Even the casual local observer has to be more than a little impressed with the work being done by the folks in the county's Emergency Management Department. Be it severe storm warnings or high heat and humidity warnings (which was today's alert, by the way), or the response to conditions caused by the forces of nature, it feels as if our little slice of the Mohawk Valley is more connected and in tune than it has been before.
A pat on the back has definitely been earned by those keeping an eye to the sky and an ear to the ground. And an umbrella by the door.
The fickle, and by "fickle" we mean "life-threatening," thunderstorms that have become the norm during the past few summers are cause for alarm. Our emergency management team keeps us up to date with information posted on the Internet and through the local media. These caution flags have proven helpful on more than one occasion as recently as, well, today.
And speaking of today, there is an opportunity for those of us who live in the flood plain to learn more about our properties and our risks.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will hold an open house this afternoon and evening to discuss with county residents their new emergency flood plain maps.
Residents who live in a flood zone are encouraged to attend in the county annex building in Fonda between 4 and 8 p.m. Officials will be on hand to discuss the new Montgomery County Digital Flood Insurance Map and the National Flood Insurance Program.
The local map project is part of a nationwide effort to update the county's flood hazard maps. County residents and businesses now have the ability to make more informed decisions by having up-to-date, reliable, Internet-accessible information about their flood risk on a property-by-property basis. The maps will also help local officials, engineers and planners determine where and how new structures and developments should be built to maximize safety.
The public can stop in and discuss the maps, learn how to read them, learn about building standards, insurance ratings and premiums and discuss continued flood mitigation efforts. Also, any member of the public can access the mapping system online at www.rampp-team.com/ny.htm.
We hope those of you who do take advantage of this informational opportunity also take a minute to thank the folks who are working hard every day for our safety. The unpredictability of the weather has found some balance in the reliability of our emergency team.