Floods can happen wherever it rains. Floods can happen anywhere, even if your home lies in an area at low risk of flooding. Learn the difference in a Flood Warning and a Flood Watch, and what you should do to prepare yourself and your family.

Flood Warnings, Flood Watches

Flood Watch means flooding in the vicinity is possible. Flood Warnings are warnings that floods may be occurring and must be addressed to prevent injuries and property damage. Flash Flood Warnings or Flash Flood Watches may also be displayed. These are flash flood warnings that indicate severe flooding due to heavy rains.

Before a Flood

The following steps will protect your property regardless of where it is located.

  • Prepare a Safety Kit.
  • Apply waterproofing compound to basement walls.
  • Your furnace, electric panel, water heater and electric panel can all be elevated.
  • Make barriers to prevent floodwaters from entering your home.
  • Talk to an agent about your insurance policy. Ask if you have any questions.

During a flooding

If you have the time to prepare and a flood is coming, you can take these steps in order to protect your home.

  • Turn off all utilities and unplug electric appliances. Don’t touch the electric equipment while you are standing or in water.
  • Place important items on an upper level. Move outdoor furniture indoors to another level.
  • You should not park your car next to bodies of water.

Safety is your number one priority if flooding is already taking place.

  • If advised to evacuate immediately
  • Listen to the radio, television, or both for weather information and alerts.
  • Move to higher ground.
  • Do not walk through moving water.
  • Turn Around, Don’t Sink(r),.
  • If water is rising from your vehicle during driving, it is best to stop and move to higher ground. If your vehicle is caught in moving water, you should stay inside. If water rises inside your vehicle, get out onto the roof.
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People underestimate the potential damage floodwaters can cause. You can fall from as little as 6 inches of moving floodwater, and most vehicles can be swept away by two feet of water, even SUVs and trucks.

For more information, visit Prepare.gov.

To help you, make sure to print a copy American Red Cross Flood Safety Checklist.

After a Flood

Even after a flood recedes, there are still dangers. Consider the following:

  • If you are home, listen out for alerts from the local authorities to get information and advice.
  • If you were asked to evacuate, please do not return home until emergency officials have given permission.
  • If emergency officials request assistance, stay clear of damaged areas.
  • Move around in still water or moving water. Floodwaters might be contaminated by gasoline or oil. Underground power lines or fallen power lines may cause still water to become electrically charged.
  • Avoid any building that is inundated by floodwaters.
  • It is forbidden to use a generator or other fuel-powered machine inside the house.

To aid you in the cleanup process, print or save the American Red Cross Remodeling Your Flooded Property.

After a severe storm strikes, disaster relief assistance may be available. Learn more about disaster aid in our Wetter Resources area.