Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Conditions that cause floods include heavy or steady rain for several hours or days that saturates the ground. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area.
Flood/Flash Flood Watch – Flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.
Flood/Flash Flood Warning – Flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
Let Your Family Know You’re Safe
If your community experiences a flood, or any disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website available through RedCross.org/SafeandWell to let your family and friends know about your welfare. If you don’t have Internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.
- Flash Flood Season is July through September but flash floods can happen at any time of the year without warning. Never drive across flooded roadways or around barricades. Plan alternate routes to get to and from your destination.
- In the event of a major storm causing isolated flooding, it is safer for you to stay where you are and wait for the storm to end, rather than attempting to drive anywhere. Only a few inches of swift moving floodwater can sweep your car off the road. Larger vehicles, such as trucks and SUVs, may be more likely to float because large air-filled tires increase the buoyancy of the vehicle.
- Most flash flood deaths occur in automobiles. If you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and take another route. Roads underneath may be damaged and impassable.
- If your car stalls, it may be safer to stay with the vehicle. Swift moving water only inches deep can sweep you off your feet and result in drowning. Only you can make the decision about which option is safer. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize the dangers of flash floods, such as the depth and speed of the water.
- Do not let children or pets play near flood control channels or detention basins. Floodwater can move up to 30 mph and is filled with hazardous materials such as chemicals, oil, sewage and pet waste.
- Stay out of flood channels and detention basins, which can rise as quickly as one foot a minute. Stay out of standing floodwater. The dirty water can disguise hazards below the surface, such as deep holes and dangerous debris.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle near washes or channels.
- Listen to radio or television for the latest weather updates.
- Check the Regional Flood Control District’s website at www.regionalflood.org for real time rainfall information at more than 100 locations around the valley. The site also includes current weather information.
- Move to higher ground. Be aware of drainage channels and other areas known to flood suddenly. If a flood watch is issued, prepare to evacuate. Take your disaster supply kit with you.
- Secure your home. If instructed, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- Fill the bathtub with water in case water becomes contaminated or services cut off. Before filling the tub sterilize it with diluted bleach solution.
Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods. Flood insurance policies are available to all homeowners with backing from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) even if you don’t live in a high-risk flood area. Visit the National Flood Insurance Program’s website at www.FloodSmart.gov or call 1-800-638-6620. You also can call your local insurance agent or visit FEMA’s website, www.fema.gov, for information.
Flood zone boundaries are determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in cooperation with the local communities. To find out if your home is located in a flood zone, call the Clark County Regional Flood Control District at (702) 685-0000 or visit its website at www.regionalflood.org. High-risk flood zones are identified by a variety of calculations. Factors include: anticipated water flow rates, depth of flood control channels, washes and retention basins, hydrology, soil density and elevations.
Sources: American Red Cross, Southern Nevada Regional Flood Control District, Southern Nevada Health District