Nobody can stop a flood, but there are actions you can take before, during, and after a flood to protect your family and keep your property losses to a minimum.
Listen to your radio, TV, or National Weather Service radio for the latest information on weather conditions that can cause flooding. Learn about NOAA Weather Radios by clicking here.
Learn and Understand the Difference:
Flash Flooding Flash floods are exactly what the name suggests: floods that happen in a flash! Flash floods generally develop within 6 hours of the immediate cause. Causes of flash flooding include heavy rain, ice or debris jams, and levee or dam failure. These floods exhibit a rapid rise of water over low-lying areas. In some cases, flooding may even occur well away from where heavy rain initially fell. This is especially common in the western United States where low lying areas may be very dry one minute, and filled with rushing water from upstream the next.
- Flash Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.
River Flooding River flooding occurs when river levels rise and overflow their banks or the edges of their main channel and inundate areas that are normally dry. River flooding can be caused by heavy rainfall, dam failures, rapid snowmelt and ice jams. The National Weather Service issues Flood Warnings for designated River Forecast Points where a flood stage has been established.
- Flash Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
- Flood Watch: Be Prepared: A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.
- Flood Advisory: Be Aware: A Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.
Avoid unnecessary travel during severe weather. Poor visibility can make trips dangerous. Warn children not play near swollen creeks, storm drains, or culverts.
Do not go near creeks and low-water crossings. Beware of rising, swift-moving water. Creeks can rise to dangerous levels in as little as one hour. Man-made features such as storm drains, fences, and culverts create additional "strainers" that can snag and drown even the strongest swimmer.
If you see major obstructions such as downed trees or telephone poles in a creek, or if you see a blocked culvert or bridge opening, call (785) 251-2200.
If Time Allows...and Your House Is In the Path of the Flood:
- Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary.
- Move valuables, such as papers, furs, jewelry, and clothing to upper floors or higher elevations.
- Fill bathtubs, sinks, and plastic soda bottles with clean water. Sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using bleach and rinsing.
- Bring outdoor possessions, such as lawn furniture, grills, and trash cans inside, or tie them down securely.