Flooding Preparedness

Flash floods occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or a sudden release of water held by an ice jam. Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges. Flash floods can also trigger catastrophic mudslides.

Flash floods are the number 1 weather-related killer in the United States.

National Weather Service

Staying current with forecasts from the National Weather Service can be an important part of flood preparedness. Individuals can purchase a NOAA weather radio to directly hear the forecasts, advisories, watches, and/or warnings. Some NOAA weather radios can alarm when there is a serious/dangerous weather condition. These radios are available at many stores.

The following terms may be used by the National Weather service:

  • A Flash Flood or Flood Watch means that flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated watch area.
  • A Flash Flood or Flood Warning means that flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent - take necessary steps at once.
  • An Urban and Small Stream Advisory means that flooding of small streams, streets and low-lying areas (such as railroad underpasses and urban storms drains) is occurring.
  • A Flash Flood or Flood Statement is follow-up information regarding a flash flood/flood event.
  1. Before a Flood
  2. During a Flood
  3. After the Flood

Preparing for a Flood

Find out if you live in a flood prone area. You can check with your local building department to see the flood maps for your municipality. If you are in a flood zone, purchase sufficient flood insurance. Flood losses are not covered under normal homeowner's insurance. Learn how your community would alert you if a flood was occurring or predicted.

Pre-assemble flood-fighting supplies like plastic sheeting, lumber, sandbags. Have check valves installed in building sewer traps to prevent flood waters from backing up in sewer drains.

As a last resort have large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins from water rising up through the pipes.

Flood Kit

Maintain a disaster supply kit at home. A kit will have (at minimum):

  • First aid supplies
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Non-perishable food
  • Drinking water
  • Blanket(s) or sleeping bag(s)
  • Rain gear or a change of clothing

Helpful Documents