During a Flood

Picture of a family moving

Know the Terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a flood hazard:

Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune into NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

If a flood is likely in your area you should:

  • Listen to the radio or television for information.
  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.

If you must prepare to evacuate, you should:

  • Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Families should use only one vehicle to avoid getting separated and reduce traffic jams.
Picture of a family moving

Turn Around Don’t Drown

The Centers for Disease Control report that over half of flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is do to walking into or near flood waters. The reason that so many people drown during flooding is because few of them realize the incredible power of water.

  • A mere six inches of flood water can knock over an adult. Do not walk through moving water. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups. Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.