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Red Cross Urges Residents to Prepare for Flooding

The American Red Cross reminds local residents to be prepared for heavy rain and the potential for flooding in Western Washington.

“The forecast for the next few days include a flood watch for local rivers with heavy rainfall so people should be aware of the possibility of urban flooding,” said Susan Pelaez, Director of Preparedness & Community Engagement for the American Red Cross. “Drivers should use caution when out on the road.”

Flood Safety Tips:

Eighty percent of those people who die as a result of flooding are in vehicles. If you come upon a barricade, turn around and go another way. If you come upon flood waters, do NOT drive through them; the road could be washed out underneath.

If you are driving and your car stalls, abandon your vehicle and head to higher ground.

If you come upon flood waters or a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, STOP, turn around, and go another way. Never try to walk, swim, or drive through such swift water. If it is moving swiftly, even water six inches deep can sweep you off your feet. You may not be able to see on the surface how fast flood water is moving or see holes or submerged debris. Many people are swept away, resulting in injury or death.

Never play around high water, creek and stream banks, storm drains, ditches, ravines, or culverts in flooded and recently flooded areas. The soaked banks often become unstable due to heavy rainfall and can suddenly give way, tossing you into rapidly moving water. Flood waters may still be rising and it is very easy to be swept away. Stay away.

Be aware of flood hazards. Floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels. Flood waters can reach heights of 10 to 20 feet and often carry a deadly cargo of debris. Flood-producing rains can also trigger catastrophic debris slides.

Regardless of how a flood or flash flood occurs, the rule for being safe is simple: Head for higher ground and stay away from flood waters. Even a shallow depth of fast-moving flood water produces more force than most people imagine. The most dangerous thing you can do is to try walking, swimming, or driving through flood waters.

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The American Red Cross is a non-profit, humanitarian agency dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. For more information, visit