Floods are among the frequent and costly natural disasters. Being prepared during a flood or any emergency is your best defense. Floodwaters can rise rapidly and carry enough force to easily sweep people and vehicles off sidewalks and roadways quickly.
Flash Flood vs. Flood
Flash flooding occurs during heavy rain events, happens very quickly, and ends quickly. Only six inches of fast moving water holds enough force to knock over an adult, and only two feet of water will carry away more vehicles.
Flooding occurs as the result of a more prolonged rain event or a lake/creek overflow. It is more gradual, more predictable, and lasts longer. The duration of flooding events may extend longer than 24 hours, perhaps several days.
Flood Safety Tips
- Sign up for emergency weather notifications.
- Listen to area radio or television stations and a NOAA Weather Radio for possible flood warnings or other critical information from the National Weather Service.
- Do not drive through a flooded area. Most people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Do not drive around road barriers.
- Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the No. 1 cause of flood related deaths, mostly during times of rapidly rising water. Six-inches of moving water can sweep you off your feet.
- Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. Report downed power lines to the power company. Have your electricity turned off by the power company.
- Evacuate if needed. If emergency officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home, go immediately to a safe shelter, hotel, or relative’s house. Know your evacuation route. Don’t forget your emergency supplies and first aid kit.
- Never allow children to play around high water, storm drains, ditches, ravines, or concrete culverts. Children are curious and often lack judgement about running or contaminated water.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
- Look before you step. After a flood, the grounds and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails.
Watch vs. Warning
Flooding is possible in a given area.
Flash Flood Watch
Heavy rains and flash flooding are possible. Be ready to move to higher ground immediately.
Flooding is occurring or is imminent. If you are advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Flash Flood Warning
Flash flooding is occurring. Move to higher ground immediately.