Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters, and they often occur in Alaska in the spring. According to the National Weather Service, the spring breakup flood potential is above average this year, due to the current snowpack, temperature forecasts and reports of ice thickness from around the state. Because the potential for floods along many of Alaska’s rivers this spring is high, it’s important to learn what you can do now to keep your loved ones safe.
Turn around, don’t drown! Stay off roadways. If you must drive and you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and go another way.
- If you are caught on a flooded roadway and waters are rising around you, exit the vehicle quickly and move to higher ground. Most vehicles can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Head for higher ground and stay there.
Tune into your local radio, NOAA radio or news channels for the latest updates.
- If your community is prone to flooding, prepare to evacuate quickly if necessary.
- Follow evacuation orders and don’t return until local officials say it is safe.
Stay away from floodwaters.
- Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwaters.
- If power lines are down, don’t step in standing water.
Check the outside of your home before you enter. Look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, missing support beams and other damage.
- If the door is jammed, don’t force it open — it may be providing support to the rest of your home. Find another way to get inside.
- If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, leave the property immediately and get far away from it. Call the fire department or local officials after you reach safety.
- If power is out, use a flashlight. Don’t use candles or any open flame for lighting.
Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots, and be cautious when cleaning up.
- Throw out items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected. This includes mattresses, carpeting, stuffed animals and baby toys.
- Discard all food, beverages and medicine exposed to floodwaters and mud. When in
doubt, throw it out.
Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for real-time weather alerts, open shelters and expert advice on floods.
- The Emergency App includes an “I’m Safe” feature that helps people check on loved ones.
- Search “American Red Cross” in app stores, or go to redcross.org/apps.
To learn more from the National Weather Service on what types of flooding are typical in Alaska, visit weather.gov/safety/flood-states-ak.
To read more Red Cross flood safety tips to help keep you and your family safe this spring, please visit redcross.org/flood.