The elevation of most of the land in the Washington city limits is at or below 11 feet above mean sea level.
Many areas in Washington fall in the 100-year flood plain. Records document flooding in these areas within the past century. Elevation and proximity to drainage systems make an area vulnerable to flooding. Flood Insurance Rate Maps on file in the City's Inspections Office show flood zones inside the city limits.
Washington is vulnerable to two types of flooding:
- Shoreline flooding caused by rising water on the rivers. The storm surge from hurricane even can produce inland flooding by pushing water into the drainage system.
- Flash flooding caused by a large amount of rain over a short period.
Residents and businesses owners in the Washington area need to be alert to hurricane and flash flooding advisories and prepare for possible flooding if property is in or close to a vulnerable area. Sometimes there may be no official notice since flash floods can occur with little warning and at any time of the year.
The city tries to minimize flooding by keeping drainage ways clear of clogs and debris, removing shrubs, growth, and aquatic weeds from ditches and creeks, controlling the beaver population, and operating a pumping station at Jack's Creek.
Residents and business owners should refrain from disposing of debris or other material in storm drains, open ditches and creeks. Solid materials can clog or reduce the carrying capacity of the drainage system. Liquids and dissolved solids can be carried through the drainage system to the river, causing water pollution.
Careless & Reckless Driving in Floods
Joy riding through flooded streets in Washington in a manner that creates wakes that could damage adjoining property can get a driver a ticket for careless and reckless driving from the Washington Police Department.
While drivers may enjoy making waves, these waves cause further damage to already flooded yards and buildings along the street.
This activity causes even more troubles for people already dealing with problems caused by flooded property or buildings.
Waves generated by passing vehicles can push water into buildings that otherwise might have remained dry, raise the height of flood damage in buildings that are already flooded, wash away soil in yards and damage shrubbery.
A careless and reckless driving citation requires a mandatory court appearance. It is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison, up to a $500 fine or both. It produces four points on a driver's license and four insurance points.