General River Flooding
General River Flooding occurs after long-term heavy rain, snow melt or a combination of the two. It usually occurs slowly, allowing more time to move people and property to safety.
Flash Flooding is always life threatening and occurs very quickly. Flash flooding typically occurs in hilly or mountainous areas, but can occur anywhere when heavy rain falls in a short amount of time. Flash flooding can also be caused by a dam failure.
Urban & Small Stream Flooding
Urban and Small Stream Flooding is a more subtle flood threat. It can occur when heavy rain falls in an urban or rural area, resulting in flooding streets, underpasses or drainage ditches in an urban area, or creeks in rural areas. It is not normally a threat unless motorists drive through the flooded road or children play in flooded drainage ditches. Small stream flooding can be hazardous if persons get too close to a swollen creek.
Be Prepared Before the Flood
- Buy flood insurance, most homeowner policies do not cover flood damage. For more information on flood insurance visit the National Flood Insurance Program website.
- Learn the safest route to high, safe ground in case you must evacuate your home or place of business.
- Make an itemized list of personal property. Photographs of your home, inside and out, are helpful.
- Move valuable papers, furniture, clothing and possessions to upper floors or higher elevations.
- Sandbags should not be stacked directly against the outer walls of a building. When wet, the bags may create added pressure on the foundation.
Actions to Take During the Flood
- Be prepared to evacuate before the water level reaches your property.
- Do not drive where the water is over the road. Even though the water might look only inches deep, it could be much deeper, the road may be washed out and the current might be strong. Cars, trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles are susceptible to being swept away by high water. If you are in a vehicle and water starts rising, get out and move to higher ground.
- Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area and you are standing on a piece of wood while wearing rubber gloves and rubber soled boots or shoes.
- Try to avoid flooded areas and do not attempt to walk through floodwaters that are more than knee deep or swiftly moving.
After the Flood
- Prior to entering a building, check for structural damage. Upon entering the building, do not use open flame as a source of light since gas may still be trapped inside; a battery-operated flashlight is ideal. Watch for electrical shorts or live wires before making certain that the main power switch is turned off. Have your well/cistern tested to insure your water supply is safe. Watch for animals that may have taken shelter in your home during the flood.
- If your home, apartment or business has suffered flood damage, immediately call the agent or broker who handles your flood insurance policy.