Floods

Floods

Car and house covered with water from a flood

Flooding happens during heavy rains, when rivers overflow, when ocean waves come onshore, when snow melts too fast, or when dams or levees break. This is the most common natural-weather event. Flooding may be only a few inches of water or it may cover a house to the rooftop. Floods that happen very quickly are called flash floods.

Visit the FEMA library to learn more about floods

Am I at risk?

Floods can occur in every single U.S. state. Some floods develop slowly, and some can build in just a few minutes. People who live in low-lying areas – near water or behind a levee or dam – are at even greater risk.

Before

  • Build an emergency kit.
  • Make a family communications plan.
  • Tell an adult if you hear a flood warning on the TV or radio.

During

  • Listen to authorities and safety officials.
  • If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move  immediately to higher ground. 
  • Help your family move important items to an upper floor. 
  • Do not walk through moving water. Even 6” of water can make you fall.

After

  • Stay away from flood water. It could be contaminated, meaning contain dangerous substances.
  • Stay away from moving water. It can knock you off your feet.
  • Stay out of the way of emergency workers so they can do their job easily.

 

Words to Know!

Flood Watch

A message that flooding is possible and to listen to local radio or TV news and weather for more information

Flood Warning

A message that flooding will occur soon, if it hasn’t already, and to move to higher ground or evacuate immediately

Flash Flood

A flood that can happen within minutes or hours of heavy rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or city drains overflowing

Levee/Dam

A manmade structure to contain or prevent water from moving