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SJRWMD website offers hurricane season preparation tips, storm contacts, flood information

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PALATKA – The St. Johns River Water Management District's website provides easy access to flooding information and other resources that can help before, during and after severe storms. Hurricane season officially begins June 1.

The web pages (floridaswater.com/storm) include links to flood statements and warnings, river stage and flooding data, and local government emergency contacts. Also included are links to the National Weather Service, Florida Division of Emergency Management and the U.S. Geological Survey's interactive map of current conditions in the state.

Florida's many waterways and extensive coastline make the state especially vulnerable to floods. When hurricanes and other storms bring high volumes of rain in short periods of time, flooding can result. Partnerships between the public and government entities are necessary to minimize flooding impacts, protect personal property and assist flood victims during and after storms.

The District works closely with local governments year-round to develop improved flood management plans and to help communities establish and implement strategies to deal with floods once they occur. Local governments are the primary entities responsible for emergency responses during storms, such as implementing state-of-emergency declarations, evacuations and rescue efforts during flood-related disasters.

In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, the District assists local governments by issuing emergency orders that allow for the pumping of water to alleviate flooding when public health and safety are at risk. The District also issues emergency orders to authorize repair, replacement or restoration of public and private property.

To prepare for hurricane season, which officially runs through Nov. 30, property owners can protect themselves and their property by:

• Keeping debris out of storm drains and ditches
• Reporting clogged ditches to local governments
• Cleaning out gutters and extending downspouts at least four feet from structures
• Building up the ground around the home to promote drainage away from the foundation
• Obtaining flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program

Source: St. Johns River Water Management District news release