Flooding: Be Aware and Prepared and Take Action

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March 9, 2020

Flood Safety Awareness: Be Aware, Prepared and Take Action


As winter melts into spring, residents may see an increase in ground saturation and standing water in some areas over the next few months. Since the ground is expected is stay wet through the spring, and possibly longer, there is a considerably higher risk for flooding. Since Illinois Flood Safety Awareness Week kicks off March 9, now is a great time to learn more about the increased ground saturation and review flood related safety tips.

Ground Saturation – What Does That Mean?

Lake County experienced a very wet summer and fall last year, and the snow and rain received this year has made the ground very saturated. Due to the wet ground conditions, residents may see an increase in standing water in certain areas. These areas have a larger flood risk. When the ground is saturated and there's too much standing water on the surface, flooding can occur because the water doesn't have a place to go and can't dissipate fast enough. Over the next few months, residents may notice:

  • Sump pumps running more than normal. Because of this, make sure it’s in good operating condition!
  • The ground staying wet longer, especially in low areas.
  • High pond and lake levels. 
  • Potentially more mosquitoes this summer. 

From clearing storm drains before it rains to making sure your downspouts are directed away from your house, there are a number of things residents can do to better protect their property. View these floodproofing tips to learn more.  

Preparing for a Flood


Preparing for a flood now can save lives and protect a homeowner’s property. Prepare by:

  • Build a flood emergency kit: Have enough food, water and medicine for at least three days. 
  • Make a plan with your family: It's important to a plan ahead of a disaster so family members understand what to do in an emergency situation. 
  • Know your flood risk: Is your home in a floodplain? Where does the water collect on the roads you travel most? Questions like these are important to know before a flood.
  • Floodproof your property: Flood damage means costly repairs. Protect your property by taking preventative measures.


Water levels can change quickly during a flood. Stay aware and informed during a flood situation.

  • Stay informed: Visit Lake County PASSAGE for the latest road conditions. Follow the National Weather Service and watch this video to become familiar with the different ways to receive information from Lake County
  • Get to higher ground if advised: If you're in a flood prone or low area, listen to reports and get to higher ground.  
  • Practice electrical safety: Do not go into any room if water is covering electrical outlets or if electrical cords are submerged.  
  • Avoid flood waters: Always remember not to walk or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don't Drown! 


When flood waters recede, there may be structural damages and other danger left behind. Know what to do after a flood occurs. 

  • Continue to stay informed: Continue to listen to reports about the situation. 
  • Avoid disaster areas: Your presence in a disaster may impede emergency operations.
  • Obey road signs: Road signs are put in place for your safety. Please listen to what they say. 
  • Watch for gas leaks and live power lines: Floods may cause items to shift, which could lead to gas leaks, live power lines, and other issues. Be aware of your surroundings and proceed with caution.   

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers additional flood related safety tips.

Watch Versus Warning

Do you know the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning?

A watch means “be prepared” because flooding is possible within your area. 


A warning means “take action now” because flooding is imminent or already occurring. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. 


Flood Recovery Resources

Now is the perfect time to contact your insurance agent to go over your insurance coverage and policy. Keep in mind, flood insurance needs to have been purchased 30 days prior to a flood event to use. View flood insurance information to learn more.

The Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) offers a Voluntary Floodplain Buyout Program to qualified residents who have homes located in the floodway or homes that are subject to severe damage from flooding. This is a highly cost-effective flood reduction tool because buying and removing flood-prone structures ensure they are not damaged by future floods.

Visit the SMC website for additional flood information and to learn more about the flood programs offered.