Winter Storm Information

Please visit the Winter Storm 2023 event page for updated information.

Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop. Flooding can happen in any U.S. state or territory. It is particularly important to be prepared for flooding if you live in a low-lying area near a body of water, such as a river, stream, or culvert; along a coast; or downstream from a dam or levee.

Failing to evacuate flooded areas, entering floodwaters, or remaining after a flood has passed can result in injury or death. Stay out of floodwaters and avoid moving water. Do not try to walk, swim or drive through moving water. As little as six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. Two feet of water is enough to carry away a passenger vehicle.

Flooding can occur in several ways, including the following:

  • Rivers and lakes cannot contain excessive rain or snowmelt.
  • Excessive rain or snowmelt cannot be fully absorbed into the ground.
  • Waterways are blocked with debris or ice and overflow.
  • Water containment systems break, such as levees, dams, or water or sewer systems.
  • Strong winds from tropical storms or hurricanes cause a storm surge by pushing seawater onto land.

The speed and duration of flooding can vary significantly.

  • Flooding can occur slowly as rain continues to fall for many days. This type of flooding, sometimes called a slow-onset flood, can take a week to develop and can last for months before floodwaters recede.
  • Rapid-onset floods occur more quickly, typically developing within hours or days. These types of floods usually occur in smaller watersheds experiencing heavy rainfall, particularly in mountainous and urban areas, and the water usually recedes within a few days.
  • Some rapid-onset floods known as flash floods occur very quickly with little or no warning, such as during periods of extremely heavy rain or when levees, dams, ice jams, or water systems break. Densely populated areas are at a high risk for flash floods. In urban areas, flash floods can fill underpasses, viaducts, parking structures, low roads, and basements.

San Joaquin Public Health - Flood Preparedness Public Health provides specific information to keep you healthy and safe during a flood

Preparing for a flood Download this document that explains how to protect yourself and your property and steps you can take now, so you can act quickly when you, your home, our your business is in danger

What to do during a flood emergency Ready.Gov provides specific information on preparing for flood

Red Cross - Flood Safety Information from American Red Cross on flood safety

Protect your home a nearby Levee What you should know to protect your home and loved ones from floods

Sand Bag How-To Video This video demonstrates how to fill and stack sandbags to protect your home or business

List of Sand Bag Vendors This list of vendors in and around San Joaquin County was developed to aid you in locating resources for sandbags and sand. San Joaquin County does not provide these items directly to the public. Some cities may choose to provide these items depending upon the situation, so if you are in an incorporated city, you may reach out to your city

Septic Systems - What to Do after the Flood Helpful information for those with septic systems

Flood insurance information you need to know:

Do I live in a flood plain? FEMA Flood Map Service Center - allows you to type your address into the tool to show your community’s flood map and better understand your risk.

Even if you don’t live in a high risk flood area, you’re still at risk of flood damage. In fact, 20% of flood claims are filed in low to moderate risk flood areas. For more information visit FEMA’s Flood Insurance page

According to the Insurance Information Institute, “Flood insurance covers direct physical losses from floods and losses resulting from flood related erosion caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels and accompanied by a severe storm, flash flood, abnormal tide surge or a similar situation that results in flooding.”

Facts about flood insurance

What’s covered under flood insurance:
Building property flood insurance (coverage for your home) covers things like electrical and plumbing systems, carpet, foundation walls and appliances. Personal property flood insurance must be purchased separately and covers things like furniture, clothing, washers and dryers, curtains and artwork.

What isn’t covered under flood insurance:
Damage to your home or personal property caused by moisture, mildew or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner isn’t covered under flood insurance. Damage caused by earth movement, additional living expenses like temporary housing and vehicles are also not covered under flood insurance and require other types of coverage to be properly insured.

This FEMA publication warns homeowners that most homeowners insurance policies do not cover floods. It also explains that federal disaster assistance cannot be relied on for flood events because most floods do not result in a Presidential Disaster Declaration. Only flood insurance reimburses homeowners and renters for flood damage to their property.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
The National Flood Insurance Program gives homeowners access to federally supported flood insurance. NFIP insurance is available to anyone living in both high-risk and low to moderate-to-low-risk areas.

Flood insurance is easy to purchase directly from an insurance agent, with over 100 insurance companies who write and service NFIP policies. If you’re interested in buying flood insurance, the best place to begin is by asking your homeowners insurance provider to assist you. However, not all insurance providers offer these policies, so you may have to shop around if your provider is not one of them.