Flood Safety Tips

Did you know that in certain flooding conditions, a vehicle can be washed away in less than 12 inches of fast-moving floodwater? Conditions that cause floods include heavy rain for several hours or days that saturate the ground. In Texas, flash flooding is dangerous because it occurs suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area, leaving little time for affected residents to evacuate their home or business, or their car if attempting to drive across a flooded roadway. Because flash floods can be sudden, roadways can be covered in swiftly moving floodwater, making them unsafe and impassable. Most flood-related deaths are due to motorists attempting to cross a flooded low-water crossing or road. Know your flood risk, and ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown®”!

Before the Flood:

  1. Check with the Building and Development Department (361) 790-1125 on the extent of past flooding in your area. Department staff can tell you about the causes of repetitive flooding, what the City is doing about it, and what would be an appropriate flood protection level. They can also visit your property to discuss flood protection alternatives.
  2. Prepare for flooding by doing the following:
    • Know the flood safety guidance discussed later in this article.
    • Know how to shut off the electricity and gas to your house when a flood comes.
    • Make a list of emergency numbers and identify a safe place to go.
    • Make a household inventory.
    • Put insurance policies, valuable papers, medicine, etc., in a safe place.
    • Develop a disaster response plan (See the Red Cross’ Web site: Red Cross Disasters for a copy of the brochure "Your Family Disaster Plan").
    • Get a copy of ‘Repairing Your Flooded Home,’ which can be found on the Red Cross’ Website as well at Red Cross Disasters
  3. Consider some permanent flood protection measures.
    • Mark your fuse box to show the circuits to the floodable areas. Turning off the power to these floodable areas can reduce property damage (fires) and save lives. Consider flood protection alternatives such as flood walls or berms.
    • Note that some flood protection measures may require permits. Please check with the Code Enforcement Building Inspections Department for more information.
    • A copy of ‘Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding’ are available at no charge to download from FEMA.
  4. Talk to the Building and Development Office for information on potential financial assistance.
    • City staff can provide information on Federal or State grants or loans that homeowners might be able to pursue to elevate their buildings or to implement other flood-reduction measures.
    • Flood insurance provides financial assistance to recover from flood damages. Flood insurance can help pay for repairs after a flood and, in some cases, it can help pay the cost of elevating substantially damaged buildings.
  5. Get a flood insurance policy.
    • Homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. However,
      some owners have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank when they received a mortgage or home improvement loan.
    • Don’t wait until the next flood to buy flood insurance protection. In most cases, there is a 30-day waiting period before the National Flood Insurance Program coverage takes effect.
    • Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage. If your insurance agent does not offer FEMA flood insurance, visit Flood Smart to find a local agent who carries the flood insurance rider or call the 361-790-1125 for assistance.

During/After the flood: 

  • Ask a licensed electrician, plumber, etc., to check or turn on your power, water, and/or gas.
  • Do not wade through flood waters due to the danger of pollutants, debris (nails, glass, etc.), and animals (snakes, ants, etc.).
  • Flood waters are often murky and depth is hard to determine. Do not drive through flood waters! Turn around, don’t drown!
  • If emergency evacuation is necessary, please heed the warnings of the City’s Office of Emergency Management and follow the instructions to evacuate - it saves lives of those around you and possibly of the emergency workers responding.

For more helpful tips, check out these links:

Family Flood Help

Flood Help Portal