ALPHARETTA, Ga. – When massive storms dump snow accumulations taller than the average person, all of that snowmelt has to go somewhere. Officials in Buffalo, N.Y., anticipate potential floodwaters following the seven feet of snow that fell on some parts of the city through Nov. 21.
Cities across the Northeast are facing similar flood scenarios and the prospect of even more snow. The polar blast, generated by a pacific storm that curved north into the Arctic pushing a cold front, brought freezing temperatures and snowfall to parts of all 48 contiguous states. The New York snow event has also been responsible for 12 weather-related fatalities.
Fritz Wilson, executive director for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) at the North American Mission Board, expects state SBDR teams to handle most of the flood recovery and mudout work generated by the storm. The SBDR team at NAMB is closely monitoring developments.
“The potential for flooding is high in the affected areas that have received from five to seven feet of snow,” said Wilson. “The strength of the Disaster Relief network and the preparation of state organizations like New York and others give us optimism that our state partners will be able to respond to possible flooding.” Wilson said depending on the nature of the event, New York could request assistance from states in the Northeast, but he does not anticipate that this event will call for a national response.
The National Weather Service (NWS) had multiple lake-effect snow warnings in New York, all set to expire Nov. 21. The NWS issued a flood watch for the most heavily affected areas that will not expire until Nov. 26. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, snowmelt typically generates a 10:1 ratio in water accumulation. In the case of the area around Buffalo, seven feet of melting snow would produce almost a foot of water.
Those wishing to donate to SBDR relief can contact the Baptist convention in their state or visithttps://donations.namb.net/dr-donations. For phone donations, call 1-866-407-NAMB (6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Designate checks for “Disaster Relief.”
NAMB coordinates and manages Southern Baptist responses to major disasters through partnerships with 42 state Baptist conventions, most of which have their own state Disaster Relief ministries.
Southern Baptists have 65,000 trained volunteers—including chaplains—and 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chainsaw, mud-out, command, communication, childcare, shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild and power generation. SBDR is one of the three largest mobilizers of trained Disaster Relief volunteers in the United States, along with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.