Flash floods

Here are some tips about flash floods. Call the Minnetonka Fire Department at 952.939.8598 if you have further questions.

What is flash flooding?
A man stuck in a tree being rescued from a flash flood by boat.Flash flooding is the number one thunderstorm killer. Seventy-five percent of flash flood fatalities occur at night and half of the victims of flash floods die in their vehicles. Be aware, most vehicles can be carried away by two feet of rushing water. Do not venture onto roads where there are barricades indicating a wash out ahead. Be alert to deep water in low spots. Learn flood warning signs and community alert signals.
What is a flash flood watch?
A flash flood watch indicates flash flooding is possible, so move to higher ground. Listen to the radio or television for information.
What is a flash flood warning?
A flash flood warning indicates a flash flood is occurring or will occur soon. If you are advised to evacuate, do so quickly.
What are some tips if a flash flood threatens?
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest weather information.
  • Know how to shut off electricity, gas and water at the main switches and valves if advised to do so by authorities.
  • Check valves installed in sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up in sewer drains. If unsure where they are located, as a last resort, use corks or stoppers to plug shower, tubs, or basins.
  • Move your important records or documents to a safe place away from the flooding property or to an upper floor if there is time.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes, as shortcuts may be blocked.
  • Leave early to avoid being isolated by flooded roads.
What should I do after a flood?
Returning home with authorities after a flash flood.
  • Do not return home until authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • When you return home, help neighbors who may need assistance.
  • Inspect foundations for cracks or damage.
  • Use caution when entering buildings. Look for hazards.
  • If your home is damaged, check the utilities.
  • Stay out of buildings that remain in flood water.
  • Consider the health and safety needs of your family. Wash hands frequently with soap and clean water. Find out if the community water is safe to drink.
  • Throw away any food contaminated by flood water, including canned goods.
  • Pump out flooded basements gradually (1/3 of the water a day) to avoid structural damage.
  • Damaged sewers pose health hazards; have damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems repaired as soon as possible.
  • Beware of debris from flood waters.Avoid contact with flood water, which may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them to the utility company right away.
  • When flood waters recede, be aware roads may have been weakened and can collapse under the weight of vehicles.
  • Listen to the radio for information about where to go to obtain assistance with housing, clothing, and food if needed.
  • Take photos or videotape damage to property for your insurance company. 
  • If you are unaffected by the flood, stay out of the area until officials say it is safe to visit so you don't interfere with emergency operations.