Flash floods are often underestimated, but they prove deadly time and again. The key to give you a greater chance at surviving a flash flood is knowledge and preparedness.
Take the danger seriously and assume that the water is able to carry you off, because it can. 4 inches of fast moving water can make you lose your footing, one foot will make you lose control of your vehicle. If you are being swept away, try to point your legs in the direction in which you are traveling so that you can see ahead of you.
Flash flood warnings are issued locally, so when you receive one, find the highest ground. Do this quickly, as if your life depended on it, BECAUSE IT DOES. Chances are that once on the high ground, you may be cut off on all sides. You may have to climb a tree or a roof. You should stay where you are and not attempt to enter water unless absolutely necessary.
30 seconds that can save your life
If in a car, driving through the water is one of the more exciting ways to die. All joking aside, once your car begins to sink, roll your windows and get out of dodge, FAST. Your seat belt should be unbuckled as soon as you find out that your car is being moved by water. The video below is an excellent example of how to handle yourself.
We cannot stress enough how fast the vehicle can fill up with water, and just how quickly your situation can take a turn from bad to worse. The sudden shock of your car being out of control, the shock of cold water, the shock of SO MUCH WATER rushing into your car… it all can slow you down – at a time when you can’t afford to be slowed down. Rehearse this situation mentally, practice with your family – in all conditions.
Flood water carries a long term risk, as it can be contaminated by dead people, disease carrying animals, sewage or chemicals. When out of the water, get yourself checked out by a doctor as soon as possible to make sure you have not been contaminated or that nothing has laid eggs in you.