Hurricane Dorian: Why flooding might be the worst-case scenario

As Hurricane Dorian heads toward a probable landfall in Florida, forecasters are warning that the system could slow to a crawl, allowing it to dump inches of rain on an already soggy Central Florida.

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The National Hurricane Center is forecasting that Dorian could bring rainfall amounts between 6 and 12 inches – 18 inches in isolated areas – across the Florida peninsula next week.

The rain, forecasters say, could last for days.

The good news? You have some time to prepare. You can learn if you home is in a flood-prone area and how to make a plan of action.

What can a foot of rain do to your property? What happens in a flash flood? Here are some flood facts from

What to do

  • If your home is under a flash flood warning, evacuate if told to do so.
  • Click here to find evacuation routes for Florida residents and visitors.
  • Sign up for your community's warning system. Type in your town's name and the word "alerts" to get a link to the warning system. You can sign up from there.
  • To stay safe during a flood, go to the highest floor possible.
  • Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately or if services are cut off.
  • If your skin comes in contact with floodwater, make sure to wash it with soap and disinfected water because the contents of floodwater are unknown.
  • Floodwater can become electrically charged if live power lines are downed in it. If you suspect that is the case, stay away from standing water.
  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies, if you can.
  • If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, then stay inside. If water is rising inside the vehicle, then seek refuge on the roof.
  • Check the flooding risk in your area by going to this flood hazard maps site and entering your address.
  • The government has a Flood Preparedness Disaster Supply Kit PDF available to help you prepare for a flood.

What not to do

  • Do not walk, swim or drive through floodwaters.
  • Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.
  • Do not forget pets. Do not leave them behind. Do not leave them pinned or tied outside.
  • Do not drive in floodwaters.

What can floods do?

  • Six inches of fast-moving water can knock over and carry away an adult.
  • Twelve inches of fast water can carry away a small car.
  • Eight to 24 inches of water can carry away most large SUVs, vans and trucks.
  • In a flash flood, walls of water can be from 10 to 20 feet high.

More information:

Click here for a flood information sheet from FEMA.

Click here for information on how to prepare for a flood.

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