Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this


By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

July 30, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – We are in the monsoon season, where pop-up thunderstorms can quickly and unexpectedly bring flash floods no matter where you live, warns Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Though part of natures beauty, these storms can be very dangerous.

Watch for the following signs, warns Chief DiGiovanna: Unusually hard rain over several hours, steady substantial rain over several days, a monsoon or other tropical system affecting your area, a special weather report or warning, and water rising rapidly in streams and rivers.

In mountain and desert areas, flash floods can strike with little or no advance warning. Distant rain may be channeled into gullies and ravines, turning a quiet stream into a rampaging torrent in minutes. Never camp on low ground next to streams, since a flash flood can catch you while you're asleep.

Do not drive through flooded areas! Not even if it looks shallow enough to cross. The large majority of deaths due to flash flooding occur with people driving through flooded areas. Roads concealed by water may not be intact.

Do not allow children to play around streams, drainage ditches or viaducts, storm drains, or other flooded areas! Be especially cautious at night. It's harder to recognize water danger then. Don't try to outrace a flood on foot. If you see or hear it coming, move to higher ground immediately.

Stay tuned! The National Weather Service will issue a Flash Flood Watch when heavy rains may result in flash flooding in a specific area. In this case you should be alert and prepare for the possibility of a flood emergency, which will require immediate action. A Flash Flood Warning will be issued when flash flooding is occurring or is imminent in a specified area. If your locale is placed under a warning, you should move to safe ground immediately.

Remember, these storms also bring lightning. Use extra caution!

For additional severe weather safety information visit:

Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

*Note: The information in this article was compiled from various sources. These suggestions are not a complete list of every preventative or loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace additional safety manuals or the advice of another qualified professional(s). We make no guarantee of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.

Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.