Floods are the most common hazard in our area. Winter conditions were extreme this year and have increased the risk. There were high December and January water levels, heavy snowfall, and temperatures in February and March were lower than usual, resulting in snow staying for longer than usual, and not melting gradually. Typical spring wind and rain storms will increase the risks of rapid snow melt that will cause flash flooding or localized flooding. Flood conditions often create impassable roads isolating residents. Power outages and utility disruptions during wind and rain events increase the impacts.
Preparing for Flooding:
- Know where main power switches are to your house.
- Keep pumps in working order and know how to use them. Consider back-up power supplies.
- Have a professional elevate furnace, water heater and electric panel if in high flood risk area.
- Keep valuables above ground level.
- Be prepared to "Shelter-In-Place" during heavy rain and wind events with enough family supplies for 72 hours or more without utilities. Being self-sufficient may decrease the need to evacuate.
- Understand you may be asked to evacuate due to extreme flood conditions and blocked roads. Have a family evacuation plan. Know where you and your pets would go and what you would need to take with you (medications, clothing, documents, pet supplies, etc.). Be prepared to turn off utilities at main switches and disconnect electrical appliances if asked to do so.
- Clear drainage channels of debris, ice, snow and leaves.
- Understand your insurance coverage. Keep documents handy.
- Be aware of stream, river, drainage channels and areas known to flood suddenly.
- Don't park vehicles along streams, rivers, or creeks, especially during threatening conditions.
- Check in with family members and neighbours, particularly if they rely on you for support.
During a Flood:
- Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- Listen to radio/media for information and follow emergency officials instructions.
- Emergency responders will be assisting people. You can help everyone by staying off the roads and out of the way.
- Do not drive around a barricade. Turn around and go a different way. Two feet of fast water can carry away most vehicles. Be especially cautious driving at night when it's harder to see flood dangers.
- If there is any possibility of flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Stay out of any building that is surrounded by flood waters.
- If you have to walk through water, walk where water isn't moving. Six inches of water can be enough to make you fall.