It is important to know the difference between a flood WATCH and a flood WARNING.
A flash flood watch is flooding that is possible in your area.
A flash flood warning is flooding that is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. The best time to make sure you are ready for the next storm event is before one is headed your way.
Have these emergency supplies available in order to be prepared:
- Non-perishable foods (at least a three-day supply) and water containers
- More than one flashlight and extra batteries
- Candles and matches
- First-aid kit, along with any prescription medicine
- Extra plywood (preferably heavy, pre-cut, and pre-drilled) to cover windows
- Plastic sheeting (for water leaks)
- Battery-powered radio (and/or an NOAA Weather Radio)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Copies of personal documents (birth certificates, insurance policies, pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home)
- Extra cash
- Camera for photos of the damage
- Pictures of your most valuable possessions (TV, furniture, jewelry, electronic equipment, appliances, etc.). These (and the item receipts) will come in handy to the insurance agent if the items are damaged by the flood event.
Flood Safety Tips
It is a good idea to have an emergency plan in place and to follow these guidelines regarding safety.
- Learn the safest route from your home or business to higher, safer ground.
- If emergency management officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home, go immediately to a safe shelter, hotel, or relative's house. Evacuation maps for West University Place residents can be found here.
- Make sure your family and employer know where you can be reached if you must leave your home in an evacuation.
- Before you leave, turn off all utilities, gas, and electricity at the main switch. Stay away from power and electrical lines. Be alert for gas leaks.
- Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood-related deaths. Flood waters can also contain contaminants and pests (i.e., snakes).
- Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock a person off his feet.
- Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than in any other location, and it only takes two feet of water to move a car. Remember Turn Around Don't Drown!
The Recovery Process
Returning to your home after a major flood event can sometimes be overwhelming. FEMA has publications on how homeowners can recover from a flood:
- After the Flood - Protect Air Quality
- Mold and Mildew: Cleaning up Your Flood Damaged Home
- Coping with a Flood - Before, During and After
For more information on flood safety, please visit the Red Cross website or the Disaster Assistance website for more information. Also, follow the City of West University Place on Facebook and in Next Door, and access the City's website for local information and updates before and after a major storm flooding event.