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Flooding caused by heavy rains is dangerous and can occurwithout warning (Flash floods). Floods are particularly dangerous because theycan wash away vehicles and mobile homes and cause extensive damage to property.Individuals who can't swim, the elderly and those in need of special assistanceare particularly vulnerable to drowning. Also a serious threat during a flood,are downed power lines. Those could fall into pools of water and causeelectrocutions in homes and on public streets.

Familiarize yourself with the following terms to stay alert and prepared:

  • Flash Flood Watch - Indicates that flash flooding is a possibility in or close to the watch area.
  • Flash Flood Warning - A flood warning issued for life/property threatening flooding that will occur within 6 hours.
  • Flash Flood Statement - A Flash Flood Statement is issued to inform the public about current flash flood conditions.
  • Flood Hazard - The potential risk to life and limb and potential damage to property resulting from flooding.
  • Flood Potential Outlook - A late winter product used to provide information about expected hydrological conditions during the spring thaw.
  • River Statement - Used to provide information about significant with-in river rises or for river stages nearing the listed flood stage.
  • River Summary - Contains routine hydrological information. Also used to provide a summary of ongoing flooding events.
  • Urban/Small Stream Flood Advisory - Alerts the public to flooding which is generally only an inconvenience (not life-threatening) to those living in the affected area.

Before a flood:

  • Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home. Check with planning and zoning to determine ifyou are in a floodplain area.
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel ifsusceptible to flooding
  • Install check valves in sewer traps to prevent floodwaterfrom backing up into your home.
  • Construct barriers (levees, beams, sandbags, floodwalls)to stop floodwater from entering the building.
  • Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds toavoid seepage.
  • Keep an adequate supply of food, candles and drinkingwater in case you are trapped inside your home.

During a flood:

  • Seek higher ground. Do not wait forinstructions.
  • Be aware of flash flood areas such as canals, streams,drainage channels.
  • Be ready to evacuate. If time allows bring outsidefurniture indoors. Move essential items to upper floors.
  • If instructed, turn off main valves andswitches. Avoid electrical equipment if you are wet.
  • If you must leave your home, do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. Use a stick totest depth.
  • Do not try to drive over a flooded road. If your carstalls, abandon it immediately and seek an alternate route.

After a flood:

  • Avoid floodwaters. Do not let children play in the water.
  • Be aware of areas where water has receded. Roadways mayhave weakened and could collapse.
  • Avoid down power lines and muddy waters where power linesmay have fallen.
  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Discard food that may have been contaminated.
  • Check on sewage systems. If damaged, these can be aserious hazard.

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