Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past, doesn't mean you won't in the future. Flood risk isn't just based on history; it's also based on a number of factors including rainfall , topography, flood-control measures, river-flow and tidal-surge data, and changes due to new construction and development.
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To prepare for a flood, you should:
- Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
- Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
- Consider installing "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
- If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
Tips for safe behavior during a flood:
Call 3-1-1 for information on free sandbags to protect your property from flooding.
Tune to KCBS 740 AM or local TV channels for emergency advisories and instructions.
- If water has entered a garage or basement, do not walk through it – it may contain hazardous materials.
- Do not try to drive over a flooded road. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately. Attempting to move a stalled vehicle in flood conditions can be fatal.
- If you are asked to leave your property, disconnect all electrical appliances.
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you must walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Stay clear of water that is in contact with downed power lines.
- Do not allow children to play around high water, storm drains or any flooded areas.
If you are asked to leave your property, shut off electric circuits. If advised by your local utility, shut off gas service as well.
Tips for driving in flood conditions:
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
- Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
- Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.
- Do not try to take short cuts. They may be blocked. Stick to designated evacuation routes.
- Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
After the Flood
Your home has been flooded. Although floodwaters may be down in some areas, many dangers still exist. Here are some things to remember in the days ahead:
- Use local alerts and warning systems to get information and expert informed advice as soon as available.
- Avoid moving water.
- Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or relief organization.
- Emergency workers will be assisting people in flooded areas. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.
- Play it safe. Additional flooding or flash floods can occur. Listen for local warnings and information. If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, get out immediately and climb to higher ground.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Roads may still be closed because they have been damaged or are covered by water. Barricades have been placed for your protection. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, go another way.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
A flood can cause physical hazards and emotional stress. You need to look after yourself and your family as you focus on cleanup and repair.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewer systems are serious health hazards.
- Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwaters can contain sewage and chemicals.
- Rest often and eat well.
- Keep a manageable schedule. Make a list and do jobs one at a time.
- Discuss your concerns with others and seek help. Contact Red Cross for information on emotional support available in your area.
Cleaning Up and Repairing Your Home
- Turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box, even if the power is off in your community. That way, you can decide when your home is dry enough to turn it back on.
- Get a copy of the book Repairing Your Flooded Home (737KB PDF) which is available free from the American Red Cross or your state or local emergency manager. It will tell you:
- How to enter your home safely.
- How to protect your home and belongings from further damage.
- How to record damage to support insurance claims and requests for assistance.
- How to check for gas or water leaks and how to have service restored.
- How to clean up appliances, furniture, floors and other belongs.
- The Red Cross can provide you with a cleanup kit: mop, broom, bucket, and cleaning supplies.
- Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.
- Listen to your radio for information on assistance that may be provided by the state or federal government or other organizations.
- If you hire cleanup or repair contractors, check references and be sure they are qualified to do the job. Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home.
Explanation of stages (from the California Data Exchange Center):
MONITOR STAGE (waterways with no levees): The Stage at which initial action must be taken by concerned interests (livestock relocation warning, removal of equipment from lowest overflow areas, or simply general surveillance of the situation). This level may produce overbank flows sufficient to cause minor flooding of low-lying lands and local roads.
MONITOR STAGE (waterways with levees): The Stage at which patrol of flood control project levees by the responsible levee maintaining agency becomes mandatory, or the Stage at which flow occurs into bypass areas from project overflow weirs.
FLOOD STAGE (waterways with no levees): The Stage at which overbank flows are of sufficient magnitude to cause considerable inundation of land and roads and/or threat of significant hazard to life and property.
FLOOD STAGE (waterways with levees): The Stage at which the flow in a flood control project is at maximum design capacity (U.S. Corps of Engineers "Project Flood Plane"). At this level there is a minimum freeboard of 3 feet to the top of levees.
DANGER STAGE (waterways with levees): The Stage at which the flow in a flood control project is greater than maximum design capacity and where there is extreme danger with threat of significant hazard to life and property in the event of levee failure. This is generally 1 foot above project flood stage.
Water Gage Map
Click on gage using map or list below.