You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Flash Floods Threaten; Red Cross Issues Safety Steps

Flooded River
Flash floods occur very suddenly as waters rise rapidly along streams or in low-lying areas.

Flash flooding is threatening residents through Thursday on both sides of the country, especially in the Southwest, Central Plains and Mid-Atlantic states. The American Red Cross urges people to be aware of the flooding threat and offers steps they can take to remain safe.

In New Mexico, Arizona and parts of Texas, heavy thunderstorms could drop several inches of rain, leading to flooding. A storm front is also expected to drop heavy rain from the Mid-Atlantic region westward to the Plains and Tennessee Valley. Parts of New England could also see strong storms and flash floods.

Flash floods occur very suddenly as waters rise rapidly along streams or in low-lying areas. A flash flood watch means flooding is possible in the area. A flash flood warning means flooding is already happening or will occur soon.

If someone’s neighborhood is under a flash flood watch, they should prepare now in case they are ordered to leave the area. They should pack the following items:

  • A three-day supply of water – a gallon of water per person for everyone in the household.
  • A three-day supply of non-perishable food for household members.
  • A flashlight and battery-powered or hand-crank radio, and extra batteries.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Medications and medical items like glasses, contact lenses, canes.
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items like toothbrushes.
  • Important papers like deeds to homes and insurance policies.
  • Extra cash.
  • If a flood warning is issued for someone’s community, they should head for higher ground and stay there. Other safety steps include:

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you are walking and encounter flooding, stop, turn around and go another way. If you are driving, turn around and go another way. Do not attempt to drive through flooding.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to see flood dangers.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • Full details about how to stay safe during flooding are available in the preparedness section of this web site. You can also download the Red Cross flooding safety checklist.

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.