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Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois

Flash Flood Safety

March 12 through 16 is national flood safety awareness week.

A flash flood is a rapid rise in creeks and streams, or serious urban flooding, caused by heavy rain from thunderstorms, which poses a threat to life and property. Floods and flash floods kill more people nationwide than any other storm hazard in most years. In Illinois, most flash floods occur in July and August, and they often occur at night. Last year, one man died in flooding in Sangamon County, Illinois when he drove around a barricade into a flooded road on June 18. Three people died in flooding that occurred in Jo Daviess County July 27 and 28.

About half of all flash flood related deaths occur in vehicles. Don’t drive through flooded roads, especially if the water is moving rapidly. Flooded or washed out roads are especially difficult to see at night. Remember, “Turn around, don’t drown!”

  • Don’t let children play near storm drains, creeks or flooded areas.
  • If you live near a creek or stream, evacuate to higher ground if water rises rapidly or if a flash flood warning is issued.
  • Urban flooding is also potentially dangerous. Heavy rain that results in flooding of streets, viaducts and underpasses in an urban area can pose a threat to motorists. Heavy rain can also result in flooded basements, ponding of water in low spots and rapid flooding of drainage ditches and storm sewer systems.