Following record snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains accumulated from storms in early 2023 that impacted many communities across California, the potential for flooding could linger for several months as snow begins to melt.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) wants to remind all Californians about the importance of being prepared for a flood.
Flooding is a natural disaster that can cause widespread damage. It’s the temporary overflow of water onto lands that are normally dry. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. One of the causes of flooding is snowmelt, which occurs when snow and ice melt due to rising temperatures.
Snowmelt can cause stream and river levels to rise and overflow their banks. This can result in flooding in areas that don’t normally have water.
PREPARING FOR A FLOOD
To keep yourself and your family safe, there are several steps you can take to prepare for a flood.
- Know Your Risk: Visit the MyHazards page to learn about risks in your area
- Make a Plan: Talk with members of your family so everyone knows what to do in case of a flood. Don’t forget your pets!
- Gather items for a go bag
- Practice evacuation routes
- Sign up for alerts in your area
STAYING SAFE DURING A FLOOD
If told to evacuate, don’t wait! Heed the instructions of first responders and never drive around road closures or barricades. Just six inches of water can knock a person off their feet and 12 inches can float a car.
STAYING SAFE AFTER A FLOOD
After a flood, there are several dangers that can linger including hazardous materials and debris.
- Wear heavy work gloves, protective clothing and boots during clean up and use appropriate masks if cleaning mold
- Avoid wading in floodwater, which can be contaminated or contain dangerous debris
- Avoid driving in flooded areas except in emergencies
- Do not touch electrical equipment if it’s wet or you’re in standing water without turning off electricity
Ready.gov – Flood Safety
CDC – Mold Clean Up
FEMA – Preparing for a Flood