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Posted on: May 15, 2019

High Water Mark Signs in York

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High Water Mark signs were put up in four locations around Town in an effort to increase community awareness around flood risk.  The Maine Silver Jackets High Water Mark Initiative is a project coordinated with FEMA, ACOE, DEP, NOAA, and the City of Portland.  

These HWM signs emphasize how high the water has risen during major floods and encourages community actions to reduce their risk.  Town of York will unveil the HWM sign at the Town Dock on May 17, 2018 at 1:00 pm and will also announce supporting outreach and mitigation efforts as part of their participation in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s High-Water Mark Initiative.

Floods are the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States.  Over the life of a typical 30-year mortgage, home and businesses in high-risk areas have a 26 percent or greater chance of flooding, 2 ½ times greater that the chance of fire.  But residents and businesses often take few, if any, steps to protect themselves from these potentially devastating events, opting instead to trust that, “It won’t happen here.”

“Our hope with these high-water marks is that residents will seriously consider how a major flood could impact them and take at least one new step to protect themselves or their homes,” says Amber Harrison and Leslie Hinz.  “Whether it’s making an emergency plan, preparing a supply kit, or safeguarding valuable information in waterproof containers, there are low-cost and even no-cost ways to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our property from floods.”

In February 1978, the “Blizzard of 1978” caused unprecedented flooding that resulted in over $20 million of damage to public and private infrastructure in the State due to coastal flooding, tidal surge, and high winds (Data source:  State Hazard Mitigation Plan).  While the impact of the flooding was devastating, the lessons learned from it have dulled in local memory.  The community is being proactive and reminding the public of the community’s history and potential for flooding and of the simple steps they can take to protect themselves should it happen again.

“We are also providing essential educational opportunities and outreach, but most importantly, enhancing the public’s awareness surrounding future flood risks” notes Harrison and Hinz.   “These key components will further achieve the overall goals in becoming a safer more resilient York.  The Town has already committed to improving stormwater drainage by installing tide flex valves along Long Beach Avenue and a new sea wall, along with flood outreach and education efforts which resulted in a Town-wide savings on Flood Insurance.”

"We are excited to a part of the multi-agency partnership and work towards the common goal of flood risk management. Silver Jackets teams in states across the United States bring together multiple state, federal, and sometimes tribal and local agencies to learn from one another in reducing flood risk and other natural disasters", said Brian Balukonis, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District Silver Jackets Coordinator. "We are proud to work with the state lead Maine Silver Jackets Team and the Town of York to develop the High Water Mark Initiative project to raise the awareness of flooding along the Coast line."
For more information on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s High Water Mark Initiative, please visit www.fema.gov/high-water-mark-initiative and www.yorkmaine.org/floodinformation


High Water Mark Initiative
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