Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. The effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.
Some floods develop slowly over a period of days. But flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water that caries rocks, mud, and other debris and can sweep away most things its path. Overland flooding occurs outside a defined river or stream, such as when a levee is breached, but still can be destructive.
To prepare for a flood you should:
- Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
- Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
- Install "check valves" in sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
- Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the building.
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
During a Flood
If a flood is likely in your area, you should
Listen to KCST 106.9 FM or turn on your television.
- 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 rains.
If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
- 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 you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Us a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas.
- If flood waters 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.
The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:
- Listen for news reports to learn whether the community???s water supply is safe to drink.
Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Avoid moving water.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
- Familiarize yourself with these terms:
Flood Watch. This means that flooding is possible.
- Tune into KCST 106.9 FM, your NOAA Weather Radio, or television for more information
Flash Flood Watch. Flash flooding is possible.
- Be prepared to move to higher ground.
- Tune into KCST 106.9 FM, your NOAA Weather Radio, or television for more 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.