Dam failures or levee breaches can occur with little warning, sometimes within hours - or less - of the first signs of structural concerns. Dams can fail for one or a combination of the following reasons:
- Overtopping caused by floods that exceed the capacity of the dam
- Structural failure of materials used in construction
- Movement and/or failure of the foundation
- Settlement and cracking of concrete or embankment
- Piping and internal erosion of soil in embankment dams
- Inadequate maintenance and upkeep
- Deliberate acts of sabotage
- A Flood Watch means there is a possibility of flooding or a flash flood watch.
- A Flash Flood Watch means flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground. A flash flood can occur without any warning.
- A Flood Warning means a flood is occurring or will likely occur soon. If you are advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- An Excluded Area (Zone X) on a FEMA flood map is an area that is protected by a dam or levee that would otherwise be in the Special Flood Hazard Area, or "100-year floodplain"; properties in excluded zones are not required to carry flood insurance to get a mortgage, but owners should strongly consider it regardless.
- An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is a formal document that identifies potential emergency conditions at a dam and specifies actions to be followed to minimize loss of life and property damage.
What to Do
Before (Preparedness / Mitigation)
- Sign up online for Wayne County Alerts and have a battery or crank-powered NOAA weather radio available.
- Decide early whether you will evacuate, and where you will go if ordered to leave.
- Disconnect electrical appliances.
- Know if your residence or business is in a floodplain or an "excluded area" that is protected by a dam or levee but would otherwise be within the Special Flood Hazard Area.
- Apply for flood insurance, even if you may be in an "excluded area" or otherwise not be required to do so.
- Learn First Aid.
- Refer to Power Outage/Blackout and Medical Emergency Annexes.
- If you encounter rising water, move to higher ground immediately.
- Always stay clear from floodwaters.
- Do not drive through flooded roads - "turn around, don't drown."
- Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of shock or electrocution.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- Return home when local officials say it is safe.
- Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.
- Do not eat any food that may have come in contact with floodwater. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Remove all porous items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and that cannot be cleaned and dried. These items can remain a source of mold growth and should be removed from the home.
- Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.