Where It Rains, It Can Flood

It’s raining today. The forecast says we could receive 1 1/2 to 2 inches of rain in our area. This is a good time to talk about the power of water, potential for flooding, and steps to take if a flash flood is issued. Some floods develop slowly, while others such as flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain.

Truck driving on flooded street

Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. Where it rains, it can flood. Flood risk isn’t just based on history, it’s based on a number of factors including rainfall, river-flow, topography, flood-control measures, and changes due to building and development.

  • Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.
  • Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or a sudden release of water held by an ice jam. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water carrying rocks, mud and other debris. They move at incredible speed, roll boulders, tear out trees, and destroy buildings, roads, and bridges. Walls of water can reach 10 to 20 feet in height very quickly and without warning.
  • If a flash flood warning is issued for your area or when you first realize that a flash flood is imminent, act quickly to save yourself. If advised to evacuate, do so  immediately…you may have only seconds. If you see rising water or a flash flood warning is issued, go to higher ground immediately! Follow evacuation instructions, but don’t wait for them if you think you are in danger.
    • Go to high ground immediately.
    • Leave canyons, valleys, and other low-lying areas. Go to high ground immediately!
    • Do not try to cross a flowing stream on foot. You can be pushed over by flowing water only six inches deep!
    • Do not drive through flooded areas. Flood water can wash a vehicle from the roadway and the road under the water may no longer be intact. If you are driving, watch for flooded bridges and low areas in the road.
    • NEVER drive through water if you don’t know how deep it is. Your vehicle can be swept away by flowing water only a foot or two deep. Be especially cautious at night when flood waters are difficult to see.car in flood
    • If your vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. Rising flood water may engulf and sweep it away.
    • Choose campsites away from creeks and other low-lying areas. Do not place your vehicle, camper, or tent along streams, creeks, or washes, particularly during threatening weather or where your only exit crosses a stream.
    • When water threatens your campsite, leave immediately. Do not attempt to save your camper, tent, clothing, or other personal belongings.

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