Flooding Emergencies

Contact Information
Maintenance Services Division
Renton, WA 98056

Flooding is one of the most common hazards in the United States, and can be caused by a wide variety of factors. Flooding can occur at any time, and on any scale, making them very unpredictable. This is why it is important to be prepared!

Owners of homes in danger of flooding should call the maintenance services division at 425-430-7400 to report the condition and obtain assistance.

For emergencies after 3:30 p.m. or on weekends, and if the emergency cannot wait until the next business day, call the Renton Police Department at 425-430-7500.

After a Flood

  • Stay away from flood waters as they may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Stay away from moving water. Moving water only six inches deep can knock an adult down.
  • Be aware of areas where flood waters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them to the power company.
  • Stay away from disaster areas unless authorities ask for volunteers. One way to help is to give money to a disaster relief organization. Do not donate food, clothing or other personal items unless they are specifically requested.
  • Continue listening to a battery-powered radio for information about where to get assistance for housing, clothing and food. Outreach programs are often available to help you cope with the stress of the situation.
  • Consider family health and safety needs. Wash hands frequently with soap and clean water if in contact with flood waters. Throw away food that has come in contact with flood waters. Listen for news reports to learn whether the community's water supply is safe to drink.

Flood Insurance Claims

Contact flood insurance provider as soon as possible. To help with the claims process, take the following steps:

  • Take photos or video of belongings and home
  • Separate damaged and undamaged belongings
  • Locate financial records
  • Keep detailed records of cleanup costs

FEMA Disaster Information

Check the Federal Emergency Management Agency's fact sheet on floods, flood mitigation, and federal disaster assistance and federal flood insurance.

Before a Flood

Flood Alerts and Information

Know when a flood is coming.  Sign up for King County Flood Alerts and view current flood warnings.

Protect Your Property

Find out if your property is in a flood plain area. Renton residents can find this information by calling Gary Fink, Surface Water Utility Engineer, 425-430-792.

Make a Plan

Homeowners in floodplains should make a family emergency plan that includes a flood evacuation plan using the Green River Flood Evacuation Map. Identify a safe place to meet in an emergency, and locate a place to stay in the event of a flood.

Consider Purchasing Flood Insurance

Flood losses are not covered under most homeowner's insurance policies. Flood insurance is available in most communities through the National Flood Insurance Program. For more information about flood insurance, contact your insurance supplier.

The city participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.  This results in increased flood protection and entitles property owners to a 25% discount in flood insurance rates.  The Surface Water Utility provides the services necessary to qualify for the reduction.

Help Prevent Local Flooding

Help prevent local urban flooding by locating storm drains near your house and clearing them of leaves or other debris. Help prevent clogged pipes by getting rid of landscaping waste properly.

County and Federal Resources

King County Flood Warnings and Alerts
Current flood conditions for King County rivers including maps, data and local flood references.

King County Flood Services and Information
King County flood services and information including how to prepare for a flood, road conditions and closures, and sandbag distribution locations in King County.

Flood Preparedness Information from Ready.gov
This website explains what actions to take when you receive a flood watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area and what to do before, during, and after a flood. It is the official website of the Department of Homeland Security.

US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Seattle District
The USACE responds to natural and national disasters. The district provides assistance in flood fighting, rehabilitation of flood control works damaged or destroyed by floods, and advance measures prior to floods. This website includes information on lake and river levels, regulatory permit information, press releases and emergency management.  

US Geological Survey (USGS) Streamflow Data for WA
The USGS collects data continuously at almost 400 streamflow, reservoir, water quality, meteorological and groundwater sites in Washington State. Most of these data are transmitted via satellite and posted online in near real time.

Create an Emergency Toilet

King County's How to Create an Emergency Toilet
In extreme emergencies, sewage systems may not be functioning. During these times it may be necessary to create a temporary, emergency toilet for safely collecting and handling human waste until normal sewage systems can be restored.

During a Flood or Potential Flood

Turn Around, Don't Drown Image

What to do during heavy rains

  • Monitor local news sources for emergency instructions and weather updates.
  • Plan an evacuation route in case you need to move to high ground.
  • Be aware of flash floods. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to high ground immediately. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels and areas known to flood suddenly.
  • Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rain.

During a Flood Watch

Flood Watch means be aware. Flooding could occur in your area. Prepare to evacuate by taking the following steps:

  • Secure the home. If there's time, bring in outdoor furniture or tie it down. Move essential items to the upper floors of the house.
  • If instructed to do so, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances, but do not touch electrical equipment if in wet or standing in water to protect against electrocution.
  • Fill car with fuel.
  • Fill bathtubs with water in case water becomes contaminated or service is cut off. Sterilize the bathtub first.

During a Flood Warning

Flood Warning means take immediate action to keep yourself safe. Flooding is imminent or occurring in your area.

  • Evacuate immediately if instructed to do so.
    Stay away from flood waters. They could be contaminated.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can knock an adult down. If you must walk in a flooded area, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If flood waters rise around the car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, if it is safe to do so. Vehicles can be quickly swept away as flood waters rise.

Emergency Notifications

Please sign up at CodeRED Alert to be notified about potential hazards and threats that impact your area.

King County Metro Transit Alerts and Updates
King County Metro snow, ice and flood alerts and updates.  Sign up for King County Metro Alerts

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service
National Weather Service Forecast Office for the Seattle area.

NOAA Weather Radio
NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Flood Evacuation Notices

Public officials will issue evacuation notices. Below is a description of the three types of notices.

Evacuation Alert

A protective measure evacuation alert has been issued for this area. Businesses and residents should prepare for evacuation. Those individuals with special needs, mobile property, business stock, and pets or livestock should begin precautionary movement.

Evacuation Request*

An evacuation request has been issued for this area. Evacuation is highly recommended.

Evacuation Order

An evacuation order has been issued for this area. Current conditions present an immediate and specific threat.

*Those who rely on general public transportation from King County Metro Transit (METRO) should begin to evacuate the area at the Evacuation Request stage at the latest. There is no guarantee when buses may stop running after an Evacuation Request is issued. Once an Evacuation Order is issued, METRO buses will no longer operate normally. Renton residents and businesses cannot expect to use buses once an Evacuation Order stage is reached.

Safe Drinking Water

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Making Water Safe in an Emergency 
In an emergency, water contaminated with germs can often be made safe to drink by boiling, adding disinfectants, or filtering.

IMPORTANT: Water contaminated with fuel or toxic chemicals will not be made safe by boiling or disinfection. Use bottled water or a different source of water if you know or suspect that your water might be contaminated with fuel or toxic chemicals.

Sandbag Techniques Video

Terms to Know

A graphic showing the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning

Flood Watch

Flooding is possible. Stay tuned to a NOAA weather radio, local news or radio stations, or the National Weather Service for more information.

Flash Flood Watch

Flash flooding is possible. Move to high ground. A flash flood can occur without warning.

Flood Warning

Flooding is occurring or will occur soon. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

Flash Flood Warning

A flash flood is occurring. Seek higher ground on foot immediately.

Urban and Small Stream Advisory

Flooding of small streams, streets, and low-lying areas is occurring.

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