Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters – except fire. Floods can be slow or fast rising and generally develop over a period of days.
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.
In the United States, an average of 100 people lose their lives in floods annually, with flood damage averaging more than $2 billion. The Midwest’s “Great Flood of 1993” cost 48 lives and more than $12 billion. Flash floods are the #1 weather-related killer in the United States.
Before the flood:
•Find out if you live in a flood-prone area.
•Plan and practice an evacuation route.
•Have disaster supplies on hand.
•Develop an emergency communications plan.
•Learn about the National Flood Insurance Program.
During the flood:
•Stay informed. Turn on a battery-operated radio or television to get the latest emergency information. Turn Around Dont Drown.gif
•If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
•Avoid walking through floodwater. Water only six inches deep can sweep you off your feet if it is moving swiftly.
•Do not drive into a flooded street. Cars can be swept away by two feet of moving water or there may be unseen damage to the road. If you come to a flooded area turn around and go another way. Most flood-related deaths are caused by people driving through water.
•Watch out for fire hazards.
After the flood:
•Take care of yourself first.
•Dry out your home.
•Restore the utilities.
•Rebuild and flood proof.
•Prepare for the next flood.
Protect yourself from the next flood with flood insurance, a flood response plan and community flood protection programs.
For more information:
•American Red Cross information on flood and flash flood safety.
•Oklahoma Floodplain Managers Association promotes sound floodplain management practices and the natural and cultural benefits of the floodplain.
•Are you ready? has terms and tips for what to do before, during and after a flood.
•National Flood Insurance Program, has information about the NFIP program.
•Floods…The Awesome Power