Be Prepared

Flooding occurs when water accumulates faster then it can escape. There are many reasons this happens including naturally occurring depressions, inadequate or ineffective drainage and excessive rainfall.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you live on or near a lake, river, or stream?
  • Do you live in a low area that has the potential to collect water from the surrounding area?
  • Do you know of any drainage problems in your area?
  • Has there been any past flooding in your area?

Some potential flooding sources and areas that have flooded in the past:

  • W. Cummings near Lakeshore Way

Before the Flood

  • Alert PolkSign up for Alert Polk to receive alerts on your phone or via email.
  • Keep your automobile fueled; after a flood, gas stations may not be able to operate pumps for several days.
  • Store drinking water in clean bathtubs and in various containers.
  • Keep a stock of food that requires little cooking and no refrigeration.
  • Keep first aid supplies on hand.
  • Keep a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, emergency cooking equipment, and flashlights in working order.
  • Know the location of the Polk County public shelters near you.
  • Become familiar with the Evacuation Routes (PDF) in Polk County.
  • A Hurricane Kit (PDF) can serve for both situations.

During the Flood

  • Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, streams, rivers, etc.
  • Avoid already flooded and high-velocity flow areas.
  • Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is ankle deep, Stop! Turn around and go another way.
  • If driving, be aware that the roadbed may not be intact under floodwaters. Turn around and go another way. Never drive through flooded roadways!
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

After the Flood

  • If fresh food has come in contact with floodwaters, throw it out.
  • Boil drinking water before using.
  • Wells should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking. If in doubt, call your local public health authority.
  • Seek necessary medical care at the nearest hospital.
  • Do not visit disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations.
  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires
  • Turn off your electricity and gas when you return home
  • Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.
  • Use flashlights, not lanterns, torches or matches, to examine buildings.
  • Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.
  • Look before you step and watch for animals, especially snakes

Getting Updated Information

For up-to-date information on severe weather (including flooding) please tune to local media stations, including Bay News Nine (Cable Channel 9), WONN 1230 AM, and WPCV 97.5 FM. The National Weather Service continually monitors local weather conditions. If major flooding is anticipated within the County, NOAA will broadcast notices on the NOAA Weather Radio. These notices will also be broadcast through television and standard radio stations. They are intended to help residents prepare for the possibility of severe flooding in the neighborhood.

Warning times for these events may be as long as five days for hurricanes, down to one to two hours notice for flash floods and urban advisories. The key is to keep aware of these notices when watching, listening to or reading the various media sources.