Flooding in Solano County usually occurs fast and furiously with little warning. This is due to the geography of the area with populated communities such as Vallejo, Rio Vista, Fairfield, Vacaville, Suisun, Benicia, and Dixon nestled in the foothills amongst streams. While other riverfront communities often receive several days notice of impeding floods, Solano's communities are lucky to get an hour's notice.
In 2006, Solano County's Water Agency decided to implement a Flood Hazard Warning Program to better warn residents and public agencies of current flood risks. This program consists of a series of rain and stream gauges along with weather forecasts for monitoring the potential of flooding. A series of levels (Level 1, 2, 3, and 4) indicate current threats. For example, a Level 1, which is during the non-rainy season, indicates that while flooding is possible, it's not likely. On the other end of the scale, Level 4 indicates that a storm is predicted to drop two or more inches of rain in a 24-hour period. General flood warnings may be issued.
If you live in Solano County, it's imperative that you are aware of the flood potential and understand the risks. The wet months run from November through April. During these months, you are more likely to experience flooding. Because the communities of Solano County are at risk of flooding during heavy rainstorms, it's important to be aware of current and future weather conditions. Do this by programming Solano County Water Agency's storm warning phone number (455-1115) into all of your telephones, including your cell phone. In addition, bookmark the agency's Web site (scwa2.com) and visit it frequently for storm information.
Because Solano County is a natural flood basin, you and your home is at a greater risk of flooding than if you lived outside of a flood plain. In fact, over the course of 30 years, you have about a one in four chance of being flooded. By gathering facts and preparing for disaster, you will be better able to cope with your losses.
First, get the facts. Is your home in an actual flood plain? What is the risk? Contact your city's public works department as well as view FEMA flood maps. In addition, your home's elevation should be considered. For example, your home may be elevated above the expected flood levels – even if you are in a flood plain. In the case of a flood, your home may be like an island – surrounded by water but above the water line.
Next, plan your escape. Do you have an emergency supply kit? Do you have a planned route to safety? What about from your office or other locations? In addition to preparations beforehand, it's smart to store your important documents in a safe location. At the very least, store valuables upstairs where they may stay dry.
If your home does flood, use extreme care before entering. Make sure the power is off and that the building is structurally sound. In fact, you might not be allowed to enter until a city inspector says it's okay.
A single inch of water can damage floors, baseboards, carpets, drywall, insulation, wiring, and furnishings. Water damage restoration professionals can minimize further damage and mold by using industrial strength blowers as soon as possible.