Since we’re now just about two weeks away from the first official day of spring, we thought it would be a great idea to touch on one of the most common springtime disasters that are sure to come with it: flooding. Flooding results from the heavy rains, rapid snowmelt, and severe weather that occurs every year about this time. In fact, FEMA lists the most common flood risks as:

Spring Thaw

Warmer temperatures and resulting snow melt can produce large amounts of run off in a short period of time, as each cubic foot of compacted snow contains gallons of water. During the early spring, frozen land prevents melting snow or rainfall from seeping into the ground. The water then runs off the surface and flows into lakes, streams, and rivers, causing excess water to spill over their banks. Add seasonal storms to the mix, and the result is often severe spring flooding.

Spring Rains

Spring storms can bring several inches of precipitation in just hours or can stall out over an area for days. These heavy rains can lead to severe flooding by over-saturating the ground, overfilling storm drains, or causing rivers to spill over their banks or levees.

Flash Flooding

A flash flood is a rapid flooding of low-lying areas in less than six hours, which is caused by intense rainfall from a thunderstorm or several thunderstorms. Flash floods can also occur when there are drought-like conditions.

Levees and Dams

The U.S. has thousands of miles of levees and dams that are designed to protect against a certain level of flooding. These structures can erode and weaken over time, and they can also be overtopped — or even fail — during larger flood events.

Now, there are of course various ways you can prepare yourself financially from these disasters — flood insurance being the key option — but the most important thing is your survival. It’s highly recommended that you and your family make a flood emergency plan. You’ll also want to build or restock your emergency preparedness kit with important tools like these. Make sure you familiarize yourself with local emergency plans so that you know where to go if you need to get away from the flood waters. It’s always important to follow local evacuation instructions.