Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Conditions that cause floods include heavy or steady rain for several hours or days that saturates the ground. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area.
As with any disaster, you’ll be better prepared if you have a disaster supplies kit prepared in advance and your "go bags" packed and ready in case you need to evacuate your home.
How To Respond During a Flood
Use our local safety and emergency resources to stay informed about possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress, or other critical information from the National Weather Service.
Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
Because standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more flood safety tips and information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program website.
Flood Recovery Tips
Return home only when the area is declared safe.
Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged propane tanks, foundation cracks or other damage. If power lines are down, do not step in puddles or standing water.
Parts of your home may be collapsed or damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
Watch out for wild animals, especially snakes that may have come into your home with the floodwater.
If you smell propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risk.
Wear protective clothing during cleanup, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
Discard food items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples.
Contact Okanogan County Public Health to find out how to check the safety of your water supply. You may need to boil or treat it before use. Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food or make baby formula!