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How to Survive a Flash Flood?


Table of Contents


How To Survive A Flash Flood


Tips On Being Prepared For Flash Flooding In Your Area


How To Prepare For Flash Flooding In Your Area

  1. Communication
  2. Designated safe space
  3. Essential Supplies
  4. Household protection


Final Thought



How To Survive A Flash Flood


A flash flood is a deluge of water that saturates the ground faster than it can absorb whether

  1. Heavy rainfall
  2. Rapid melting snow/ice
  3. Levee or dam breaks
  4. Coastal surges or high tides

While these occurrences are possible anywhere, they are more prevalent in certain regions with effects happening almost instantly. Flash flooding waters are fast-moving making them incredibly damaging as they rip out trees and carry massive debris in their path as they travel.

The swift water can wash away cars, destroy properties, and prove dangerous for anyone caught in what is considered among the “deadliest natural disasters responsible for the most deaths related to floods.”


Tips On Being Prepared For Flash Flooding In Your Area

Staying prepared and informed is critical when in an area prone to severe weather.

While flash floods are difficult to predict, you can track weather changes in specific locations minute by minute with the National Weather Service, get weather apps, or find alerts with your local news. These will also come across most smartphones without app downloads.

With the National Weather Service, three alerts are typically posted with flooding or dangerous weather conditions including “advisories, watches, and warnings.” Understanding these alerts will allow you to prepare adequately.


  1. Flood advisory: An advisory lets residents know a flood is happening but it will be more of an inconvenience than a destructive event. Where drainage is less than favorable and in roadways water minor flooding will occur.
  2. Flood watch: A watch is issued when the current weather or the pattern that’s developing shows the potential for flooding. This is something being “watched,” but it may not happen. The residents should be on alert, however, and prepare as if it were imminent.
  3. Flood warning: Warnings are an indication that flooding is imminent or has already started. These are typically given only in the regions where the flood is impacting the area.


How To Prepare For Flash Flooding In Your Area

When you’re in an area where severe flash flooding is prevalent or even possible, it’s essential to be prepared.

A priority is to create an emergency plan that you practice to ensure you and your family can move safely to higher ground when that becomes mandatory. Here are some tips when developing your plan.


TIPS:  Don’t Let A Flash Flood Take You By Surprise: Be Prepared


1.  Communication

A flash flood is sudden meaning there’s the possibility everyone in the house will scatter or be separated in the chaos. Communication will be vital to ensure everyone is safe. This can consist of a buddy system where each person stays with someone else to keep everyone accounted for.

You can also check in with a group text when everyone reaches a safe space. Communication throughout the disaster should be consistent until you’re back together.


2.  Designated safe space

When developing a disaster plan, setting up a safe space for everyone to meet should be prioritized in case you get separated while being evacuated.

With flash flooding, this should be at a higher elevation whether choosing a public building like a restaurant or market or perhaps close friends or loved ones.


3.  Essential Supplies

When creating an emergency plan, you should assemble a kit with essential supplies. When experiencing a flash flood, often the power will go out making it challenging to gain access to necessities like food and water. Here are some things your kit should contain.


  • Food/water: This should last for several days and include nonperishable food with bottled water. Remember to add utensils and a can opener along with pet supplies if this applies.
  • Hygiene: You’ll need supplies for showering and personal care including soap, baby wipes, toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste/toothbrush, comb/brush, trash bags, meds, and on.
  • First aid: A basic first aid kit should be included separately from the emergency supplies. This will need to have bandages, over-the-counter pain and allergy meds, a thermometer, anti-bacterial wash/wipes, and on.
  • Linens/clothing: Linens like blankets, layers of clothing to accommodate varied temperatures and durable footwear.
  • Documents: Original critical documents should be kept in a waterproof safe location and brought with you if evacuated. These include social security cards, driver’s licenses, banking paperwork, property records, and medical and insurance documents.
  • Gear: Some tools and equipment that will be helpful in an emergency are batteries, cell phone chargers, flashlights, an army knife, a radio (battery-powered), wrenches, pliers, and a hammer.


4.  Household protection

Once the emergency plan is established and safety is assured, it’s time to protect your household. Here are a few tips to prepare for the devastation of a flash flood.


  • Barriers: Doors including garage doors and basement windows can be protected using sandbags. These prevent seeping water into the interior of the space. You can also use flood-resistant shields/barriers found at local hardware stores.


  • Drains/gutters: Downspouts and gutters should have debris cleared as part of typical household care and upkeep to prevent water damage in heavy rains like those that occur in flash flooding.


When these are cleaned routinely rainwater will drain adequately away from the house preventing pooling along the foundation when rains are heavy.


  • Secure: Flash flooding requires fast evacuation but the household will need to be secured before leaving to minimize the potential flooding damage, possible vandalism, or intrusions. Doors and windows should be adequately secured making it necessary to have a drill in your evacuation plan.


TIPS:  Flash Flood Driving Tips


Final Thought

When a flash flood is imminent, it’s important to remain on alert. While it’s possible to stay put, you should be prepared for an evacuation when mandated. The National Weather Service and FEMA offer up-to-date details on the severity of the conditions and advise on evacuation.

If advised to evacuate, this should be done immediately following the instructions carefully. It will be essential to avoid flooded areas and go to higher ground.

When devising an emergency plan, routes to these areas should be included. When it’s safe to return to your home, the authorities will give the okay. Don’t attempt to do so until you get word that it’s safe to travel.