FLOOD OVERVIEW

Floods can be devastating and can happen anywhere, anytime. Make sure you understand the risks of flooding and take steps to avoid injury or death.

What is a flood?

A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry.  

Flooding can cover hundreds of square kilometres and last weeks, sometime months.  

In a flood, you and your family could be stranded and put in danger. Some remote areas could be isolated for months.

Did you know? More people die from drowning in floodwaters following a cyclone, than in the cyclone itself.

What causes a flood?
Know your risk
Dangers of flooding

Flood alerts and warnings

DFES and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) work together to inform the community when there is a flood risk. Once BoM issue a Flood Watch or Warning, DFES will provide alerts and warnings on Emergency WA. There are five alert types that align with the expected timing of floods.

Prepare now for flooding: Review your plan and prepare your home.
Take action now for flooding: Relocate machinery and livestock.
Prepare to evacuate due to flooding: Have your emergency kit ready.
Evacuate now due to flooding: Go to a safer place with your emergency kit.
Cancellation of flood warning: Avoid floodwaters, be careful driving.

Travelling during or after a flood

One in three flood-related fatalities in WA involves a vehicle.

Know the risks of driving through floodwater

Driving on roads during or after a flood is extremely dangerous.  

Roads and bridges can be severely damaged by the power of floodwaters. People have been seriously injured from debris, drowned after being trapped in their vehicle or washed away in fast flowing water.

If you think your car is strong enough to make it through the floodwater, think again.

Floodwaters can take control of a 4WD in just 30cm of flowing water. For smaller cars, it is only 15cm. That’s the size of an average pen!  Find out more about your vehicles ‘float point’.  

You can easily avoid these dangers.

When you see floodwaters, STOP

If a road is closed, it means closed. Always obey road closures and check road conditions if there are no signs around.

Travelling during or after a flood

Vehicle

Rising floodwaters can stall your car and disable electric windows or locks, potentially trapping you in your vehicle.

Animals

Animals that may pose a threat could be hidden under the water, including snakes and in some areas crocodiles.

Depth

A small 4WD can float in just 30cm of water, which is about the size of your steering wheel.

Currents

A seemingly calm surface can mask a fast-moving body of water below, powerful enough to float your vehicle.

Debris

Rubbish, rocks, tree branches, and many other sharp objects can hide under a smooth surface.

Bacteria

Floodwaters often contain sewage and bacteria! These harmful contaminants can cause serious illness or death.

Remember: It’s OK to drive away

Did you know? Nine out of 10 floodwater deaths on WA roads involves a local resident. No matter how well you know the roads, if a road is flooded forget it.

Travelling through areas impacted by floods
Using a boat in a flood

How to stay informed

It’s important you know how to access different information sources to stay up to date when travelling in WA because there may not be reliable telecommunications in remote areas.  

Radio tends to be a reliable source of information during outages, so ensure you have a battery-operated radio.

More Information

Prepare for a flood

Find out about preparing your flood plan and steps you can take to reduce the impact and damage from floodwaters.

Learn more

During a flood

There are a number of things you can do to keep your property and belongings safe.

Learn more

Recovering from a flood

Find out what to expect after a flood and what action you can take to recover.

Learn more