When a Flood Threatens
There are important aspects to consider before and during a flood event including: flood warning signals, where the flood is likely to go, evacuation routes, and flood safety precautions.
- Flood warning signals: Hurricane season is the most common time of year for flood events to occur. During this time of year the ground is saturated with rain water causing flooding to occur at a higher rate of chance. Unfortunately, flash floods occur much faster and water may rise quickly without much warning.
- Where the flood is likely to go: The most important thing to keep in mind is regardless of whether or not you live in a floodplain, anywhere it rains, it can flood. However, the City of Kissimmee Flood Zone Interactive Map shows the higher flood prone areas within the community.
- Evacuation Routes: The Osceola County Comprehensive Emergency Plan includes evacuation routes and other important details in the event of a flood.
- Flood safety precautions:
- Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you walk in standing water, use a pole or stick to see how deep the water is.
- Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Do not drive around road barriers; the road or bridges further down the road may be may be washed out.
Stay away from power lines and electrical wires.
- The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electric current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to the Power Company or County emergency management office
Flood Warning System
In the event of flood potential, the City receives notification from the Office of Emergency Management and certain departments are alerted. The National Weather Service is responsible for issuing the appropriate warning through the NOAA Weather Radio. This same process alerts local news media sources (radio and television) to distribute instructions to the public. If necessary, Fire and Law Enforcement officials may notify area residents by door-to-door personal contact, telephone, and use of sirens and public address systems. During significant storms, Emergency Management monitors storm updates to pass information on to media sources for distribution.
Osceola County Emergency Management Website
- Activation levels
- Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan document
- Emergency news
- Frequently asked questions
The Osceola County EOC works with the National Weather Service, The State of Florida and the National Hurricane Center to monitor flood and storm threats and advise the community accordingly.
When a storm or flood threatens to affect the City, staff monitors the event, relying on information from EOC officials and the National Weather Service for detailed and site specific information regarding storm conditions and flood threats. The National Weather Service issues updates, warnings. Any evacuation recommendation would come from the Office of Emergency Management.
All over-the-air television stations servicing the Osceola County area receive notification from the EOC for broadcast in the event of a threat. In addition, all satellite and cable television providers and all major AM and FM band radio stations available in Osceola County provide immediate notification on all channels upon identification of a threat by the EOC or the NWS.
The Office of Emergency Management notifies the public in flooding threat matters based on criteria established by:
• Army Corp of Engineers
• Osceola County Public Works Stormwater
• South Florida Water Management District
• National Weather Service River Forecast Center
• Public request
Threat criteria exists in three stages, the monitoring activation, the elevated activation, and the full activation.
Action stage is established as a minimum of 1 foot below the established historical flood mark for a given area. During the action stage, the Office of Emergency Management notifies the National Weather Service for consultation and evaluation that may result in public notification or warning dissemination. A WARNING is issued during the flood stage with conditions being imminent or occurring resulting in urgent mitigation measures.
In either case, The Office of Emergency Management notifies the public using:
- Community Mass Notification (May-2012)
- Emergency Alert System (EAS) – Emergency management notifies the State Watch Office and relays the verbiage as well as the alert request. (Local TV, Radio, Satellite and Cable providers
- Public Safety mobile alerting – Vehicles drive through the warned area
- Internet Websites
- NWS NOAA Weather Radio – Emergency Management messages the National Weather Service direct for specific warning purposes.
Evacuation from a potential flood inundation area occurs when the action stage alarm is sounded. Citizens must prepare to leave their residence ahead of the warning stage. Instructions are disseminated in the alert and warning process.
The attached map contains the recommended evacuation routes for Osceola County. All routes should be verified by the warned resident prior to departing. The verification process occurs by way of the alert message. Always be safe and remember – Turn Around Don't Drown!
When flood threats are announced, please visit the Osceola County Situation Map to find the location of the threats by clicking on "Situation Map" beneath My Safety on http://mysafety.osceola.org.
City of Kissimmee Monitoring Stations
The City of Kissimmee also independently monitors water levels around the community. The City of Kissimmee Monitoring Station website shows real-time gages for rainfall, stage, temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH, and conductivity at various locations around the City.