Author: Haley Pender, Dabney Weems and Brian Haines
Many people do not think about their home flooding, they may not live near a large body of water, or they underestimate the power of floods during hurricanes and rainstorms. Whether its storm surge along the coast caused by a tropical storm or riverine flooding in the mountains, across North Carolina, no one is immune to threats of flooding. Here are some tips on how to prepare.
If you are moving to an area or building a home you can visit North Carolina's Flood Information Center to learn about the flooding risk of that location. If your home is an area that is at risk of flooding, take some necessary precautions such as:
- Create an emergency plan for your family, pets and others you may be responsible for during a flood.
- Purchasing flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Have a list of your belongings to help with insurance claims.
- Place your valuables and important documents in waterproof containers and place them above the base flood elevation.
- Retrofit your property by elevating utilities and other mechanical units above the base flood elevation.
- Elevate your home so the lower floors are above the base flood elevation.
- If you live in one of North Carolina’s 21 coastal counties, make sure to Know Your Zone in case you need to evacuate.
- Regardless of where you live be sure to know the evacuation routes in your area.
- Remember, if you must evacuate, your pets will too, so be familiar with which shelters are pet-friendly shelters.
- Sign up for emergency notifications.
More information: Protect Your Property from Flooding (fema.gov)
During a Flood
- Visit the NC Flood Inundation Mapping and Alert Network where you’ll find information on rain and stage gauge data, flood inundation maps, flooding impacts and alerts in real-time.
- Locate to higher ground.
- Turn around. Don’t drown.
- A foot of water can sweep a car off the road.
- Do not walk in water above your ankles. You can easily be swept away in as little as 6 inches of water.
- Obey barricades that have been placed on the road for safety.
- Avoid areas near drainage channels or streams. These are the first areas to flood.
- If you must evacuate:
- Secure your home before leaving.
- Turn off the electricity.
- Move items of value to higher ground (second floor, attic, countertops, etc.).
- If you are unable to evacuate,
- Move to the highest point of the building you are in, and only get on the roof as a last resort. Avoid getting into a closed attic where you may get trapped.
- Call 911.
- Use clothing as flags to alert first responders.
- Continue to monitor the weather.
After a Flood
- Stay in one safe place and avoid roads until deemed safe by authorities.
- Always be alert - Flash flooding is inconsistent and can still happen following disaster.
- Avoid water in the aftermath. It may be electrically charged from power lines.
- Return home only when it has been deemed safe by authorities.
- Be mindful of wildlife (snakes, etc.) that could be in your home when you return.
- Use bottled water until tap water is cleared for use by authorities.
- Disinfect and deep clean everything that got wet.
- Use facemasks and other personal protective equipment when cleaning to help prevent illness from mold and other debris.
- Be mindful of scams. People may try to take advantage of those in need of home repairs, etc.
For more information on what to do before, during and after a flood visit: Floods | Ready.gov