During any emergency, personal safety is more important than property. Floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep people and vehicles off sidewalks and/or roadways quickly. Being prepared before a flood occurs can reduce fear, anxiety and confusion during an emergency and prevent injuries and deaths which occur every year from flooding.

Be Prepared Before A Flood

  • Develop a family evacuation plan include safe routes from work, home and schools to a safe meeting place not in the floodplain. Have a designated contact person outside of your immediate family. Use this person in case family members are separated and can't contact each other.
  • Practice your emergency plan at least once a year so that your family is familiar with all aspects of your plan.
  • Create or buy a 3-day emergency food supply kit with water and non-perishable food for each member of your family. These kits should be sturdy but easy to carry. Place them where you can get them quickly in case of an evacuation. Checklist- GO BAG
  • Have a first-aid kit that includes any prescription medication. Checklist - First Aid Kit
  • Keep insurance policies and other important documents in a waterproof, portable container.
  • Purchase a battery operated radio or NOAA weather radio
  • Don't forget extra batteries for flashlights and weather radios!
  • Visit FEMA's Floodsmart.gov or the Red Cross's Flood preparedness website for more information about how to be prepared for flooding.

During A Flood

  • Don't walk or drive through flooded areas. This includes roadways and stream crossings.
  • Keep away from downed power lines or any other electrical wires
  • Stay away from creek and stream banks in flooded or recently flooded areas.
  • When evacuating don't forget your emergency supplies and first aid kit.
  • Be aware of local wildlife trying to escape floodwaters. There homes have flooded too!
  • Never allow children to play around high water, storm drains, ditches, ravines or concrete culverts.

Stop, Turn Around and Go Another Way!

After A Flood

  • Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
  • Floodwaters can be contaminated with a variety of hazardous substances. Throw out items that have come into contact with contaminated water

Protect Your Property

The first step to preventing property damage from floodwaters is to understand how rainwater falls and flows on your property. Understanding your drainage or flooding issues will help you develop a plan to reduce your flood risk.

  • Make yard improvements to capture stormwater runoff using rain gardens, swales, dry wells, permeable paving, rain barrels, or cisterns. Since conventional lawns exacerbate water management problems, consider replacing yours with a variety of native plants and grasses, which absorb more water and require less fertilizing, mowing, and water.
  • Other yard improvements can include re-grading land so that stormwater drains away from your building, disconnecting or redirecting gutter downspouts and constructing walls and barriers to prevent water from reaching low entry points.
  • Retrofitting existing buildings or regrading a yard can help reduce the potential for flood damage. This can include elevating buildings above flood levels, wet or dry flood proofing Structures, and installing backflow preventers to protect floors and contents from sewer backups.
  • If you live in an area that floods frequently have sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber on hand.
  • Get a flood insurance policy
  • If you have significant problems you may need the help of a professional engineer, plumber, electrician, or landscape architect. Always document problems in writing, photographs, and/or video. This information will be helpful for assessments, insurance claims, and acquiring help from your municipality. Contact our Stormwater Management Staff to schedule a site visit to help address your specific drainage or flooding issues at 817-459-6550.

Remember: All Development within the floodplain is highly regulated due to its crucial conveyance component as wells as to help maintain some of the important natural resources and functions of the floodplain. Development includes, but is not limited to all new construction, filling, grading and paving. This will also include any substantial improvement or substantial damage improvement to an existing structure. Any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvement in which the costs equals or exceeds 25% of the market value of the existing structure will require a Floodplain Development Permit and Substantial Improvement Application.

Get a building permit by visiting The Planning and Development Services Department before you do any construction, repair or flood-proofing on your property.

If a heavy rain event or possible flooding event has been forecasted for your area, it is critical to prepare your property for the possibility of flooding. Take the following steps which can help keep your family and property out of danger.

  • Inspect your home: Remove leaves and debris from gutters, clear your storm drains and drainage areas of any debris or trash make sure windows and doors are properly secured, and make sure your sump pump is working if you have one.
  • Move your valuables to the upper floors or to the highest elevation in your home.
  • Bring lawn furniture, grills, and trash cans inside or else tie them down securely. Flying debris can cause damage to your home and create openings for floodwaters to come inside. The debris can also clog or block storm drain structures which can create localized flooding.
  • Charge your cell phones, put fresh batteries in your flashlights, and make sure you have adequate food and water for at least 3 days.
  • You can fill your bathtubs, sinks and plastic soda bottles with clean water, but sanitize the sinks and tubs first by cleaning with bleach and rinsing them.
  • If you live in an area that floods frequently, have sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber on hand.

Natural Floodplain Functions

Flooding is a natural phenomenon of every river, creek or other waterway. Understanding and protecting the natural functions of floodplains helps to reduce flood damage and protects natural resources. Floodplains provide a variety of essential functions including floodwater conveyance and storage, groundwater recharge, wave attenuation, stream bank erosion control, reduction in sedimentation rates and improvement of water quality. While maintaining a highly productive ecosystem which provides habitat for a variety of wildlife, these natural spaces provide open space for recreational use and enjoyment by our residents.

  • Report sediment coming from construction sites which is going into the street, storm drain system or natural waterway. This contributes to sedimentation in our waterways, decreases the water carrying capacity and increases the potential for flooding.
  • Maintain vegetated buffer zones along creeks and streams to prevent streambank erosion
  • Notifying the city of trash, debris or hazardous material that has been illegally dumped into or near streams, creeks or other waterways.
  • Organize a neighborhood or school creek clean up event. Citizens can help remove trash, litter and other debris that can cause localized flooding issues and water quality problems.

The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System or MS4 was designed to divert excess rainwater to the many creeks found in the City of Arlington. It is important to control the quantity and quality of the water which flows through the drainage system. Stormwater Maintenance crews remove debris from the storm drains on a regular basis to prevent water from backing up into the streets. Blocked storm drains can cause structural damage to homes and businesses when we have rain events. The dumping of yard waste, trash and other debris can lead to blockages between scheduled maintenance work.

Here are some steps you can take to keep your storm drain inlets and other drainage structures clear of yard waste and other debris. These actions will help reduce the risk of flooding, keep your neighborhood beautiful as well as contribute to good water quality.

  • Use a mulching lawn mower or compost your grass and leaves instead of blowing yard waste into the street. Besides clogging the storm drains, it can reduce the amount of oxygen in the creeks which fish need to survive.
  • Pick up litter around your neighborhood or place of business so the trash doesn't collect in the drainage inlets and drainage pipes.
  • If you spot a blocked inlet or storm drain or notice someone illegally dumping into the creeks please contact the Action Center at 817-459-6777 or visit www.arlingtontx.gov/contact to use the Citizens Online Request form. A Stormwater Maintenance Supervisor or an Environmental Compliance Officer will be sent to investigate.
  • Remember: Any non- stormwater discharge into the stormwater drainage system is a violation of city's Stormwater Ordinance

Arlington's Flood Warning System

The City of Arlington Outdoor Warning System consists of 52 sirens designed to alert and notify the general population in outdoor areas of imminent or existing emergency situations. When sirens are activated, citizens should seek shelter indoors and tune to local news sources to gain further information on the emergency situation. Warning Sirens will be used for Natural Emergencies such as tornado, flash flooding/high water, straight-line winds, large hail, or severe storms.

For more information or questions concerning the City's Outdoor Warning System contact the Office of Emergency Management at 817-459-6939.

Arlington has several stream gauges throughout the city which provide local data for the National Weather Service. The NWS uses that data to issue flood watches and warnings through local television and radio stations.

  • Flood Watches will be issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. Stay informed by listening to your local television or radio station. This does not mean a flood event will occur but it is possible. Be Prepared and Stay Alert!
  • Flood Warnings are issued when flooding is imminent or already happening. Follow evacuation orders and other safety instructions from your local Emergency Management Office. Do not walk or drive through flooded areas!
  • Flash Flood Warnings are issued when a flash flooding is imminent or occurring. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take just minutes or a few hours to develop. Areas that are not receiving rain can still be prone to flash flooding. If you live in a flood prone area take your family , pets and yourself to higher ground immediately!

Go to the Ft. Worth NWS Rivers and Lakes page for up to date weather and stream gauge data. Stream gauge data is also available on the USGS Floods and Droughts page at www.waterwatch.usgs.gov.