Seasonal Flooding

Are You Ready for a Flood or a Flash Flood?

Know what to expect

  •     Know your area’s flood risk—if unsure, call your local Red Cross chapter, emergency management office, or planning and  zoning department.
  •     If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
  •     Listen to local radio or TV stations for flood information.

Reduce potential flood damage by—

  •     Raising your furnace, water heater, and electric panel if they are in areas of your home that may be flooded.
  •     Consult with a professional for further information if this and other damage reduction measures can be taken.

Floods can take several hours to days to develop—

  •     A flood WATCH means a flood is possible in your area.
  •     A flood WARNING means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.

Flash floods can take only a few minutes to a few hours to develop—

  •     A flash flood WATCH means flash flooding is possible in your area.
  •     A flash flood WARNING means a flash flood is occurring or will occur very soon.

 Prepare a Family Disaster Plan

Check to see if you have insurance that covers flooding. If not, find out how to get flood insurance.

Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe deposit box.

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit containing—

  •     First aid kit and essential medications.
  •     Canned food and can opener.
  •     At least three gallons of water per person.
  •     Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
  •     Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  •     Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
  •     Written instructions for how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you’ll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)

Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places . . . a friend’s home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.

When a flood WATCH is issued—

  •     Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
  •     Fill your car’s gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued.

When a flood WARNING is issued—

  •     Listen to local radio and TV stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.


When a flash flood WATCH is issued—

  •     Be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice.

When a flash flood WARNING is issued—

  •     Or if you think it has already started, evacuate immediately. You may have only seconds to escape. Act quickly!
  •     Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades . . . they are there for your safety.
  •     If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.