Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in the United States. Conditions that cause floods include intense rain for several hours or days that saturates the ground. During periods of intense rain streams, creek beds and drains can overflow and cause floods.
The National Weather Service defines the various types of floods as:
- Flash Flood Warning — Take Action. A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood-prone area, you immediately should move to higher ground.
- Flood Warning — Take Action. A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already occurring.
- Flood Watch — Be Prepared. This indicates conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. If a Flood Watch is issued, it does not mean flooding will occur — but it is possible.
- Flood Advisory — Be Aware. A Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. This is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. Still, caution should be exercised.
It is important to be prepared for a flood, especially when you live in a flood-prone area. Following are some helpful suggestions:
- If you live in a flood-prone area, you may want to consider making permanent changes to your home — such as constructing retaining walls and raising your furnace and electrical panel above potential flood levels.
- Put together an emergency supply kit.
- Many homeowners’ policies do not cover flood damage, so you may want to consider getting flood insurance.
- During potential flooding you may be asked to evacuate. You should make a list in advance of those items you would take with you in the event of an evacuation, including keys, photos, a copy of your insurance policies, credit cards, money, phone charger, prescriptions and pet supplies.
- Clear debris from roof gutters, downspouts and drains so water can flow and drain properly.
- Have sandbags ready, along with other materials (including tarps and plywood).
- Check your roof for possible leaks.