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Ninety percent of all natural disasters in the United States involve flooding. Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or a sudden release of water held by an ice jam. Floating debris or ice can accumulate at a natural or man-made obstruction and restrict the flow of water. Water held back by the ice or debris jam can cause flooding upstream. Subsequent flash flooding can occur downstream if the obstruction should suddenly release.



Stay informed. Campus advisories and alerts will keep you up to date on expected storm weather and readiness instructions, if necessary.

Flash Flood Watch

Indicates that flash flooding is a possibility in or close to the watch area. Those in the affected area are urged to be ready to take action if a flash flood warning is issued or flooding is observed. These watches are issued for flooding that is expected to occur within 6 hours after the heavy rains have ended.

Flash Flood Warning

A flood warning issued for life/property threatening flooding that will occur within 6 hours. It could be issued for rural or urban areas as well as for areas along the major rivers. Very heavy rain in a short period of time can lead to flash flooding, depending on local terrain, ground cover, degree of urbanization, amount of man-made changes to the natural river banks, and initial ground or river conditions. Dam breaks or ice jams can also create flash flooding.



If you are outdoors:

  • Evacuate immediately if advised to do so.
  • Move to a safe area before access Is cut off by flood waters.
  • Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes valleys, low spots, and washes.
  • Avoid already flooded and quick water flow areas. Never attempt to walk, swim, or drive through swift water. Even six inches of fast moving water can knock you off your feet.

If you are driving:

  • Be aware that the road bed may not be intact under flood waters. If you encounter flood waters, turn around and go another way. Never drive through flooded roadways--your car can float in less than two feet of water.
  • If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and its occupants and sweep them away.
  • Be especially cautious at night. Darkness makes it harder to recognize flood dangers.
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during dangerous conditions.
  • Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, television, or your emergency broadcast radio station for warnings and storm updates.


  • Check yourself and those around you for injuries.
  • Cautiously evacuate damaged buildings and do not re-enter until declared safe by campus officials.
  • Call 475-3333 v/tty to contact Public Safety to report a life threatening emergency.
  • Campus officials will use email or post fliers with instructions or an official "all clear" notice.

Additional Information

National Weather Service


Staying Informed

RIT's Emergency Line (recorded message): (585) 475-7075 and (585) 475-7076 TTY