Except in the case of flash flooding from thunderstorms, storms or dam failure, the onset of most floods is a relatively slow process - with adequate warning. The build-up usually takes several days. Progressive reports are issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Flooding occurs by several means. Institutions will be notified of possible flooding through all user email, Wayne State College’s voice message system or by monitoring local weather broadcast stations. The notice may include the type and expected duration of the alert:
Flash Flood or Flood Watch - Flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated WATCH area - be alert.
Flash Flood or Flood Warning - Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent - take necessary precautions at once.
Urban or Small Stream Advisory - Flooding of small streams, streets, and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains, IS occurring.
Flash Flood - May occur within minutes or up to six hours of the rain event. Most flash flooding is caused by slow-moving thunderstorms with heavy rains.
Flooding - a longer term event and may last a week or more.
River Flood - Seasonal flooding due to spring rains coupled with melting snows or torrential rains.
Urban Flood - Flooding caused by urbanization of fields and woodlands because the land has lost its ability to absorb rainfall. Streets can become swift moving rivers.
If evacuation is ordered, do so immediately and take the following precautions:
- Avoid areas subject to flooding - dips, low spots, washes, etc.
- Do not attempt to cross-flowing streams. Be aware that the roadbed may not be intact under floodwaters. Turn around and go another way. NEVER drive through flooded roadways.
- If the vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and its occupants and sweep them away. Two feet of water will carry away most vehicles!
- If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, STOP! Turn around and go another way.
In case of flooding (if time allows) before evacuation is enforced, move records and equipment up off the ground onto shelves and tables to prevent damage from minor flooding and turn off/unplug all electrical equipment. In multi-story buildings, items can be moved to an upper level. Store all back-up records off site at a distant site location.
After the flood, when permission to return has been given by emergency personnel or designee:
- Verify that electrical equipment has been checked and dried before returning to service.
- Discard any fresh food that has come in contact with floodwaters.
- Use flashlights, not lanterns, torches or matches to examine buildings. Report broken utilities to appropriate authorities.
- Boil drinking water or use bottled water until local health authorities approve water system.
- Restock any emergency supplies used.