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A flood can develop slowly, over a period of several days, or it can develop within minutes, which is the case with Flash Floods.

In general, you should know the difference between a watch and a warning.

A flash flood WATCH means that current or developing conditions are favorable for flash flooding in and close to the watch area, but the occurrence is neither certain or imminent.

A flash flood WARNING means that flash flooding is in progress, imminent or highly likely.

In the event of a flash flood watch or warning, you should:

  • Keep your automobile gas tank filled; if electric power is cut off, gas stations may not be able to operate pumps for several days
  • Have an Emergency Go Kit with enough water and non-perishable food for 3 days
  • Keep a portable radio, flashlight, extra batteries, manual can-opener and other essential supplies on hand.
  • Know your elevation above flood level.
  • Store drinking water in various containers and clean bathtubs. Water service may be interrupted.
  • Move to a safe area before access is cut off by floodwater.
  • DO NOT attempt to drive over a flooded road—you could be trapped or stranded. The depth of the water is not always obvious, or the road could be washed away.
  • If you can't see it, you can't be sure it's there.
  • Be prepared to evacuate if necessary.
  • Check evacuation routes from your home and your workplace.
  • Be aware of creeks and other low-lying areas that are prone to sudden flooding.

For power outages, call Pepco's 24-Hour Outage Report Line at 1 (877) 737-2662.

For downed wires, call Pepco immediately at 1 (877) 737-2662 and press 2.

To have trees or debris removed or to locate sand bag pick-up locations, call the Mayor's Citywide Call Center at 311.

For more information about floods and the National Flood Insurance Program, visit the NFIP website.