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Flood Safety

How to Prepare for the Storm is a National public service campaign designed to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate emergencies like flooding. Visit their website for more information on how to prepare for flooding and how to be safe during and after the flood event.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management works with local, state and federal agencies and voluntary organizations to provide resources during emergencies. VDEM's mission is to save lives through effective emergency management.

Residents can monitor the Blackwater River flood stage during the storm by utilizing two different River Gauges operated by the National Weather Service.

Blackwater River Gauge near Franklin

  • At 3.5 ft, water covers boat ramp docks at public boat ramp
  • At 4.5 ft, water covers the docks/pier near the Gazebo
  • At 8 ft, lowlands upstream of bridge now inundated. Roadway entrance to water treatment plant and public boat ramp begin to flood
  • At 13 ft, gazebo near the Riverwalk is now flooded
  • At 16 ft, businesses along Main Street and South Street begin to flood

The Blackwater River Gauge Above Franklin will issue river height forecasts during times of high water.

  • At 10.8 ft, a portion of Barretts Landing River Walk is inundated in Downtown Franklin
  • At 14.8 ft, moderate flooding, access road to water treatment plant begins to flood
  • At 18.84 ft, major flooding begins
  • At 19.8 ft, flooded up to the corner of Main and 2nd Streets
  • At 20.8 ft, 2nd and Mechanic Streets flooded, Bowers Road residences flooded
  • At 25.11 ft, Flood of Record during Hurricane Floyd

Quick and Easy Flood Safety tips:

  1. Avoid walking or driving through flood water. It only takes six inches of moving water to knock a person down and only one foot of water to carry any vehicle away
  2. Move to higher ground, especially in any instance where there is or there is a chance of a flash flood 
  3. Avoid camping or parking next to a body of water during heavy rainfall

 Difference Between Flood Watch and a Flood Warning:

  • Flood watch: Just a precaution.  This means that the conditions are favorable for flooding to occur in the area. 
  • Flood Warning: Take immediate action.  This means that flooding is already occuring in the area, or if it hasn't, then it will in a short period of time.

What To Do

Before a Flood:

  • Be alert
  • Gather and assemble any supplies
  • Be prepared to evacuate
  • Review a family disaster plan
  • Protect your property

During a Flood:

  • Be alert at all times
  • Don't drive unless you absolutely have to
  • Get to high ground
  • Evacuate immediately, unless told otherwise
  • Do not walk or swim through running water
  • Shut off electricity and circuit breakers in your home

After a Flood:

  • You should only return to area/home after authorities say it is safe
  • Be very cautious around areas where flood waters have receded. There could be debris and erosion
  • Do not attempt to drive or walk through areas that are still flooded
  • Avoid any standing waters. There may be electric currents due to fallen power lines or it may be electrically charged from underground
  • Photograph any damage to your property for insurance purposes