Flood Preparedness Week 2019: October 19-26

Banner graphic for California Flood Preparedness Week 2019

Local preparedness events and exercises will be held throughout the state during California Flood Preparedness Week.

Over the past several years, wildfires throughout the state have increased the danger of landslides, mud flows, and debris flows that can rush down fire-scarred hillsides. After wildfires, when rain falls in burn areas, the ground cannot absorb the water, so it flows downhill and may pick up topsoil and debris. On average, debris flows are 10-15 feet high, but they can be deeper than 35 feet, reach 35 miles per hour, and travel miles from where they begin.

Communities and individuals usually have hours or days to prepare for river flooding; however, flash flooding, mud flows, and debris flows happen in a matter of minutes. Early preparation and evacuation is key. It is crucial for people and communities living downslope of a burn area to follow three basic steps:

  • Be aware of your risk: Know whether your home is downslope of a burn area; pay attention to weather forecasts; and listen to local authorities.
  • Be prepared: Always have an emergency evacuation kit ready; be prepared to evacuate early; have a household inventory with copies of critical documents; and have a plan for where you will go in an emergency and what to do with your pets.
  • Take action: Evacuate immediately when advised to. Also, homeowners’ insurance does not cover damage due to flooding; please consider purchasing flood insurance.
Photo of high water mark sign at Big Break Regional Park with partner agency officials

A high water mark sign was unveiled at Big Break Regional Shoreline park in October 2018 to raise public awareness of flood risk.

High Water Mark

Many local communities across California are working with federal and state agencies to place signs that show where flooding has occurred and how deep the water was to increase the public’s awareness of flood risk. Through a partnership between the Delta Protection Commission, DWR, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the East Bay Regional Park District, a sign was installed at the Big Break Regional Shoreline in October 2018. Also in October, the City of Sacramento will install a new high water mark sign at Miller Bend Park.

Our warming climate combines rising sea levels, higher tides, rapid snowmelt, and abrupt river runoff to increase the height, frequency, and impacts of floods. Knowing where past flooding has reached its highest depths can help residents better plan for future emergencies.

How to Contact Us

Find general contact information in the directory, or select the button below to contact the California Flood Preparedness Week planning team.

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Need copies of the Flood Preparedness Activity Book?

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Flood After Fire News Conference Santa Barbara October 2018

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) urges Californians to be proactive and prepare for flooding before the winter storm season begins November 1.