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Additional Information

Information in this section is primarily taken from various other documents on preparing for floods and flash floods throughout the United States. Other sections of the guide are more specific to the Sutter-Yuba area; however, you may find this information useful as well.

Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters. Most communities in the United States can experience some degree of flooding after spring rains, heavy thunderstorms, or winter snow thaws.

Most floods develop slowly over a period of days. Flash floods, however, are like walls of water that develop in a matter of minutes. Flash floods can be cause by intense storms or dam failure.

Flood Planning Considerations:
  • A vast majority of the land in Sutter County is located in a floodplain.
    • To learn about the history of flooding in our area, you might consider the book titled Battling the Inland Sea by Robert Kelly.
    • Learn about flooding by visiting the Sutter County Museum or the Sutter County Library.
    • Learn the elevation of your facility or building in relation to the neighboring streams, rivers, and dams.
    • Floodplain Maps are located at the Sutter County Library and the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce.
  • Stay informed by listening to the evacuation instructions given over the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Pay close attention to the routes given for evacuation as a part of the orders.
  • Establish warning and evacuation procedures for you facility. Make plans for assisting employees who may need transportation.
    • Familiarize yourself with all potential evacuation routes - which could be any primary road in the County - keep a road map of Sutter County handy.
    • Be aware that some routes may be closed due to flooding or the threat of flooding. Know where to find higher ground in case of a flood.
  • Inspect areas of your facility that are subject to flooding during periods of heavy rain.
  • Identify key records and equipment that can and should be moved to a higher location. Make sure plans to move records and equipment in case of flood.
  • If you have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio with a warning alarm tone and battery backup, listen for flood watches and warnings. NOAA uses their own terminology for advising the public regarding flood threat. They are:
    • Flood Watch - Flooding is possible. Stay tuned to NOAA radio. Be prepared to evacuate. Tune to local radio and television stations for additional information.
    • Flood Warning - Flooding is already occurring or will occur soon. Take precautions at once. Be prepared to go to higher ground. If advised, evacuate immediately.
  • Ask your insurance carrier for information about flood insurance. Regular property and casualty insurance does not cover flooding.
  • Consider the feasibility of flood proofing your facility. There are three basic types of methods or measures to be taken:
      1 Permanent Flood Proofing Measures are taken before a flood occurs and require no human intervention when flood waters rise. They include:
    • Filling windows, doors, or other openings with water-resistant materials such as concrete blocks or bricks. This approach assumes the structure is strong enough to withstand flood waters.
    • Installing check valves to prevent water from entering where utility and sewer lines enter the facility.
    • Reinforcing walls to resist water pressure. Sealing walls to prevent or reduce seepage.
    • Building watertight walls around equipment or work areas within the facility that are particularly susceptible to flood damage.
    • Constructing flood levees outside the facility to keep flood waters away.
    • Elevating the facility on walls, columns or compacted fill. This approach is most applicable to new construction, though many types of buildings can be elevated.
      2 Contingent Flood Proofing Measures are also taken before a flood, but require some additional action when flooding occurs. These measures include:
    • Installing watertight barriers call flood shields to prevent the passage of water through doors, windows, ventilation shafts, or other openings.
    • Installing permanent watertight doors.
    • Constructing moveable flood walls.
    • Installing permanent pumps to remove flood waters.
      3 Emergency Flood Proofing Measures are generally less expensive than those listed above, though they require substantial advance warning and do not satisfy the minimum requirements for watertight flood proofing as set forth by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). They include:
    • Building walls with sandbags.
    • Constructing a double row of walls with boards and posts to create a "crib", and then filling the "crib" with soil.
    • Participating in community flood control projects.
    • Acquiring backup systems:
      • Portable pumps to remove flood water.
      • Alternate electrical power sources such as generators and gasoline-powered pumps.
      • Battery-powered emergency lighting.
Remove all valuables from the business before evacuating the area.