Search This Site

Turn Around Don't Drown

cars on residential street caught in flood waters

Floods are among the most common hazards in the US but not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, while others – like flash floods – can develop within a few minutes or hours. Be aware of streams, drainage channels, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.

Know the terms that define a flood hazard --

  • Flood Watch - Flooding is possible; tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television.
  • Flash Flood Watch - Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
  • Flood Warning - Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Flash Flood Warning - A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

Know how to act

  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television.
  • If there is any possibility of a flash flood, don’t wait – move immediately to higher ground.

If you must evacuate, do the following 

  • Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture and move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances.
  • Never touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.


  • Do not walk through moving water.
  • Just six inches of moving water can make you fall.
  • If you have to walk in water, find a place where water is not moving.
  • Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.


  • Remember -- “Turn around Don’t Drown.” The National Weather Service is spear-hearding a campaign to educate motorists of the dangers of driving across flooded roads. To learn more about the campaign and promotional tools, please visit  
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including SUV’s and pick-ups.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground. 
  • If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay in the vehicle. If the water is rising inside the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof.
  • Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go another way.
  • Do not try to take short cuts. They may be blocked. Stick to designated evacuation routes.
  • Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
  • In direct response to so many unnecessary vehicle-related flood deaths, the National Weather Service (NWS) developed a national campaign called

What else you can do: