Rain & Floods
Widespread torrential rains, often in excess of 10 inches, can produce destructive floods. This is a major threat to low lying areas that are prone to flooding. Rainfall is generally heaviest with slower moving storms (less than 10 mph).
The heavy rains will cause flooding in low-lying areas, creeks, streams and road run-off areas. Compounded with debris that clogs drainage, roadways can remain flooded for many hours, or even days.
Never try to cross a flooded roadway. Flooded roads are subject to erosion and damage. While it may look perfectly safe, there could be hidden holes which will trap your car and you.
During heavy rains, keep an eye out for any signs of flash flooding. If there is any sign, move to higher ground, do not wait for a Flash Flood Watch or Warning...that may be too late. If you are in a an area that is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate and seek shelter elsewhere. Listen closely to your local radio or television station for any instructions. When local authorities release a Flood Warning, fill your bathtub with water to insure an uncontaminated water supply in the event services are interrupted. Prepare your home with whatever you feel necessary, such as sandbags. If you do use sandbags (PDF), do not stack them against the structure as this could cause more damage than it would prevent. Stack the sandbags (PDF) away from the structure, thus keeping the water from reaching it.
If you are advised to evacuate and have time, follow these simple guidelines:
- Secure your home before leaving. Time permitting, bring in all loose outdoor items or tie them down securely. Move all essential items and furniture to the top floors of your home. Lock all doors and windows.
- If told to do so by local authorities, turn off all utilities at the main switch or valve. Disconnect electrical appliances, but only if you and the area you are in is still dry.
- Insure your vehicle gas tanks are full and follow evacuation routes (some side roads may already be blocked).
- Leave early! Be alert for any water damaged or covered roadways.
- Tell someone where you are going.
Travel during heavy rains or flooding can be extremely dangerous, but sometimes necessary. If you must travel, do not drive into flooded areas. If flood waters begin to rise around your vehicle, abandon it immediately and quickly move to higher ground. Your vehicle may be swept away as the flood waters continue to rise. Watch for any type of flood damage, such as mud slides, broken water mains and fallen electrical wires. Try to take a route that steers clear of streams, drainage ditches and other areas known to flood. Never swim or dive into flood waters -- the current is strong and deadly.
What you need to know about Sandbags (PDF).