Last Minute Storm Readiness

Know your weather warnings.

Knowing the warning signs will help you to access how critical the situation is.

  • Flash Flood Watch – issued generally when there is the possibility of flash flooding or urban flooding over an area within the next 36 hours.
  • Flash Flood Warning – issued when flash flooding is imminent, generally within the next 1 to 3 hours. Usually issued based on observed heavy rainfall (measured or radar estimated) but may also be issued for significant dam breaks that have occurred or are imminent.
  • Flood Advisory – issued when flooding is imminent or occurring, generally within the next 1 to 3 hours, but is not expected to substantially threaten life and property.


Advice for safe driving.

Water can be incredibly damaging to an engine. However, there are some easy steps that you can take to protect yourself and your property from this type of incident happening.

  • Whenever possible, avoid driving in standing water. If it's unavoidable, use extreme caution.
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling; a foot of water will float many vehicles and could even carry them away.
  • Be wary of driving through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always clear and the roadbed may have been washed away – which could lead one to be stranded if the vehicle becomes immobile.
  • If you think your vehicle may have suffered water damage, remember to refrain from starting the engine until licensed mechanics can perform remedial efforts to remove any water that may have entered.


What to do before the heavy rain hits.

  • Avoid walking through standing and flowing water. If water is moving swiftly, as little as 6 inches can knock you off of your feet. Water may also conceal hidden dangers including unseen holes, submerged debris, hazardous pollutants and submerged power lines.
  • Use caution when driving and avoid driving through standing or flowing water. Even just a few inches of water can ruin your car's engine, and 12 inches of moving water can sweep your car away.
  • Unplug electronics that could be damaged by a power surge.
  • Remove and store any unsecured outdoor objects that could float away or cause additional damage. Move valuable or important belongings to the highest floor of your home.
  • Purchase sandbags in order to protect your foundation. You can also check with your local officials since towns will sometimes offer free sand and bags depending on where you live in the country.
  • Ensure drains around your home are clear of any debris. 
  • If you have a generator, confirm that it is fueled up or that its permanent fuel supply line is unobstructed. Test the generator before the storm hits to ensure it is working properly.
  • Check to make sure your sump pump is working properly. Click here to learn more.
  • Check your disaster kit and make sure it has enough food, water, batteries and other supplies to last your family at least three days.


If you leave your home:

  • Bring emergency preparedness kit.
  • Bring backpack(s) filled with prescriptions, medicines, valuables, etc.
  • Avoid walking or driving through standing water – 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet and 12 inches of moving water can sweep your car away.
  • Move to higher ground.
  • Do not park your car near any bodies of water – streams, rivers, etc.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car and water is not moving it is safe to leave your car and move to higher ground.