Flood

THE POINT

Utah experiences flooding every year in many ways, including: rising waterways, flash flooding, flooding after fires, or even sheet flooding as snow rapidly melts. Its important to know your risk and take actions to reduce your risk. Flooding can happen anywhere. So if you're outside of a flood zone, you can still experience flooding.

DO THIS

  • Use the Flood Hazard Map to discover your flood risk.
  • Talk to your insurance provider to see if flood insurance is right for you.
  • Sign up for your community alerts and warnings.
  • Use flood mitigation tips to reduce your risk.

Flooding in Utah

This image describes 5 myths and facts on flooding

Just an inch of water in your home can cause up to $25,000 in damage, and the soil and sediment from denuded ground can cause even more. Flood insurance

from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can help you protect the life you’ve built. Talk to your insurance agent today to get the coverage that’s right for you.

Flood Preparedness

Before a Flood

  • Create a Communications Plan: It is important to be able to communicate with your family and friends in the event of a disaster. Whether it is having a specific person identified to contact for status updates or a safe location to meet up with family members, having a plan in place will give you peace of mind if disaster does strike.

  • Assemble an Emergency Kit: It is good practice to have enough food, water and medicine on hand at all times to last you at least 3 days in the case of an emergency. Water service may be interrupted or unsafe to drink and food requiring little cooking and no refrigeration may be needed if electric power is interrupted. You should also have batteries, blankets, flashlights, first aid kit, rubber boots, rubber gloves, and a NOAA Weather Radio or other battery operated radio easily available.

  • Know Your Risk: Is your home, business or school in a floodplain? Where is water likely to collect on the roadways you most often travel? What is the fastest way to get to higher ground? Knowing the answers to these questions ahead of time can save your life.

  • Sign Up for Notifications: The Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service provides RSS feeds for observed forecast and alert river conditions to help keep the public informed about local water conditions.

  • Prepare Your Home: Sometimes floods develop slowly and forecasters can anticipate where a flood will happen days or weeks before it occurs. Oftentimes flash floods can occur within minutes and sometimes without any sign of rain. Being prepared can save your life and give you peace of mind.

1. If you have access to sandbags or other materials, use them to protect your home from flood waters if you have sufficient time to do so. Filling sandbags can take more time than you may think.
2. Have a professional install check-valves in plumbing to prevent flood waters from backing up into the drains of your home. Make sure your sump pump is working and consider having a backup. Make sure your electric circuit breakers, or fuses, are clearly marked for each area of your home.
3. Since standard homeowners insurance doesn't cover flooding, ensure coverage by contacting your insurance company or agent to purchase flood insurance. This must be done before there is even a threat of flooding as insurance companies stop issuing policies if there is a threat of flooding. Many flood insurance policies take at least 30 days to go into effect so even if you can buy it as a storm is approaching, it may not protect your investment.

  • Prepare your Family/Pets: You may be evacuated, so pack in advance. Don't wait until the last moment to gather the essentials for yourself, your family and/or your pets.

  • Charge Your Essential Electronics: Make sure your cell phone and portable radios are all charged in case you lose power or need to evacuate. Also make sure you have back-up batteries on hand.

  • Leave: If it is likely your home will flood, don't wait to be ordered to leave; evacuate yourself! Make alternative plans for a place to stay. If you have pets, take them with you or make arrangements to board them at a facility well away from the flooding danger.

During a Flood

During a flood, water levels and the rate the water is flowing can quickly change. Remain aware and monitor local radio and television outlets. Avoid flood waters at all costs and evacuate immediately when water starts to rise. Don't wait until it's too late!

  • Stay Informed: Listen to radio and television, including NOAA Weather Radio if possible, check the Internet and social media for information and updates.
  • Get to Higher Ground: If you live in a flood prone area or are camping in a low lying area, get to higher ground immediately.
  • Obey Evacuation Orders: If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Lock your home when you leave. If you have time, disconnect utilities and appliances.
  • Practice Electrical Safety: Don't go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping or popping noises--get out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!
  • Avoid Flood Waters: Don't walk through flood waters. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 if possible. Do NOT drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade; Turn Around, Don't Drown! Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide hazards such as sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc. A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in seconds 12 inches of water can float a car or small SUV, 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles.

After a Flood

When flood waters recede, the damage left behind can be devastating and present many dangers. Images of flood destruction depict destroyed homes and buildings, damaged possessions, and decimated roadways. However, what you can't see can be just as dangerous. Floodwaters often become contaminated with sewage or chemicals. Gas leaks and live power lines can be deadly, but are not obvious at first glance.

  • Stay Informed: Stay tuned to your local news for updated information on road conditions. Ensure water is safe to drink, cook or clean with after a flood. Authorities may ask you to boil water for a while after a flood. Utility companies often have apps to update you on getting service back. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms when areas are dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage. Review generator safety.
  • Avoid Flood Waters: Standing water hides many dangers including toxins and chemicals. There may be sharp objects under the water or the road could have collapsed. If it is likely your home will flood, don't wait for evacuation order, get out! Talk to friends and family about emergency visits. If you have pets, take them with you or get them somewhere safe.
  • Avoid Disaster Areas: Do not visit disaster areas. Your presence may hamper rescue and other emergency operations.
  • Heed Road Closed and Cautionary Signs: Road closure and other cautionary signs are put in place for your safety. Pay attention to them!
  • Wait for the All Clear: Do not enter a flood damaged home or building until you're given the All Clear by authorities. If you enter a flood damaged building, be extremely careful. Water can cause floods to collapse, ceiling to fall, etc. Make sure the electrical system has been turned off. Have the power company or a qualified electrician fix wires. Contact your insurance agent to discuss property damage. If you have a generator, follow proper safety procedures.
  • Contact Your Family and Loved Ones: Let your family and close friends know that you’re okay so they can help spread the word. Register with or search the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well listing.

Issues may arise in identifying reliable resources for property damages and debris
removal following natural disasters. Important factors for residents and community
leadership to be aware of:

  • Companies, individuals, and volunteers may come to your neighborhood door-to-door offering their services.
  • Contractors need building/floodplain permits when doing work on structures and property, especially in Special Flood Hazard Areas.
  • Beware of contractors promising no permits required or saying that the city has “waived that permit.”
  • Contact your county or city for permitting requirements or potential fee waivers.
  • Contact your insurance company, county, or city for a potential list of reputable companies for post disaster cleanup.

Additional Resources for Protective Actions

Resources Verified for Post Disaster Cleanup

Flash Flooding

This infographic describes 3 steps for flash flood safety

Flood After Fire

Wildfires can dramatically alter terrain and vegetation, but did you know they cause flood risk to increase? Large-scale wildfires leave the ground charred, barren, and unable to absorb water. This puts residents living in and around areas affected by wildfires at greater risk of flooding until vegetation is restored, which can take up to five years or more.

This image is a flood after fire infographic provided by FEMA describing how fires can lead to flash floods and mudflows

This is an infographic describing how mudflows happen after fires

Think You Don’t Need Flood Insurance? Think Again

No home is completely safe from potential flooding. When just one inch of water in a home can cause up to $25,000 in damage, flood insurance can be the difference between recovery and financial devastation. Flood insurance brings you peace of mind, even if…

You already have a homeowners insurance policy.

Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Only flood insurance covers the cost of rebuilding after a flood.

Your community has never flooded.

Flooding can happen anywhere at any time. Poor drainage systems, summer storms, melting snow, neighborhood construction, and broken water mains can all result in flooding.

In high-risk areas, there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.

You live outside of the high-risk flood area.

Even though flood insurance isn’t required for your property, flooding can happen to anyone. In fact, from 2014 to 2018, policyholders outside of high-risk flood areas filed over 40 percent of all NFIP flood insurance claims and required one-third of federal disaster assistance for flooding.

You’re renting a property.

It’s likely your landlord has flood insurance that covers the building, but not its contents. Affordable, contents-only flood insurance will help you protect the items inside of your unit in the event of a flood.

Your home flood damage could be covered by federal disaster assistance.

FEMA’s Individual and Household program is only available if the President declares a major disaster declaration, and most flood events do not result in a declaration. Disaster assistance typically comes in the form of loans that must be repaid — with interest!

Disaster assistance from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration is designed to kick-start recovery but is not enough to restore your home to its pre-disaster condition or to replace your treasured household items.

Flood insurance does not have to be paid back, and it is designed to restore your property to its pre-disaster condition. There is no better way to protect the life you’ve built than with NFIP flood insurance.

Community: Floodplain Management Standards

This is an infographic describing the value of NFIP floodplain management standards

Here are some simple steps to get started on floodplain management in your community:

  1. Know your flood risks: Once you know your risks you can begin to address them. You can use the FEMA Flood Hazard Map to find out the flood risk in your community. You can also find the definition of your flood zone here.
  2. Join the NFIP: Joining the NFIP means that your residents and businesses owners can get federally backed flood insurance. It also means your community becomes eligible for federal grants to help you reduce flood risk, and it makes your citizens eligible for disaster assistance.
  3. Build higher and safer: Be sure to maintain the NFIP standards and continue to adopt higher standards and mitigation strategies. The NFIP standards are minimum standards. Making building requirements higher than NFIP standards can result in lower flood risk and lower flood insurance cost.
  4. Plan for future conditions and development: Conditions are changing in Utah. Whether is is population growth, weather patterns or other factors, what your community is like today may be different that what it will be like in ten to twenty years. Start planning for that change now.
  5. Join the Community Rating System (CRS) program: Communities that go beyond the NFIP minimum standards can receive recognition from the CRS program which translates into discounts of up to 45% for policy holders.

Remember, every dollar spent on mitigation is an investment to avoid future losses and saves money. More importantly sound floodplain management can make a difference in peoples lives today and in the future. Visit https://www.fema.gov/floodplain-management for more information.

 

FEMA Flood Hazard Map

Interactive map of flood risks near you. Also find the definition of your flood zone here.

Interactive Flood Hazard Map

FloodVR.com

Experience a flood in this virtual reality experience with your computer or mobile device.

FloodVR.com
Image saying Private Sector Preparedness Council

Tommy the Turtle: Rising Water

Children's book that teaches flood safety awareness.

Flood Book
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