Most communities in the United States can experience some kind of flooding after spring rains, heavy thunderstorms or winter snow thaws. Floods can be slow or fast-rising, but generally develop over a period of days. Flash floods usually result from intense storms dropping large amounts of rain within a brief period. Flash flooding can occur with little or no warning and can reach its peak in only a few minutes.
Flood waters can be extremely dangerous. The force of six inches of swiftly moving water can knock an adult person off his or her feet. The best protection during a flood is to leave the area and seek shelter on higher ground.
Flash flood waters move very quickly and can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and obliterate bridges. Walls of water can reach heights of 10 to 20 feet and generally are accompanied by a deadly cargo of debris. The best response to any signs of flash flooding is to move immediately and quickly to higher ground.
Just two feet of moving water can float and carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks. You can protect yourself best by being prepared and having time to act.
Before a Flood
During a Flood Watch
During a Flood Warning
During an Evacuation
After a Flood
The hours immediately following a flood can be very confusing. When disaster strikes, the county emergency management agency and local government initiate rescue, evacuation and shelter missions and provide emergency assistance to meet the public’s immediate needs.
If the commissioners declare a state of emergency for the county, the local EMA may contact the Ohio EMA for assistance in coordinating state resources and response activities. Based on the extent of the incident, the governor may declare a state of emergency for the affected county(ies). If disaster damages exceed state and local capabilities, the governor may request the president to grant federal disaster assistance through FEMA.
For additional information on Ohio flooding and flood insurance, visit the following sites:
Additional Flood Safety Tips
Flood – A condition that occurs when water overflows the natural or artificial confines of a stream or body of water, or accumulates by drainage over low-lying areas.
General River Flooding – follows heavy rain, snow melt or their combination. While river flooding typically occurs slowly, allowing more time to take protective measures, extreme flash flooding or a breakup of an ice jam along a river can produce more rapid river rises.
Urban and Small Stream Floods – occurs when heavy rain falls, resulting in flooded streets, underpasses or drainage ditches in urban areas, and creeks in rural areas. Not usually life-threatening on its own, but can be, if motorists drive through a flooded roadway or children play near a storm drain or drainage ditch.
Flash Floods – Rapid and life-threatening floods from heavy rains occurring in a short period of time, usually in hilly or mountainous areas, or produced by the failure of a dam.
Flood/Flash Flood Watch – Usually issued for several hours indicating that conditions are favorable for possible flooding or flash flooding.
Flood/Flash Flood Warning – Issued when flooding or flash flooding is imminent or occurring. This indicates a need to take protective measures.