Flash Flood Survival Guide

Surviving a natural disaster is no easy task. While you may know how to survive hurricanes, tornadoes, or fires, how familiar are you with flash floods? Read on to learn how what flash floods are and how to survive them!


wave crashing down

What Are Flash Floods?

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, flash floods are quick-acting floods caused by heavy rain, melting snow, or even broken dams. They are the most common type of weather-related natural disaster, claiming more annual property damage in the United States than anything else.

Flash floods generally strike fast but drain soon after; however, some can linger for days or even weeks. Because they can hit so unexpectedly, it is best to be prepared for the dangers and damage that they can inflict. We’ll get to the best methods of preparation in a bit, but let’s focus on the dangers presented by flash floods first.


flood water on building wall

Dangers of Flash Floods

During a normal rain shower, water is absorbed by the ground as it falls, preventing any standing water. However, heavier water flow can overwhelm the storm drains and water systems of a city, causing rapidly rising water levels. When this process happens quickly enough, a dangerous flash flood can emerge.

But how can water be so dangerous?

The dangers of flash floods stem from the sheer power of moving water. Did you know that it only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock a grown individual off their feet? This power grows stronger as water levels rise, creating a serious risk of damage to both life and property. What appears to be a simple stream of water can be the driving force behind incredible danger and  destruction, so take careful precautions in the face of rushing water.

Important Keys to Survival

Now that we have a solid understanding of the causes and dangers of flash floods, let’s get into some tips to help you prepare and survive such a dangerous weather-related disaster.

  • Avoid driving into a flooded street—more flash flood deaths occur in vehicles than any other way.
  • Seek the high ground. Water flows down, so move up!
  • Remember that no climate is exempt from flash floods. They can strike anytime, anywhere!
  • Keep an eye on the forecast. Heavy rains, especially after a dry spell, could form ideal flash flood conditions.
  • Make a plan of where you will go, what you will bring, and what you will do if a flash flood occurs.

The most important aspect of survival is to be prepared. Preparation will help you to stay calm, think rationally, and make the best decision to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the dangers presented by flash floods. Remember these tips, and you’ll be completely ready to face (and survive) these powerful displays of the strength of water.

For more helpful tips to survival, be sure to check out the full Prepper’s Base blog.