Flood Warnings & Safety
WATCH VS. WARNING
A flash flood watch means flash flooding is possible within the watch area. A flash flood warning means flash flooding is imminent or has been reported in the warning area.
No one can stop a flood, but there are many things you can do before, during, and after a storm to protect your family and keep property damage to a minimum.
- Prepare for a flood.
- Know your flood risk. Find your property on the City's GIS Application or FEMA's National Flood Hazard Layer.
- Make a plan. Protect your family and yourself.
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, battery-powered radio, and emergency supply of water and food, and first aid supplies.
- Consider buying flood insurance. Visit floodsmart.gov to find a local insurance agent.
- Take steps to stay informed. Stay tuned to your phone alerts, TV, or radio for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders.
- Know what the difference is between a flood warning vs. watch.
- Turn Around, Don't Drown. Avoid walking or driving through flood waters, just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and 2 feet of water can sweep a vehicle away.
- If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground. Flash floods are the #1 cause of weather-related deaths in the US.
- If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. If the water is moving, do not leave the car.
- Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
- Know your evacuation routes and shelter locations.
- Be cautious and patient.
- Know the first steps to take.
- Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
- Turn off the main electrical power and water systems off until you or a professional can ensure that they are safe. NEVER turn the power on or off, or use an electrical tool or appliance while in standing in water.
- Avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines. Electrical current can travel through water and the second leading cause of flood deaths is electrocution.
- Do not attempt to drive through areas that are still flooded.
- Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don't smoke or use candles, lanterns or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.
- Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.
- Begin repairs to your home.
Disasters Don't Plan. You Can.
There are multiple resources to use to prepare for a flood.
FEMA Flood Protection Library
- Above the Flood: Elevating Your Floodprone House, FEMA-347 (2000)
- Answers to Questions About the National Flood Insurance Program, F-084 (2011)
- Elevated Residential Structures, FEMA-54 (1984)
- Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards, FEMA P-85 (2009)
- Protecting Building Utilities From Flood Damage, FEMA-P-348, Edition 2 (2017)
- Protecting Floodplain Resources, FEMA-268 (1996)
- Reducing Damage from Localized Flooding, FEMA 551 (2005)
- Repairing Your Flooded Home, FEMA P-234 (2010)