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If you haven't seen a major flood, it can be hard to imagine that the rivers that we cross over and walk beside every day can be dangerous. In 1975, the last major flood in Lansing, water was more than 8 feet deep in some places. The 1975 flood was not the worst possible flood, or even the worst likely flood that could happen here.
Be safe when flooding happens
- Never drive through flood water. Two feet of water can float a car or cause a vehicle to stall, leaving you stranded. Floods can hide a damaged road. You can't tell how deep water is by looking.
- Never walk through flood water. Even a few inches of fast moving water can knock you off your feet. The water may also be hiding dangers like downed power lines or debris. It can be contaminated with chemicals and sewage.
- If you are told to evacuate because of flooding, follow emergency instructions. Nothing you own is worth risking your own life, or the life of a first responder.
- Take pets with you when you evacuate, if you can do so safely. A pet shelter will be opened to look after pets if needed.
Keep these facts in mind to stay alive and dry
- Flash floods can come rapidly and unexpectedly. They can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, or when a dam or levee fails and even a sudden release of water held by an ice or debris jam. Be cautious during storm seasons, or any time that flooding is common in your area.
- You may not have warning that a flash flood is approaching.
- Do not drive unless absolutely necessary.
- Do not drive through flooded areas. If you see a flooded-out road ahead, turn around. Find another route to your destination.
- If there is no other route, get to higher ground and wait for the waters to subside.
- Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, don't try it. Water hides dips in the road. Worse yet, there may be no road at all under the water.
- Flooding can scour away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath.
- If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control or possible stalling.
- One foot of water will float almost many vehicles.
- Two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles — including SUVs and pick-ups.