What to Do
When There Is Flooding
If you are outdoors, you should:
• Stay out of areas subject to flooding. Dips, low spots, canyons, washes, etc. can become filled with water.
• Climb to high ground and stay there. Move away from dangerous floodwater.
• If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way. Never try to walk, swim, or drive through swift water. Many flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water, or people playing in high water. If it is moving swiftly, even water six inches (15 centimeters) deep can sweep you off your feet.
• Avoid already flooded areas and areas subject to sudden flooding. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Many flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water or by people playing in high water. The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped. Also, standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines. Rapidly rising water may stall the engine, engulf the vehicle and its occupants, and sweep them away. Look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges, and low areas. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle and two feet (0.6 meters) of water will carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks.
• Stay away from underpasses. Underpasses can fill rapidly with water, while the adjacent roadway remains clear. Driving into an underpass can quickly put you in five to six feet (1.5 to 1.8 meters) of water.
• Turn around and find another route if you come upon rapidly rising water. Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. If your route is blocked by floodwater or barricades, find another route. Barricades are put up by local officials to protect people from unsafe roads. Driving around them can be a serious risk.