Flash Flooding is the one of the leading causes of death weather related killer in the United States. Over 200 flood-related fatalities are reported each year with over half being vehicle-related when people try to drive through floodwaters.
Flash flooding can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure. Most flash flooding is caused by slow-moving thunderstorms repeatedly moving over the same area.
Flash flooding generally affects low lying areas near creeks, streams and rivers. When the ground is saturated or frozen it is unable to absorb the intense rainfall; thus it spreads out over the ground. It rises quickly, but also recedes quickly once the rain has let up or stops.
The rules for Flood safety are simple:
Know your environment and if you are prone to flash flooding.
When a flash flood Watch is issued, be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice, if you are in a flash flood prone area.
When a flash flood Warning is issued for your area, or the moment you realize that a flash flood is imminent, act quickly to save yourself. You may only have seconds!
Know your evacuation routes. Plan ahead where you could stay when flooding threatens your home.
Head for higher ground and stay away from flood waters.
Assemble a disaster supplies kit and include rubber boots, rubber gloves and other essential items.
Listen to: NOAA Weather radio or local radio and television
Be prepared for the possible disruption of services for extended periods of time,
including electric, phone and local food and water sources.
Prepare an emergency kit:
Food, water and necessities for all members of the family to last 3 to 5 days
Any medications needed for family members
First aid kit, battery powered radio, flashlight with extra batteries
Sleeping bags or blankets, and extra clothing
Important family documents (e.g., insurance policies, emergency contact numbers)
Water-purifying supplies (e.g., chlorine tablets, or unscented, household chlorine bleach)
Know how you will contact each other if you are in separate locations or establish a location to meet.
Have an out-of-state relative or friend serve as the family contact person.
Learn the evacuation routes and locations of emergency shelters in your area.
Gather your emergency supplies.
Listen to the radio or television for situation developments, evacuation instructions and routes, and road closures.
Never ignore an evacuation order for the safety of you and your family.
If you have time,
Disconnect electrical appliances to prevent electrical shock when power is restored.
Turn off the gas, electricity and water as the main switches or valves.
Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
Follow evacuation routes; expect heavy traffic.
Water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage, harmful bacteria or electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
Do not walk through moving water.
If water is above your ankles, turn around and go another way; as little as 6 inches of water can sweep you off your feet.
Do not drive in flooded areas.
Most flood-associated deaths are related to vehicle incidents.
As little as six inches of water will cause loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float most vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.
If flood waters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground.
Only return home after officials have declared the area safe.
Wear protective clothing, (rubber gloves, boots).
Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, or make ice.
Use caution with gas powered equipment – dangerous carbon monoxide can be generated.
Be aware of hazards that may cause injury to you or others cleaning up, (e.g., chain saws, pressure washers, electrical or chemical hazards, heat exposure).
Prevent and treat injuries.
Exposure to floodwaters in cold weather can lead to hypothermia.
Extreme heat can lead to heat stress or exhaustion.
Take precautions to minimize insect exposures.
Prevent an Illness
Wash hand frequently – especially after contacting flood water or contaminated items.
Use clean, boiled or disinfected water; if no water is available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be used.
Food and water safety.
Throw away any food that may have come in contact with flood water.
Throw away perishable foods that have been unrefrigerated for 2 or more hours.
When in doubt, throw it out!
Use safe water (e.g., bottled, boiled or treated) for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene.
Wells may be contaminated following floods.
Boil or treat water for drinking and cooking until authorities tell you that your water supply is safe-