Deadman Brook, which regularly overflows during heavy storms, flooded Violet Lane during a nor’easter last October. / File photo

WESTPORT — It’s not common knowledge that this week, March 14-18, is “Flood Safety Awareness Week.”

But its message should be one of common concern, according to Westport’s fire chief.

“Severe weather and flooding can happen at any time and Westport has experienced flooding events, including flash flooding, over the past couple of years,” Fire Chief Michael Kronick said in a message issued in conjunction with the observance.

“It is important that Westport residents stay ‘weather alert’ and prepare for potential sudden flooding and unexpected acts of Mother Nature,” Kronick said.

Occupants rescued after this car was inundated and sank in flood waters. / Photo, Westport Fire Department

Westport has periodically been struck by flood conditions during storms over the last several years, ranging from coastal flooding in low-lying shoreline areas to neighborhoods along Deadman Creek and in downtown when the Saugatuck River overflows its banks.

Flooding, which takes place on a near-daily basis across the U.S., according to the message, causes more damage than any other weather-related event — causing nearly 100 fatalities and roughly $8 billion in damages.

Recent projections about the impact of climate change on weather patterns, according to the statement, will bring greater frequency and severity of heavy rainfall over the rest of the century, so certainly the flooding looms as an even greater hazard in the future.

Kronick offered these flood-safety tips, a compilation of advice from the Westport Emergency Management Team, the Federal Emergency Management Association and the National Weather Service:

  • When driving, turn around, don’t drown if confronted with rising waters.
  • It is never safe to drive or walk into flood waters.
  • Heed all warning signs.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of water.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings when driving.
  • Use extra caution when driving or walking at night in storm conditions.
Car marooned in downtown flooding. / Photo, Westport Fire Department