Flooding/High Water


During the early spring, frozen land prevents melting snow or rainfall from seeping into the ground. Warmer temperatures and resulting snowmelt can produce large amounts of runoff in a short period of time. The water runs off the surface and flows into lakes, streams, and rivers, causing excess water to spill over their banks. Add seasonal storms to the mix, and the result is often severe spring flooding.

Flash Flooding: A flash flood is a rapid flooding of low-lying areas in less than six hours, which is caused by intense rainfall from a thunderstorm or several thunderstorms. Flash floods can also occur when there are drought-like conditions.

Flash flooding can occur quickly, even when it's not raining at your location. A flash flood is a rapid flooding of low-lying areas in less than six hours. Be safe: TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN.

Never drive your vehicle through flood waters. Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle-related.

Before A Flood

  • Purchase flood insurance. See Flood Insurance for more information. EVERYONE IS ELIGIBLE, whether you live in a designated flood plain or not. Homeowners insurance DOES NOT cover flood damage. Remember: it typically takes 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to go into effect, so get your policy now.
  • Practice your family emergency plan. Plan and practice flood evacuation routes from home, work, and school that are on higher ground.
  • Conduct a thorough home inventory. Thorough documentation of your belongings will help you file your flood insurance claim. For more information, visit Document and Insure Your Property

During A Flood

  • Go to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding, including dips, low spots, washes, etc.
  • Avoid areas already flooded, especially when water flows fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Just six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
  • Never drive through flooded roadways. Roadbeds may be washed out under flood waters and just 18 inches of moving water can float a vehicle.

After A Flood

  • Check for damage. Check for structural damage before re-entering your home. If you suspect damage to water, gas, electric, or sewer lines, contact authorities.
  • Remove wet contents immediately. Wet carpeting, furniture, bedding and any other items holding moisture can develop mold within 24 to 48 hours. Clean and disinfect everything touched by floodwaters.
  • Plan before you repair. Contact your local building inspections or planning office or your county clerk's office to get more information on local building requirements.
  • File your flood insurance claim. Be sure to provide: the name of your insurance company, your policy number, and contact information. Take photos of any water in the house and damaged personal property. Make a detailed list of all damaged or lost items.