NWS Jacksonville » Weather Safety » Flood Safety

When a flood watch is issued

  • Be alert to signs of flooding and be prepared to take action if a warning is issued.

When a flood warning is issued

  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood water.
  • Continue monitoring NOAA Weather Radio, television, or emergency broadcast station for information.

Safety tips

  • Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, etc.
  • Avoid already flooded areas. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams.
  • If driving, be aware that the road bed may not be intact under flood waters. Turn around and go another way. NEVER drive through flooded roadways. Nearly half of all flood fatalities are auto-related.
  • If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rising water may engulf your vehicle and its occupants. Remember, it's better to be wet than dead!
  • Be especially cautious at night when it's harder to recognize flooding dangers.
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams during threatening conditions.
  • Children should NEVER play around high water or storm drains.

After the flood

  • If fresh food has come in contact with flood waters, throw it out.
  • Boil drinking water before using. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking. If in doubt, call your local public health authority.
  • Seek necessary medical care at the nearest hospital. Food, clothing, shelter, and first aid are available from the Red Cross.
  • Do not visit flood areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations.
  • Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.
  • Use flashlights (not lanterns, torches, or matches) to examine buildings. Flammables may be inside.
  • Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.

PLEASE NOTE: Some of these safety tips have been modified to fit the general flooding conditions commonly experienced in North Florida and South Georgia. If your area typically experiences "flash flooding" (i.e., areas with more terrain features), consult the web page of your closest National Weather Service Office for more safety tips.


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