Flash floods and floods are two of the most powerful forces in nature. In fact, flash flooding is the number one weather-related killer in the United States according to the National Weather Service. Flash floods occur within minutes or hours of excessive rainfall or a dam or levee failure. Rapidly rising water can reach heights of 30 feet or more and they can also trigger mudslides. You may not always have a warning. However, there are actions you can take to protect your family and keep your property losses to a minimum.

Know What to Expect

Find out your flood risk and whether your property is in the flood plain or if it is below the flood stage water level. Call a Map Specialist for specific question about your flood zone at 1-877-336-2627.

If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.

Listen to local radio or TV stations for flood information.

A flash flood WATCH means flash flooding is possible in your area. A flash flood WARNING means a flash flood is occurring or will occur soon.


Have a Family Disaster Plan

If you live in a frequently flooded area, take preventive measures and stockpile emergency building materials: plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, hammer and saw, shovels and sand bags.

Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box.

Assemble Disaster Supplies Kits that contains: first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and a manual can opener, at least three gallons of water per person, battery powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.

Reduce potential damage by raising your furnace, water heater, and electric panel if they are in areas of your home that may flood.

Consider getting flood insurance, especially if you live in a high-risk area. To learn about National Flood Insurance Programs (NFIP), please call 1-888-FLOOD29 or TDD 1-800-427-5593, or visit hftp://www.fema.gov/nfip/whonfio.shtm.

When a Flood WATCH Is Issued

Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your house.

Fill your car’s gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued.

Be alert to signs of flash flooding ding and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice.


When a Flood WARNING Is Issued

Listen to local radio and TV stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.

If you think flooding has already started, act quickly and evacuate immediately! You may only have seconds to escape.

Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams , creeks, and storm drains.

Do not drive around barricades … they are there for your safety.

Even 6 inches of fast-moving floodwater can knock you off your feet, and a depth of 2 feet will float your car! If you come upon floodwaters, STOP! TURN AROUND AND GO ANOTHER WAY.

If your vehicle stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.

Emergency Preparedness Department
200 North Spring Street, Room 1533
Los Angeles, CA 90012
www.lacily.org/epd
213-978-2222