Flooding is the nation's most common natural disaster. Flooding is possible in Delaware. However, all floods are not alike. Some can develop slowly during an extended period of rain, or in a warming trend following a heavy snow. Others, such as flash floods, can occur quickly, even without any visible signs of rain. It's important to be prepared for flooding no matter where you live, but particularly if you are in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even a very small stream or dry creek bed can overflow and create flooding.
Delaware has received its share of flooding during even small storms. Storms in 2006 caused severe flooding in Seaford, DE with over 12 inches of rain. Multiple storms in the early 2000's caused major flooding in the New Castle County community Glenville. Flooding was so bad in the area that the community was bought out by County, State, and Federal partners in a mitigation project to create a park using the land. Think it can't happen here? It can.
Flooding at Wal-Mart in Seaford, DE
Flooding at Greenbank Mill at Prices Corner, DE
- If water has entered a garage or basement, do not walk through it – it may contain hazardous materials.
- Do not try to drive over a flooded road. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately. Attempting to move a stalled vehicle in flood conditions can be fatal.
- If you are asked to leave your property, disconnect all electrical appliances.
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you must walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Stay clear of water that is in contact with downed power lines.
- Do not allow children to play around high water, storm drains or any flooded areas.
- If you are asked to leave your property, shut off electric circuits. If advised by your local utility, shut off gas service as well.
Prepare Your Home For Flooding
- Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
- Consider installing "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
- If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a flood hazard
- Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information
- Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
Flooding in 2003 in New Castle County