Hazards: Flooding


flooding icon

Flooding is the nation's most common natural disaster.

Be prepared for flooding no matter where you live, but particularly if you are in a low-lying area, near water, downstream from a dam or other areas known to flood in previous storms.

Even a very small stream or dry creek bed can overflow and create flooding.

What to Do

Move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.

Always stay away from floodwaters.

  • Even six inches of swiftly moving water can knock someone off their feet.
    • If you must walk in water, walk where water is not moving; use a stick to check the ground.
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels 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.
  • Keep your children inside and away from streams and creeks.

 Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of electric shock or electrocution

Do not drive on flooded roads – "turn around, don’t drown."

  • Stop and take an alternate route. The depth, current and condition of the road are all unknowns and can be deadly.
  • If your vehicle stalls on a flooded road and water is rising, get out of the car, call 9-1-1 and move to higher ground.
  • Approximately two feet of swift water can move or float most vehicles, including SUV’s and pickup trucks.
  • Be especially cautious during periods of limited visibility or nighttime when it is extremely difficult to see and judge conditions -- state law requires headlights when wipers are on.
  • Keep your vehicle parked in your garage or on the driveway away from low-lying areas and large drains.

Flood Terms

Flood Watch

A flood watch or flash flood watch means there is a possibility of flooding or a flash flood in your area.

Flood Warning

A flood warning means a flood is occurring or will likely occur soon. If you are advised to evacuate do so immediately.

Flash Flood Warning

A flash flood warning means a flash flood is occurring. Seek higher ground immediately; do not wait for instructions


Related Information



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