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Flooding is an overflow of water that can range from a few inches deep to fully submerging entire buildings. Flooding can occur when rivers and lakes cannot contain excessive rain or snow melt, or when rain cannot be absorbed fully into the ground. Flooding can also occur when waterways overflow due to debris or ice, when winds from tropical storms or hurricanes cause storm surge in coastal areas, or when water containment systems (such as levees, dams, pipes) break.
Flooding is the most common hazard in Massachusetts. Some floods develop slowly, while flash floods can occur within minutes or hours after a storm or containment system break.
It is important to understand the difference between watch and warning so you know what to do to stay safe.
Flooding or flash flooding in your area is possible. Pay attention to changing weather and flood conditions, and be prepared to move to higher ground.
Flooding is occurring or about to occur. Avoid low lying areas and if necessary, evacuate.
A flash flood is occurring or about to occur. Seek higher ground immediately.
Listen to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio or to a local news station for the latest information.
Follow instructions given by public safety officials. •Be alert to changing weather conditions and be ready to move to higher ground.
Consider postponing outdoor activities.
Tie down or bring in outdoor objects (patio furniture, children's toys, trash cans, etc.) that could be swept away or damaged during flooding.
Consider unplugging sensitive electronic equipment before flooding occurs. But, do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
Elevate items stored in your basement to prevent damage. If you have a sump pump, check that it is working.
Consider clearing street catch basins to prevent or reduce street flooding.
Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, creeks, or other areas prone to flooding during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood rapidly and with little warning.
Clean Up Your Home and Check for Damage