It’s important to understand what it means to live behind a levee. No levee is flood-proof, flooding will happen. You need to be prepared to act when a flood occurs because the sooner you act, the better off you will be. To learn about levee lingo and four important facts you should know about levees, we encourage you to read this booklet and mentally prepare yourself.
Make a Plan
There are things you can do before a flood happens to protect your family and property. If you live behind a levee, make a plan and take steps to reduce the risk of flood damage. Your plan should include how to communicate, when to shelter in place, when to evacuate and where to meet. Don’t forget about pets and practice, practice, practice! For tips, ideas and simple forms to help document your plan, please visit the following resources:
- American Red Cross: Family Disaster Plan Templates
- Cowlitz County Emergency Management: Disaster Preparedness
- Ready.org: Plan Ahead
Build a Kit
In the event of disaster, first responders may not be immediately available to help you. Being prepared means taking responsibility for yourself and your loved ones. Have basic supplies on hand and keep them in an easy-to-carry kit that you can take with you if you have to evacuate. Make sure you have enough supplies for three days! For a list of basic supplies you should have on-hand, and ideas about other items you may want to include based on the type of disaster most likely to impact this community, please visit the following resources:
Watch the River
The river stage can change quickly. A flood "watch" means a flood is possible in your area. A flood "warning" means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. Know exactly how high the water in the river is right now, and how high it is expected to get.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
In fall and winter, one inch of rain can generate 434 million gallons of stormwater, which causes the rivers to swell and directly impacts our pumping operations. In spring, a warm spell can cause a sudden thaw and flooding as snowpack melts too quickly. The forecast may change but it pays to be in the know!
Know what to look for before, during and after a flood happens. Sign up with Cowlitz County for emergency community notifications to receive emergency alerts via telephone, cellular phone or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This system is already programmed with listed and unlisted landline phone numbers, but you must register your cellular phone or VoIP phone in order to receive mobile alerts.