Floods can turn streets into lowing rivers, uproot trees, and batter homes, causing severe financial loss as well as heavy emotional stress. So when a heavy rain begins to downpour, you may start wondering in the back of your mind if it’s time to start taking precautions, or if you’re overreacting. To help you know whether or not there is anything to worry about, there are some telltale signs that can indicate the likelihood of a downpour turning into a disastrous flood.

First, while it may seem obvious, take a look at the weather report. If it’s a storm causing the rain, is it moving slowly or fast? A quick storm may pass by before causing much damage, but a slower tropical storm can linger and cause flooding. If you live in a colder area and there has been snow before sudden warm air caused a storm, there may be more reason to be alert, since the snow can melt along with the rains and add to the risk of flooding. Finally, if you have a dam or levee in your area, it can be an excellent indicator of too much rain. Simply consult your local news or even contact the authorities to see if the dam has failed or is near failure.

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