Flooding

Things You Should Know About Flooding

Floodwaters can be extremely dangerous. The force of just a few inches of swiftly moving water can knock people off their feet. The best protection during a flood is to leave the area and go to shelter on higher ground.

Cars can be easily swept away in fast moving floodwater. Never drive through any amount of floodwater. If you cant see the lines on the street, its too dangerous to risk trying to cross the intersection or area. Take the extra five minutes and find another route.

Flash flood waters move at very fast speeds and can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings, and obliterate bridges. Walls of water can reach heights of 10 to 20 feet and generally are accompanied by a deadly cargo of debris. The best response to any signs of flash flooding is to move immediately and quickly to higher ground.

Danger Zones

Floods and flash floods occur within all 50 states, and California is no exception. Communities particularly at risk are those located in low-lying areas, near water or downstream from a dam.

What Is A Flood?

Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters -- except fire. Most communities in the United States can experience some kind of flooding after spring rains, heavy thunderstorms or winter snow thaws. Floods can be slow or fast rising, but generally develop over a period of days.

What Is A Flash Flood?

Flash floods usually result from intense storms dropping large amounts of rain within a brief period. Flash floods occur with little or no warning and can reach full peak in only a few minutes.

Help Your Community Get Ready

The media can raise awareness about floods and flash floods by providing important information to the community. Here are some suggestions:

  • Disseminate emergency information, including tips on floods and flash floods. Localize the information by running the phone numbers of local emergency services offices, the American Red Cross and hospitals.
  • Interview county officials and elected leaders about recent flood control projects, land use management and building codes in floodplains.
  • Work with local emergency services and American Red Cross officials to prepare special reports for people with mobility impairments on what to do if an evacuation is ordered.
  • Periodically inform your community of local public warning systems.

Did You Know?

  • During the July 1999 100-year flood, some areas of Clark County recorded as much as an astonishing three inches of rain in a 90-minute period.
  • Since 1982, 18 people have perished in Clark County floods. With every completed flood control improvement, a greater part of the community is protected from the dangers of floodwaters.
  • Individuals and business owners can protect themselves from flood losses by purchasing flood insurance through National Flood Insurance Program. Homeowner's policies do not cover flood damage. Information is available through local insurance agents and emergency management offices.
  • Flooding has caused the deaths of more than 10,000 people since 1900. Property damage from flooding now totals over $1 billion each year in the United States.
  • More than 2,200 lives were lost as a result of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood of 1889. This flood was caused by an upstream dam failure.
  • On July 31, 1976, the Big Thompson River near Denver overflowed after an extremely heavy storm. A wall of water 19 feet high roared down the Big Thompson Canyon where many people were camping. 140 people perished and millions of dollars of property were lost.