Flooding can occur near any stream, river or other waterway. Flooding can also occur in any low-lying areas if the amount of rainfall and runoff exceeds the capacity of the storm drain system or ditch.
TIP: Never walk in floodwaters. Six inches of water can sweep you off your feet and cause loss of control or stalling of most passenger vehicles.
Flood Watch - A watch is used when forecasters believe it is likely that hazardous weather will occur, but are still unsure about its location and/or timing. A watch is issued to give people time to prepare for the event.
Flood Warning - A warning is used when forecasters believe that hazardous weather is imminent or very likely to occur. A warning is used for conditions that would threaten lives or property.
Preparing for a Flood
- Find out if you live in a flood zone by visiting https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home.
- Consider purchasing flood insurance for your home. Flood damage and loss is not covered under a homeowner's policy.
- If a flood were to occur, think about how you would keep water from getting in your home.
- Keep a battery-operated weather radio on hand in case the power goes out.
- Consider keeping filled sandbags on hand. Sandbags are available at most farm and home-improvement stores.
If Flooding is Imminent
- Listen to the radio or TV, or check the internet at www.wrh.noaa.gov for watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service.
- Move important items and papers to a safe place in your home, or seal them in plastic reusable bags to help protect them. These items/documents should be stored in your Grab-n-Go Binder or your Evac Box.
- If you plan to stay in your home, check your supply of stored water and food, and other items such as flashlights, batteries and important medications. In an event like this, your 2 Weeks Ready supplies should sustain you until the threat has passed.
- If you need to leave your home, follow your evacuation plan and take your Grab-n-Go Binder, Evac Box, Bug-Out Bag and Pet Kit, if applicable. Call 511 or visit www.tripcheck.com to verify road conditions on your evacuation route are safe for travel.
During a Flood
- The safety of your family is the most important consideration. If you think the flood may reach your home, evacuate immediately. If time permits, turn off utilities (gas, water and electricity) at the main switch or valve.
- Secure outdoor equipment, furniture and other moveable objects that might be swept away.
- Do not allow children or animals to play in floodwaters. Floodwaters are often contaminated with sewage and flood-related chemical spills.
- Listen for information from the health department about the safety of drinking water. If there is a problem with wells or public drinking water, the health department will provide instructions for boiling water before drinking it or suggest you use bottled water.
- Never go around safety barricades set up in the road! Flood waters can conceal dangerous debris and places where roadways and bridges have been washed out.
TIP: Two feet of water can float a car! Do not drive through floodwaters!
Sandbags - F.A.Q.
The use of sandbags is a simple, but effective way to prevent or reduce flood water damage. Properly filled and placed sandbags can act as a barrier to divert moving water around, instead of through, buildings.