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Flood Watch Versus Flood Warning and How to Prepare

2024-07-05 15:11


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  • A flood watch and a flood warning are two very different weather events. If you suffer flood damage, call SERVPRO®. We offer 24-hour emergency services for water damage restoration and emergency water extraction.

    Flooding is the most widespread and costly weather-related natural disaster that the United States faces every year. Primarily caused by heavy or prolonged rain, dams or levees breaking, or the rapid melting of snow or ice, floods can leave a trail of extensive damage behind. Floods are capable of wreaking havoc on communities, infrastructure, and ecosystems. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy noted, “Water-related hazards continue to increase in frequency, with 1000-year events becoming much more common.” With the continual rise in flooding and extensive damage caused, understanding flooding terminology is essential to best protect you and your home.  

    What is a Flood Watch? 

    A flood watch is issued to inform the public that conditions are favorable for flooding. A flood watch indicates that flooding is a possibility within the next 24-48 hours. During a flood watch, it is important to check flood action plans, stay informed of weather alerts and updates, and prepare to take necessary action if a warning is issued.  

    What is a Flood Warning? 

    According to The National Weather Service, “A flood or flash flood warning is issued to inform the public that flooding is imminent or in progress.  It focuses on specific counties, communities, streams, or areas. Flash Flood Warnings are issued for flooding usually occurring within 6 hours of heavy rain.” The National Weather Service may include details on what areas and roads are blocked, evacuation procedures, and safety tips in a flood warning alert. During a flood warning, be prepared to evacuate and follow the preparation tips listed below.  

    How to Prepare Before a Flood 

    The best time to prepare for a flood is well before its occurrence. Some floods develop slowly, but flash floods can occur within minutes or hours. The following tips can best prepare you and your home for flooding.  

    • Remain alert by receiving warnings and public safety information before, during, and after emergencies.  
    • Research your property to find out if it is in a flood-prone or high-risk area. 
    • Ensure you have a plan on how to access higher ground quickly if necessary. 
    • Assemble a flood emergency kit.  

    How to Prepare for a Flood Watch 

    • Tune into the weather radio or local news station for updated reports.  
    • Stay on the lookout for fluctuating weather conditions and prepare to possibly move to higher ground.  
    • Fasten outdoor objects to the ground or bring anything inside that could be damaged or swept away.  
    • To prevent damage, elevate any items stored in your basement. 
    • Follow instructions given by public safety officials.  

    How to Prepare for a Flood Warning 

    • Immediately stay on or move to high ground.  
    • Check news media for emergency information and updates.  
    • Take immediate action if advised to evacuate and follow instructions from public safety officials.  
    • If necessary to evacuate your home, bring only essential items with you.  

    Safety Tips for Evacuating During a Flood 

    • Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you away. Do not walk through moving water.  
    • “Turn Around, Don’t Drown!” is an important phrase to remember to not drive through flooded roads. In only two feet of flowing water, a car can be swept away.  
    • Never drive around road barriers as roads and bridges may be blocked off due to them being structurally unsound or washed out.  

    SERVPRO’s Water Damage Cleanup Service 

    SERVPRO® has devoted decades to commercial and residential cleanup, repair, and construction services. That’s why property owners know they can always trust SERVPRO. From everything from a flooded basement to a leaky appliance, our uniquely trained professionals have the tools and equipment to get the job done right. And we even navigate the insurance process for you to make your entire restoration experience smoother. Ahead of the storm, you can count on the SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team®. Our teams are strategically placed ahead of the storm so that we can move in to help when the storm passes. You can trust SERVPRO for the smallest, and the biggest, storm cleanup, repair, and restoration services. 

    SERVPRO is Here to Help® 

    When you’re faced with a flooding emergency, call SERVPRO. Each of our 2250 locations in the United States and Canada are always available to everyone. We answer the phone at any time of the day or night, and we offer everyone 24-hour emergency services.  

    Established in 1967, SERVPRO has become the #1 choice in fire and water cleanup and restoration*. Contact your local SERVPRO today for full-service cleanup, restoration, and construction services. After a flood, whether you require help with water damage cleanup, mold damage remediation, odor removal, document restoration, or more, SERVPRO franchises are Here to Help® and look forward to helping to restore your peace of mind and your property.  

    For more information, check out our Water Damage Resources

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