Severe weather preparedness

Flash Flood Safety

Flooded road near Bismarck, IL February 2008A flash flood is a rapid rise in creeks and streams, or serious urban flooding, caused by heavy rain from thunderstorms, that poses a threat to life and property.  Floods and flash floods kill more people nationwide than any other storm hazard!  In Illinois, most flash floods occur in July and August, and they often occur at night.



Keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Most flash flood related deaths occur in vehicles.  Don't drive through flooded roads or around barricades, especially if the water is moving rapidly.  Flooded or washed-out roadds are especially difficult to see at night.  It only takes 18 to 24 inches of water to cause most vehicles to float in the water.  Turn around and find another route.
  • Don't let children play near storm drains, creeks or flooded areas.
  • If you live near a creek or stream, evacuate to higher ground if water rises rapidly, or if a flash flood warning is issued.

Urban flooding is also potentially dangerous.  Heavy rain that results in flooding of streets, viaducts, and underpasses in an urban area can pose a threat to motorists.  Heavy rain can also result in flooded basements, ponding of water in low spots, and rapid flooding of drainage ditches and storm sewers.

March 17 to 21 is National Flood Safety Awareness Week.  For more information, visit is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.