Flash floods can be terrifying – they strike very quickly and are sometimes totally unpredictable. Flash floods can occur in a variety of different climates and areas of the country, and Denver and the state of Colorado are no different. There have been flash floods across the state of Colorado recently, and with them have come mudslides, highway closures, and other disruptions to daily life. Continue reading for additional information on flash floods and learn how you can keep you and your loved ones safe and protected in the event of a flash flood.
How Do Flash Floods Happen?
Flash floods are the result of excessively heavy rainfall for an extended period of time. They also occur when dams or levees break, and a large amount of water is released as a result. Flash floods can be very powerful and very destructive – they’re capable of de-rooting trees, dislodging and rolling large boulders, and even destroying bridges and buildings. If you get an alert for a flash flood watch or, even worse, a flash flood warning, exercise extreme caution and take the alert seriously.
Here are a few very basic precautions to consider taking when you’re preparing for flash floods:
- Prepare an emergency kit – Be sure to include water, non-perishable canned goods, a flashlight, blankets, a radio dispatcher, a first aid kit, a few basic tools, a knife, and any special medications you or your family may require (EpiPens, heart medication, etc.).
- Come up with an evacuation plan – It’s not a bad idea to sit down with your family and draw out an evacuation plan in the event of a flash flood. Draw it up, discuss it, and practice executing it a few times to make sure everyone understands the plan thoroughly.
- Consider purchasing flood insurance – If you live in an area that has a high likelihood of flash flooding (or flooding in general), think about buying a flood insurance policy.
Flash Flood Tips While Driving
If you happen to be on the road when a flash flood hits, do not panic. We recommend abiding by the following tips:
- Do not drive through the water – Unless it is absolutely necessary to do so, we do not recommend attempting to drive through any kind of floodwater. According to the National Weather Service, it only takes approximately 12 inches of water for a vehicle to float. Once your vehicle is floating, you can’t control it and are subject to severe injury if the car begins to float into other vehicles or road obstacles.
- Obey the barriers – If you see a barrier blocking a flooded street, it is there for a reason – do not attempt to drive through the blocked off area. Your best bet is to turn your vehicle around and find another route.
- Stay away from bridges – If you encounter a bridge with fast-flowing water beneath it, do not attempt to cross it. The water underneath it can rise suddenly and overtake the bridge quickly, leaving you exposed to floating.
- If you are completely surrounded by rising water, exit your vehicle – If you’re surrounded by fast-flowing water and if there is rising water inside the vehicle, exit the vehicle immediately and move to higher ground, such as on top of the roof.
Flash Flood Tips While at Home
If you’re fortunate enough to be at home when a flash flood hits your neighborhood, heed the following tips to stay safe:
- Quickly move to higher ground – If you live in a multi-story home, immediately move you and your loved ones up a floor. If you live in a one-story home, assess the severity of the flooding, and make a move to the roof if you find it necessary.
- Listen for weather reports and heed any evacuation orders – During severe weather occurrences, local authorities will often issue directions for evacuation. Listen to these directions carefully and execute any evacuation orders if they pertain to you.
- Do not touch or go near any floodwater – Floodwater is dirty and filled with toxic materials that can get you very sick. Be sure to avoid any areas of your home that have been filled with floodwater, especially rooms that have a lot of electrical outlets and cords.
Heeding the advice we’ve laid out for you is very important to keeping you and your loved ones safe during a flash flood. We understand that flash floods can be scary – they’re a very sudden natural disaster that can really catch you off guard. The key piece of advice is to remain calm during these intense moments and think through the situation logically.
Has your home or business been damaged by flash flooding? Do you require the services of a professional water restoration service who knows what it takes to get your property back to pre-flood condition? If the answer is yes, contact ServiceMaster Fire and Water Restoration for all of your water restoration needs.