How to Know When a Flood is Coming

Woman falling into flood water GIF
It’s safe to say she didn’t know that was coming.

Knowing when a flash flood is coming is often a job for our clairvoyant counterparts. If you are near a river, keep your ears open for the sound of louder rushing water and move away if you hear it. Here are some examples of flash floods that took people by surprise (viewer discretion advised). If heavy rain is the source of a flash flood, you’ll hopefully receive a notification on your device with a warning and instructions on what to do.

Move to higher ground whenever possible. If you’re near a rising flood while you’re in your car, leave the car and go to higher ground on foot. Decide quickly; you shouldn’t go on foot if water is deeper than three inches, since it will become more and more dangerous as it rises. If water is moving quickly around your car, do not exit the car.

Other floods are a bit easier to predict. Floods with slowly rising water are usually accompanied by a series of notifications and instructions from local authorities and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It’s important to know the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning. A watch means that the conditions are favorable for a flood to occur, and a warning means that flooding is either imminent or has already started, especially if you live in a floodplain or a low-lying region that borders water.


Flood Watch: Watch out, it could be here soon!
Flood Warning: Molly, you in danger, girl.

If a flood is headed your way, you’ll be ready after practicing your flood prep drills.

About the Authors

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

Katherine Esperanza is a Los Angeles based writer. When she's not conjuring new queer slice-of-life short stories, she's busy watching the newest films, out at queer shows, supporting queer artists, or just checking out the queer community as a whole.

A former international non-profiteer, small business owner, and co-op'er, Katherine is delighted to help introduce more leftist politics into the disaster preparedness/prepper sphere, which is currently far too right-wing.