The Village of Ridgewood is Flood Prone
Flooding is the most serious hazard for the bergen county area and is a threat across the entire city year-round. A common myth is that flooding only occurs in creek or river floodplains. Many do not realize that flooding can occur anywhere!
75% of flood fatalities are automobile related!
Never drive around a barricade. Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles and SUVs. As little as six inches of moving water can be dangerous.
Factors Assocaited with Flooding.
Urban and rural creeks run through all areas of Ridgewood creating the beautiful landscape and natural water system. Unfortunately, this means we live in and near their floodplains. A floodplain is the land area these bodies of water will spill over into when it rains heavily. We can’t control a floodplain-- nature wins eventually.
Ho-Ho-Kus Brook & Saddle River River
Both Ho-Ho-Kus Brook & Saddle River River splits the village into three unpassible sections during a flood known as East of Route 17 (Glen School Area), East Central (Travell, Somerville & Hawes) and East CBD (Anything West of Ho-Ho-Kus Brook). Ridgewood OEM has a plans in place to protect residents from Fire, Police and Medical emergencies located within these sections during major floods. Residents residing within the East Central portion are advised that durring a flood an island is created between the Saddle River and Ho-Ho-Kus Brook trapping people within this section. There are currently no flood prevention dams within the Village of Ridgewod. Be advised that conditions upstream will always effect portions downstream. Just because there is no flooding or rain in Ridgewood does not mean flooding cannot occur.
Developed areas cannot absorb as much rainfall as a natural area. Water runoff in suburban areas is faster and there is much more of it, creating very dangerous conditions for people, especially drivers. Also, drainage systems can be overwhelmed, causing flooding in areas outside of floodplains.
Hurricanes & Tropical Storms
Ridgewood has expeirences multiple catastrophic hurricanes, we are vulnerable to the effects of a dying hurricane or tropical storm traveling inland also.
Before a Flood
To prepare for a flood, you should:
- Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
- Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
- Install "check valves" in sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
- Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the building.
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
During a Flood
If a flood is likely in your area, you should:
- Listen to the radio or television for information.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
- Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture.
- Move essential items to an upper floor.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall.
- If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving.
- Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
Driving Flood Facts
The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
After a Flood
The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:
- Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Avoid moving water.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
Storms with Strong Winds
Sometimes winter storms are accompanied by strong winds creating blizzard conditions with blinding wind-driven snow, severe drifting, and dangerous wind chill. Strong winds with these intense storms and cold fronts can knock down trees, utility poles, and power lines. Storms near the coast can cause coastal flooding and beach erosion as well as sink ships at sea. In the West and Alaska, winds descending off the mountains can gust to 100 mph or more damaging roofs and other structures.
Extreme cold often accompanies a winter storm or is left in its wake. Prolonged exposure to the cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia and become life-threatening. Infants and elderly people are most susceptible. What constitutes extreme cold and its effect varies across different areas of the United States. In areas unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered "extreme cold." Pipes may freeze and burst in homes that are poorly insulated or without heat. In the north, below zero temperatures may be considered as "extreme cold."
Heavy accumulations of ice can bring down trees, electrical wires, telephone poles and lines, and communication towers. Communications and power can be disrupted for days while utility companies work to repair the extensive damage. Even small accumulations of ice may cause extreme hazards to motorists and pedestrians.
During a Winter Storm
The following are guidelines for what you should do during a winter storm or under conditions of extreme cold:
- Listen to your radio, television, or NOAA Weather Radio for weather reports and emergency information.
- Eat regularly and drink ample fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Avoid overexertion. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter.
- Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first, and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible