In general, if your house is going to flood it is not a safe place to be. We have all seen pictures of people sitting on their roofs waiting for rescue. What we don't see are the people who drowned when their house was swept away by the flood. The most dangerous thing about floodwater is that it is usually moving.

Flash floods are extremely dangerous and often unpredictable. They can occur from localized heavy rainfall, a dam breaking, or another natural disaster. It does not have to be raining where you are for there to be a flash flood. A dry river bed can become a rushing river from rainfall miles away. If you are threatened with flooding, move to high ground as quickly as possible.

Six inches of rushing water can knock you off your feet and into the river. Two feet of water will float your car into the river. And don't quibble about the fact that the river used to be a road. You should recognize that flowing water several feet deep is a river and if you get caught in it you are probably going to drown. Never try to walk or drive through flowing water. If your path is flooded, turn around and go another way. Floods wash out bridges and roadways very quickly. There may have been a good road there an hour ago, but you have no way of knowing if it is still there.

turn around!
don't drown!

If your car stalls in water or becomes surrounded by water, abandon it immediately. Do not wait to see how deep the water will get. If possible, roll down the car windows and open the sun roof before you lose power. It may be very difficult to open the doors and you cannot break the windows from the inside. Once you are out of the car, head to higher ground. Try to move upstream of cars, trees or anything heavy enough to catch you if you start to be swept away.

If you are caught in a flood in your house or another building, move everyone to the higher floors and away from the flood water. Take your emergency supplies with you if you have to retreat from a flood including food, clothing and bedding. Don't forget to take water. You can't drink floodwater and the water in the tap will be contaminated if the house is flooded. Shut off the electrical power since electrocution is a serious hazard in floods. Also make sure you have a way to get out of the building you are in if the flood waters rise too high. If you are in an attic, take tools to break through the roof to get out.

If you are in a flooded house, work on getting rescued. Don't stay, even if there are just a few inches of water. Floodwater is dirty and dangerous and the structure itself may have been damaged by the force of the water. If your hilltop house is now on an island, you may be OK for a while. If there is water in the house, do your best to get out.