Like every other natural disaster, flash floods come without a warning. You might not think your home is at risk of flooding if you don’t live near a river, lake or in a coastal area, but that’s not the case. Flash floods are not caused by the overflowing of large bodies of water; they are usually brought on by extremely heavy rainfall from thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service. Other possible culprits include mudslides and dam or levee breaks. It’s safe to say that when there’s rain, there’s the possibility of a flash flood, and your home may be at risk.
The Role of Heavy Rain in a Flash Flood
As I mentioned before, flash floods are usually caused by heavy rainfall. But this is not your typical storm. Rainfall resulting in flash floods has two determining factors: intensity and duration. Intensity refers to the rate of rainfall, while duration refers to how long the rain lasts.
Areas where flash floods are common or expected, like Orange County, CA, often get a warning for the locations more at risk of being impacted by flash floods, but there’s not always enough time for a proper evacuation. Occasionally, flash flooding comes within minutes and without a warning, leaving residents stranded on top of their vehicles or on the highest ground they can reach at home.
The Risks of a Flash Flood
A regular flood, resulting from unusually high water levels, can cause destruction. The aftermath of a flash flood, though, can be extremely catastrophic. The intensity at which the water comes during a flash flood makes it that much deadlier than a regular flood. While flash floods can come from mudslides, they can also create them. Mudslides or mudflows occur when there is significant debris from trees and buildings rapidly surging along with large quantities of water. Needless to say, mudslides can be deadly.
What to Do During a Flash Flood
According to AccuWeather, there are a few things you can do to stay safe during a flash flood:
- Monitor the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Radio, or your local radio. This will give you the updates you need to know when it’s safe to come out.
- Listen to evacuation alerts. You might be reluctant to leave your personal belongings and heirlooms behind, but yours and your family’s lives should come first. If your area has been advised to evacuate, do not hesitate. Do so immediately.
- Bring your possessions into your home – if there’s time. Small things like patio chairs and cushions may easily be brought into the house. Larger things like playground sets or sofas may need to be anchored or tied down instead.
- Move to higher ground. The upstairs portion of your house is probably the safest place you can be. If at all possible, bring as many important things upstairs as you can. It is particularly important that you disconnect any electrical appliances.
- Shut off water, gas or electrical services as needed before evacuating.
- Lock your doors and windows.
Dealing With the Aftermath of a Flash Flood
Once a flash flood has passed, the most important thing is to make sure everyone is safe and accounted for. You will want to deal with any injuries before trying to do anything else. When you’ve determined that everyone is OK, it’s time to worry about everything else.
It is likely that your personal belongings and your home or business were affected by the flash flood. We understand that during a situation like this, the last thing you want to do is start a DIY project to make your damaged property feel like home again. Let Restoration 1 help. Our locations throughout the country offer emergency services, so we always have a team near you ready to assist when disaster strikes. Rest assured that when you hire Restoration 1 after a flash flood, you won’t have to worry about your property. Our team of experts will take care of everything for you.
Looking for services near you? Visit our Locations page!
Kurt Hurley is the VP of Marketing at Restoration 1. Reach out to him via Facebook or Twitter.