Flood Preparedness

Flood Preparedness

WeatherMap VCWPD-JPGEven in a period of drought conditions currently, it is important to understand that flooding can and will still happen here in Ventura County.

In additon to information shown here, always check "Ready Ventura County", the website of Ventura County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services (OES) in the event of any emergency. The OES maintains the site in partnership with a number of County agencies and departments to provide critical information as emergencies occur. The OES website is a great way to learn disaster preparedness and to find contact information for the participating agencies and departments.

Weather patterns here in Ventura County are cyclical. Those who have resided in our County for many years will remember the 1969, 1978, 1980, and 1983 storm events.  More recently, we had the 1992, 1995 and 1998 wet years with associated flooding.  Most residents will remember the dramatic and devastating effects of the 2005 rains.  The 2005 storms of January and February brought substantial flooding and consequently much damage to flood control facilities, other infrastructure (roads, bridges and public buildings) and to homes and businesses as well throughout southern California.  

There are steps to take now that will minimize losses during floods and the Watershed Protection District is doing its part to strengthen community resiliency from flood damage.

 Our staff works year-round to maintain over 200 miles of channels, basins and pump stations within our jurisdiction.

We annually clean out channels and basins, maintain pump stations, and install and maintain trash-racks to eliminate debris in the channels.  We optimize our current facilities such as lining underground pipes, repairing and replacing concrete structures and “rip-rap” sidewalls, trimming channel overgrowth, and removing sediment and rocks that can create a less than perfect situation for rushing floodwaters.  We use modern technology to monitor floodwaters in real-time both with boots on the ground staff, and by monitoring remote sensing stations.  We alert County emergency responders to potential problem areas “24-7” during storm events.  We also plan for future needs as our channel infrastructure ages and more homes are built that will rely on flood control facilities for regional flood protection.

Homeowners and residents can do a lot to help minimize property losses from flooding conditions.

Some good steps to take:

    • Make an inventory of belongings and store that document out of the reach of floodwaters, preferably offsite--perhaps in a safe deposit box. 
    • Raise appliances a foot or more above the anticipated flood level.
    • Learn how to acquire sandbags and get familiar on how to place them to do the most good when floodwaters threaten your property.
    • Make a flood response plan and make sure everyone in your family knows the plan: What is your evacuation route?
    • Teach your family about the dangers of electric lines and floodwaters.
    • Assign a relative or friend living away from you as an emergency contact and be sure everyone in your family has that contact information.  
    • Having enough food and water is essential to “get by” during a flooding emergency. So are cellphones, radios, batteries, flashlights, medical prescriptions, extra eyeglasses and basic first aid items.  Be sure to store those supplies up high-- well above the anticipated flood level.
    • Don’t forget pets, they will need enough food to get by for the duration also. 
    • When making improvements to your landscaping, design with an eye toward flood protection as well as aesthetics. Retaining walls and other structures can help potentially divert floodwaters.
    • Purchasing flood insurance is a good idea too, since most home insurance policies do not cover flooding. 
    • If rains are predicted, save the links listed below on your smartphone for easy access to current storm related information:

Current storm information: http://vcwatershed.net/fws/

Live map showing radar returns for current and past precipitation: http://www.vcwatershed.net/fws/gmap.html

Local news online: http://www.keyt.com/ and http://web.vcstar.com/weather/

Local road closures http://vcwatershed.com/webeoc/status_report.php  (available via http://vcpublicworks.org/ --online services menu tab)

Sigalert (live highway closures map): http://www.sigalert.com/

National Weather Service: http://www.weather.gov/

To learn more you can check some of these resources on the web:

Information about flood insurance discounts in unincorporated Ventura County areas: http://www.vcfloodinfo.com

Flood Smart:  http://www.FloodSmart.gov

Flood Info - Community Rating System:  http://www.vcfloodinfo.com/

Sandbag 101 Learn more about sandbags and where to obtain supplies by checking out our Sandbag 101 page.