Floods are one of the most frequent and expensive natural disasters that can occur in any region of the country. Flooding can occur when there is a substantial amount of standing water in an area. According to the National Weather Service, there are four types of flood warnings.
Flash Flood Warning
Issued when a flash flood is impending or occurring. A flash flood is a sudden flood appearing almost out of nowhere.
Similar to a flash flood warning, but one has time to prepare to get to higher and dryer ground.
Flood Watch Warning
This type of warning is issued when the weather has flooding characteristics.
Flood Advisory Warning
If ever you’re in a place with a flood warning, this is the type you want. A flood advisory is issued when flooding is not expected but the weather may cause inconvenience to people.
It’s important to follow the safety tips below in case you are in an area with severe and dangerous flooding.
Before a flood, keep certain items on hand at all times in your home and/or office:
- Three day supply (at least) of food
- Three day supply (at least) of water
- First aid kit and medication
- Extra batteries
- Radio (battery powered or hand crank)
- Extra cash
- Copies of personal documents
- Extra blankets
- Extra cell phone charger units
- Emergency contact information
- Be sure to replenish after you have used the supplies
How to respond during a flood:
- Head for higher ground if there are flood/flash flood warnings
- Be prepared to evacuate
- Stay on top of weather and news updates
- If you have time, unplug all appliances and disconnect the utilities
- Do not get near floodwater. If you’re driving, turn around and go another direction. If you can’t do that, abandon your car as it can easily get swept up in a flood.
After a flood:
- Return home only when the area has been declared safe
- Continue to stay tuned to your local news station for updates
- Update your friends and family so they know you are safe
- Continue to avoid flood water as best as possible as water can become contaminated
- If you smell gas upon entering your home, call the fire department immediately
- Wear protective clothing while cleaning up
- Make sure your electrical system has been turned off
- Throw out any items that have come in contact with contaminated water
The Red Cross organization (among others) host disaster preparedness classes. Learn more here.