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Flash Floods

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Turn around. Don't drown.

A flash flood occurs within a few hours of heavy or excessive rainfall, and/or as the result of a dam or levee failure.

Flash floods kill more people than any other severe thunderstorm hazard.

Flash Flood Watches and Warnings

The National Weather Service (NWS) issues a flash flood watch when flash floods are possible. The NWS issues a flash flood warning when flash floods are occurring. 

Flash Flood Safety

Flash floods kill more than 90 people each year on average in the U.S. Fast-moving water only six inches deep can knock you off your feet, and rushing water can also carry away most vehicles including passenger cars, SUVs and pickups.

Pay attention to local TV stations, radio, NOAA Weather Radio, online news sources and smartphone apps (like the American Red Cross' all-inclusive Emergency App for Apple and Android) to stay alert for warnings and floods in progress.

Be prepared to evacuate if ordered.

When a flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground.

Stay away from flood waters.

Do not drive through flooded roadways. Turn around. Don't drown.

Keep children out of the water. It's dangerous and often is contaminated.

Be extra cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

After a Flood


Return home only after officials have declared the area safe.

Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines and foundational cracks in your home.

If you smell natural gas or propane or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call 911.

Do not use water that may be contaminated.

Contact your local health department for specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area after a disaster.

Flood Protection and Information