Preparing for Floods and Flash Floods

Current weather forecasts are indicating much of Indiana could receive 2″-5″ of rain later this week. With the ground already wet, that rainfall could cause widespread flooding throughout the region. Some simple advance preparation will help you be ready for possible floods in your area.

Know the flood warning system in your community, and be sure your family knows the warning. Instruct them in emergency procedures during a flood warning. If you live in an area subject to frequent or sudden floods, especially flash floods, you may wish to have family flood drills. Assign each family member an emergency task, such as gathering emergency supplies, turning off utilities, monitoring weather websites, or listening to the radio for instructions.

Up-to-date weather advisories and warnings can be accessed at weather.gov.  Clicking on a region, e.g. Central Indiana, will zoom to that location on the map.

The U.S. Geological Survey maintains hundreds of stream monitoring stations throughout the country.  Current streamflow data for Indiana, including projected flooding levels and crests for most waterways, can be found at waterdata.usgs.gov/in/nwis/rt.

Always keep fuel in your car – at least half a tank or enough for 100 miles. If electricity is cut off, gasoline pumps may not operate. Keep on hand three to four days of emergency supplies that might be needed during a flood event. These include items such as a battery-powered radio, flashlights, first-aid supplies, medication, non-perishable foods, and at least one gallon of water per person per day. A detailed “Go-Bag” checklist, along with many other flood-related resources, can be accessed at INPREPared.org.

Take proactive steps to “flood-proof” your home or other buildings. Seal cracks in walls and floors with hydraulic cement, and install check valves in sewer traps to prevent water from backing up in sewer drains. Place concrete half-blocks or wood blocks to raise appliances located in basements or flood prone rooms.

Despite the water, during a flood fire danger is increased. In addition, fire departments may be unable to access locations due to high water. Always watch for fire hazards such as broken or leaking gas lines, flooded appliances or furnaces, or flammable or explosive materials coming in floodwaters. If you think electrical circuits might flood, turn off the main power switch. Never touch the switch while you are wet or standing in water! Do not re-start the electrical system until it has been inspected by an electrician.

Finally, if emergency personnel in your community recommend or require evacuation, do so! No property is worth putting you or your family’s life in danger.

CLICK HERE to download this article as a printable PREPnote.

If you need more information contact: inprepared@purdue.edu.

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