Flooding can occur anywhere in the United States, from coast to coast, any time of the year, and causes more damage than any other type of natural disaster. Flooding obviously occurs around lakes and rivers, but flash flooding can come from heavy downpours and runoff, backed up storm drains, or a break in a dam or levee in a matter of minutes, anywhere, anytime.
Flood alerts are issued by the National Weather Service to your local weather stations.
Flood Watch: This means that weather conditions have or will create a risk of flooding.
Flood Warning: This warning means flooding has or is occurring.
Flash Flood: A sudden and violent flooding after heavy rain, or dam break.
Flooding and heavy downpours can cause trees to fall on power lines causing outages. Flooded roadways can block access to damaged power lines, so it may take crews some time to get there.
STAY AWAY FROM DOWNED POWER LINES
Water is a conductor of electricity, and you could get electrocuted. If you are trapped in your car from a fallen power line, DO NOT EXIT THE VEHICLE. Wait for police, fire and the utility company to make sure the line is not hot and it is safe to exit your vehicle. By stepping out of your vehicle, your body makes the connection with the ground and the electricity will travel through you to reach the ground.
You have heard the phrase “Turn Around, Don’t Drown!” Makes sense as you really don’t know how deep and fast that water is. If you are driving into water covering the road, it may be damaged or washed out underneath and you can’t see it. More than half of all people killed in floods were in their vehicles. It only takes 18 inches of water to lift up your car or SUV.
Do not walk or swim in flooded areas, you can get hurt by debris you don’t see under the water.
Have a Plan
Minimize damage to electrical equipment and move them off the floor to a table or second floor. Turn off electricity at the main breaker if water is rising near your home. Do not attempt to turn off the main power switch if the basement or 1st floor is flooded. Contact us to disconnect your power at the pole. Stay clear of anything that can conduct electricity such as anything metal like ladders or pipes, and even wet wood. Do not use any electrical appliances if you have flooding in your home.
If you must evacuate, be ready to go immediately. Floods can happen in just minutes and sometimes without warning.
Supplies that you should keep ready for an immediate evacuation:
- Weather Radio with battery backup
- Cell Phone
- First Aid Kit
- A plan for your pets
- A planned evacuation route and an alternate route
- A full tank of gas in your vehicle – you may get stuck in traffic and/or many stations may be closed because of the flooding.
- Emergency Cash – ATM’s and banks may be closed or offline because of flooding and power outages.
You may have to leave for a few days until waters recede, so you may also need these items:
- Change of clothing, extra shoes, and toiletries
- Important papers such as insurance, or lease agreements
- Any necessary medications, glasses
Keep these items stored in a plastic container so they will be ready at a moment’s notice if you need to evacuate.