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You don’t have to live in a high-risk area to be at risk for floods

Flooding is the nation’s most common natural disaster, particularly for those who live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even a very small stream or dry creek bed can overflow and create flooding.

Get your roommates and family ready for a flood

  • Listen to local TV or radio for weather watches and warnings.
  • Learn the terms:
    • Flood Watch or Flash Flood Watch: Issued when conditions are favorable for flooding or flash flooding.  It does not mean that flooding or flash flooding will occur, but it is possible.
    • Flood Warning: Issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
    • Flash Flood Warning: Issued when flash flooding is imminent or occurring.
  • Be ready to evacuate. Don’t return to your home, apartment or dorm until officials say it is safe. Use common sense and caution
  • If you see water rising quickly or a moving wall of mud and debris, immediately move to higher ground.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of water can knock a person off their feet.
  • Remember that after a flood, it could be hours or days before emergency personnel are able to reach you.

Know the road conditions before you leave

  • Do not drive into flooded areas. Many cars will start to float in as little as 1 foot of water. If your vehicle becomes surrounded by rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground.
  • Flood water might cut off access to roads. Be ready to stay where you are until floodwaters recede.
  • Know the road conditions before you leave. Check the website, 511 Virginia, or call 511 for real-time traffic information and road conditions.
  • The Virginia Department of Transportation offers the latest road reports and closures during a major flooding event.

Get your apartment, dorm or home ready for a flood

  • Homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage. About 75 percent of flood claims come from low to moderate flood-risk areas, but only 4.3 percent of Virginia homes in those areas are covered by flood insurance. Find out more at
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
  • Consider installing check valves to stop floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • Unplug electrical appliances and move them to higher levels, if possible. Do not touch an electric appliance if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building, and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
  • If time allows, bring in outside furniture and move your valuables to higher places in your home.

Areas of Campus to Avoid During a Flood

  • The “C-1” commuter parking lot located off of Grace Street, across from the Facilities Management complex.
  • Areas on either side of the tributary of Black’s Run running parallel to and between Dukes Drive and the Norfolk Southern tracks.
  • The intersection of Duke and Bluestone which includes Mr. Chips Convenience Store
  • The Godwin lot which includes Godwin Transit Center
  • Bridgeforth Stadium area including the Plecker Athletic Center.
  • Newman Lake area by Greek row.
  • The tunnel under Interstate 81 connecting the east and west campuses. This is a particularly vulnerable location, especially in flash flooding, especially when the volume of water run-off is significant.
  • The grassy lawn just east of Godwin Hall (when heavy volumes of water originate from the tunnel under I-81). This water eventually drains into the lake.
  • The Arboretum
  • Hillside Field area

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