Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Not all floods are alike, however. The size can vary greatly, affecting only a small neighborhood or multiple states. Some floods rise slowly over several days due to heavy rain, rapid snow melt, etc.

On the other hand, flash floods can develop in just a few minutes without any local visible signs of rain. These swift, powerful floods can carry boulders and other debris and can sweep away most things in their path. Though they may appear harmless, even small streams and gullies can flood. Flooding can also be caused by shallow ground water or from dam failures.

Despite Irvine's sem-arid climate, we are still subject to flooding.

Facts about Floods

  • Water is extremely powerful!
  • Water may be deeper than you realize.
  • Do not attempt to walk through moving water. As little as six inches of moving water can cause you to fall.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. Six inches of water can cause loss of control or stalling.  One foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of water can sweep away most vehicles including trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
  • If your community is being threatened by a flood, listen to the radio for information. You may be advised to evacuate. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground.
  • Avoid contact with floodwaters. They may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Use caution when returning to areas that have been flooded. Floods may weaken buildings or roadways.

For a flood safety checklist visit the American Red Cross.