by late Wednesday.

Today, the Health Department sent out a message urging all Vermonters to prepare for spring flooding.

Spring flooding is a potential hazard every year as ice floes break like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle, forming blockages at bridges and tributaries, causing rivers and streams to overflow their banks.

“Flooding is a leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S., and most are preventable,” said Chris Bell, director of public health preparedness for the Vermont Department of Health. “Public Health Week is a good time for us all to remind each other not to underestimate the power of water, especially moving water.”

Part of being ‘Vermont Strong,’ Bell said, is to be ready for any hazard, including the possibility of flooding.

Most flooding-related deaths occur when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways, or cross moving water. Six inches of moving water can knock down an adult, and 18 inches can carry away a vehicle, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Floodwaters can also contain harmful bacteria, sewage, agricultural or industrial waste, chemicals, metals, and other substances. It can even contaminate drinking water wells.

The Health Department has extensive information about precautions to take before and after a flood at: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/water/flood.aspx.

Emergency information about flooding and power outages is also available in English plus 10 other languages at: http://www.healthvermont.gov/local/rhealth/rh_fact.aspx

The American Red Cross has also just released a new flood app to help get your family and home ready for a flood, now available at iTunes or Google Play app stores.

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