Know what to do if flash flooding hits your area

June 17, 2024

Floodwaters cover a road in rural Minnesota

With all the rain Minnesota has seen this year, flooding is a real possibility in much of our state this week.

The National Weather Service Twin Ci​ties is warning of flooding along Minnesota rivers and thunderstorms that could bring flash flooding to many of us. Rainfall totals are expected to range from 3 to 6 inches, with isolated amounts up to 10 inches, making this a potential once-in-a-decade flooding event. Significant flooding of rivers, small streams, and renewed riverine flooding is likely across parts of Minnesota throughout the week.

While our Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) division is preparing in case the flooding turns into a disaster, we're encouraging you to be ready when the storm hits. Flash flooding can happen at any time during a thunderstorm.

Below are some guidelines for keeping safe during a flash flood watch:

  • Be prepared to evacuate and go to high ground immediately.
  • Get out of areas subject to flooding, such as low spots, canyons, washes, etc.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it's harder to recognize flood dangers. Most flash-flood deaths occur at night when it's difficult to gauge just how deep the water is.
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
  • Listen to radio and TV reports; check the internet and social media for updates from local authorities.
  • Understand the difference between a flash flood watch and a flash flood warning. A flash flood watch means that flooding is possible. A warning means that flooding is happening now or will happen soon.

If you do experience a flash flood, following these suggestions can keep you safe:

  • Stay out of floodwater, even if it is in your house. Floodwater may contain dangerous debris and could be contaminated with sewage, insects or animals. Water that covers outlets, appliances or cords may contain an active electrical current.
  • Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream on foot. When it's moving fast, even water only six inches deep can knock you off your feet.
  • Remember, “Turn Around, Don't Drown!" Never drive through flooded areas or standing water. Shallow, swiftly flowing water can wash a car from a roadway. Also, the roadbed may not be intact under the water.
  • If the vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and its occupants.

 Learn more about flood safety on our website.​