Local Weather via the National Weather Service

It only take 6 inches of fast-moving flood water to knock over an adult. It take just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water will carry away most vehicles. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.

  1. Flood waters can be extremely dangerous. The force of six 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cars can be easily be swept away in just 2 feet of moving water. If flood waters rise around a car, it should be abandoned. Passengers should climb to higher ground.

Before the Flood

Build a Kit

You may need to evacuate, so pack in advance. Don't wait until the last minute to gather essentials for your household.

It is good practice to have enough food, water, and medicine on hand at all times to last your household at least 3 days in case of an emergency. Water Service may be interrupted or unsafe to drink and food requiring little cooking or no refrigeration may be needed if electric power is interrupted.

Make a Plan

It is important to be able to communicate with your family and friends in the event of a flood.

Be Informed

  • Know your flood risk and elevation above flood stage.
  • Do your local streams or rivers flood easily? If so, be prepared to move to a place of safety.
  • Know your evacuation routes.
  • Stay informed about the storm by listening to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, and television for the latest flash flood/flood watches, warnings, and advisories.
  • Create a safety profile and opt-in to receive Boone County Ready weather notifications.

NOAA weather radio is the best means to receive warnings from the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service continuously broadcasts updated weather warnings and forecasts that can be received by NOAA Weather Radios sold in many stores. Average range is 40 miles, depending on topography. Your National Weather Service recommends purchasing a radio that has both a battery backup and a tone-alert feature which automatically alerts you when a watch or warning is issued.

Get Involved

Sometimes floods develop slowly and forecasters can anticipate where a flood will happen before it occurs. Oftentimes, flash floods can occur within minutes and sometimes without any signs of rain. Being prepared can save your life.

  • Keep your automobile fueled; if electric power is cut off, gas stations may not be able to operate pumps for several days.
  • Standard homeowner's insurance does not cover flooding, consider adding flood insurance if you are able to do so. Many insurance companies require a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance will go into effect after signing up.
  • Consider having sand bags prepared and ready before a flood threatens your location. Filling sandbags is time-consuming.

What to Listen For

  • Flash Flood or Flood Watch: Flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated WATCH area - be alert.
  • Flash Flood or Flood Warning: Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent - take action.
  • Urban and Small Stream Advisory: Flooding of small streams, streets, and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains, is occurring.
  • Flash Flood or Flood Statement: Follow-up information regarding a flash flood/flood event.

The rule for being safe in a flooding situation is simple: Head for higher ground and stay away from flood waters.

During the Flood

  • Stay informed: During a flood, water levels and the rate the water is flowing can quickly change. Remain aware and monitor local radio and television outlets.
  • Seek higher ground: If you live in a flood prone area or if you are camping in a low-lying area, get to higher ground immediately.
  • Obey evacuation orders: If told to evacuate, do not delay! Lock your home when you leave and if you have time, disconnect all utilities and appliances.
  • Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding.
  • If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, STOP! Turn around. Don't drown.
  • Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.Turn around. Don't drown.
  • Children should NEVER play around high water, storm drains, viaducts, or arroyos.
  • Practice electrical safety. Don't go into a basement or any room if water covers the electrical outlets or if electrical cords are submerged.

After the Flood

  • Stay informed: Stay tuned to your local news for updated information on road conditions.
  • Avoid flood waters: Standing water hides many dangers including toxins, chemicals, sharp objects, or collapsed roads. If fresh food has come in contact with flood waters, throw it out.
  • Obey road closed and cautionary signs. Road closure and cautionary signs are put in place for your safety.
  • Boil drinking water before using. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking. If in doubt, call your local public health authority.
  • Seek necessary medical care at the nearest hospital. Food, clothing, shelter, and first aid are available from the Red Cross.
  • Do not visit disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations.
  • Wait for the all clear. Do not enter flood damaged homes or buildings until you're given the all clear by authorities. Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service. Use flashlights, not lanterns, torches or matches, to examine buildings. Flammables may be inside. Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.
  • Contact support system. Let your family, and other support system, know that you are okay.

Additional Resources

Special thanks to University of Missouri Extension Center, North Dakota State University Extension Center, and Lincoln University Extension Center.