FEMA categorizes it as a rapid-onset flood. A flash flood can occur very quickly with little or no warning, such as during periods of extremely heavy rain. 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.
Yes! The desert southwest is an environment of extremes. We often experience intense rainfall and subsequent flash floods. Recorded reports of flooding in Clark County date back nearly 100 years!
During flood season (July – September), moist unstable air from the Gulf of Mexico is forced rapidly upward by hot air currents. The dynamics of this process often result in spectacular displays of lightning in the desert sky. Too often, they also cause severe thunderstorms with intense rainfall on steep mountain slopes and armored desert surfaces. The rainwater runs off rapidly and concentrates in the urbanized areas at lower elevations.
While floods can and have occurred in almost every month of the year, the most damaging storms occur between July and September.
If you are driving, slow down and exit the road safely, as soon as you possibly can. Find an alternative route. DO NOT attempt to drive through flood waters. When approaching a flooded area, you can’t be sure of the depth of the water or the condition of the road beneath it, which may be broken up or washed away. Worst case, there may be no road left under the water.
As little as 6” of fast moving water can sweep most any vehicle off a roadway. Also, you can’t determine the condition of the road bed under the water. The road could be washed out, or the water could be hiding a huge sinkhole.
Even if you are not located in a designated flood zone, your area can still be subject to flooding. All subdivisions constructed after 1992 have been designed to be flood protected from a 100 year flood design flow. That is a flood that has a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. Floods greater than a 100 year flood have and will occur.
Please see the Regional Flood Control District’s website tool to check to see if you are in a flood zone.
Flood insurance is available to all residents of Clark County and the incorporated cities within its boundaries, whether the property is located within a flood zone or not. For a single family home $250,000 coverage for the structure and $100,000 coverage for the contents is available. Policies covering damages to personal property are available to renters as well as homeowners.
The National Flood Insurance Program is backed and subsidized by the Federal government. The actual flood insurance policies, however, are available through most insurance companies. Typical homeowners insurance does NOT provide coverage for damages to either structures or belongings resulting from floods. Visit the Regional Flood Control District’s website tool to see if you are in a flood zone.