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Flood Safety

Know the difference between WATCHES and WARNINGS

Many more WATCHES are issued than WARNINGS. A WATCH is the first sign a flood may occur, and when one is issued, you should be aware of potential flood hazards.

Be aware of flood hazards. Floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels. Floodwaters can reach heights of 10 to 20 feet and often carry a deadly cargo of debris. Flood-producing rains can also trigger catastrophic debris slides.

Regardless of how a flood or flash flood occurs, the rule for being safe is simple: head for higher ground and stay away from flood waters. Even a shallow depth of fast-moving flood water produces more force than most people imagine. The most dangerous thing you can do is to try walking, swimming, or driving through floodwaters. Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles. More people die from floods than any other natural disaster and most of these drown while attempting to drive through flood water. Remember the saying “Turn Around Don’t Drown”

Plan for a Flood

Develop a Family Disaster Plan. Everyone should have an emergency plan in case of flooding or other disasters. Please see the "Family Disaster Plan" section for general family planning information. Develop flood- specific planning. Learn about your area's flood risk and elevation above flood stage. Know your risk of flooding. Contact the Customer Care Center by dialing 311 and ask to speak to a stormwater engineer about your area's flood risk. Knowing the elevation of your property in relation to nearby streams and dams will let you know if forecasted flood levels will affect your home.

If you are at risk from floods:

What to Tell Children

You Can Protect Your Property from Flooding

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit

Flood-specific supplies should include the following:

What to Do Before Flooding Occurs

What to Do During a Flood WATCH

When a flood or flash flood WATCH is issued:

If your residence is in a flood-prone area:

What to Do During a Flood WARNING

When a flood or flash flood WARNING is issued:

Flood Safety

What to Do if You Are Driving During a Flood

What to Do After a Flood or Flash Flood

After returning home: