Floods are a common hazard in Blaine County, however not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, while others such as flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Additionally, floods can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting an entire river basin. Planning for and being prepared for floods will help you stay safe.
The Blaine County GIS staff has prepared a new web “flood story” page with current water and flood information for Blaine County: Impacts of a Record Water Year Story Map.
Basic Flood Safety Tips
- Turn around, don’t drown!
- Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
- Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
- If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground. Flash floods are the Number 1 cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S.
- If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.
- Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
Before A Flood
- Know your flood risk.
- Make your personal emergency plan.
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
- Consider buying flood insurance.
- Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to get to higher ground, the highest level of a building, or to evacuate.
- Check this Blaine County “Local Flood Resource List (PDF)” for information on stream alteration permits, sand bags, pumps, water bladders, excavation contractors, and clean-up services.
- Stay tuned to your phone alerts, TV, or radio for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders. You can sign up for Blaine County Alert Notifications.
- Proper sand bagging procedures and techniques to follow: Army Corp of Engineers Sand Bag Procedures (PDF) and Flood Control Procedures - Sand Bagging (PPT).
During A Flood
A flood watch equals “be aware.” Conditions are right for flooding to occur in your area.
Steps to Take
- Turn on your TV/radio. You will receive the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
- Know where to go. You may need to reach higher ground quickly and on foot.
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
Prepare Your Home
- Bring in outdoor furniture and move important indoor items to the highest possible floor. This will help protect them from flood damage.
- Disconnect electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. You could be electrocuted.
- If instructed, turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch or valve. This helps prevent fires and explosions.
A Flood Warning equals “take action!” Flooding is either happening or will happen shortly.
Steps to Take
- Move immediately to higher ground or stay on high ground.
- Evacuate if directed.
- Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and two feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
After A Flood
- Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded and watch out for debris. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways.
- Do not attempt to drive through areas that are still flooded.
- Avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.
- Before you return home, review this guide on how to deal with mold: Homeowner’s and Renter’s Guide to Mold Cleanup After Disasters (PDF).
- Follow the excellent step-by-step advice from FEMA and the Red Cross on how flooded property owners can clean-up, rebuild, and get help after a flood: Repairing Your Flooded Home (PDF).
- Local water damage restoration contractors: Water Damage Restoration Contractors (PDF).