Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.
However, all floods are not alike. Some floods develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days. But flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water that carries rocks, mud, and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path. Overland flooding occurs outside a defined river or stream, such as when a levee is breached, but still can be destructive. Flooding can also occur when a dam breaks, producing effects similar to flash floods.
Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood. Every state is at risk from this hazard.
- Basic Emergency Supply Kit (document - PDF)
- Evacuation Guidelines (document - PDF)
- Evacuation Tips (document - PDF)
- Family Emergency Contacts (document - PDF)
- Pets and Emergencies (document - PDF)
- A Flood of Emotions (document - PDF)
- Caring for important papers (document - PDF)
- Hazardous Materials and Flooding Do Not Mix (document - PDF)
- Helping Children Through the Flood (document - PDF)
- Is Home-Frozen Food Safe to Use (document - PDF)
- Salvaging After Flooding (document - PDF)
- Salvaging Food After a Flood (document - PDF)