Health Department

Health Department

Floods & Droughts


Cincinnati's Severe Floods (since 1937)

Date Water Height Effects
March 1997 64 feet Hundreds evacuated
January 1996 57 feet Hundreds evacuated
March 1964 66 feet 110,000 people lost their homes
January 1937 80 feet One in eight people in the Tri-State lost their home; Cincinnati lost power and running water; one-fifth of Cincinnati covered in water (up to 19 days)

Prepare For Floods

  • Make a preparedness kit. Periodically check that items work.
  • Develop and practice a plan.
  • Be aware of areas that flood quickly. Avoid building your home in a floodplain, where flash flooding occurs without warning.
  • Build barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to keep water outside your home.
  • Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
  • Install "check valves" in sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.

Advised Action During A Flood

  • Listen to the radio or television for information.
  • If you must evacuate, then:
    • Secure your home (move essential items to upper level, as time permits).
    • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
    • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
    • Do not drive into flooded areas because the vehicle can be quickly swept away. If floodwaters rise around your car, then abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.


A drought is a lengthy deficiency to an area's normal water supply. Dry ground can tighten to the point of pulling pipes out of alignment, causing leaks and geysers. Drought can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem, agriculture and economy.

Recent Tri-State Drought

In October 2010, the Tri-State experienced a drought that caused water lines to break. In Bracken County, dry weather shifted the ground enough to break a main water line. Bracken County health officials declared a "Boil Advisory" (required boiling of all cooking and drinking water before use).

Prepare For Drought

  • Make a preparedness kit. Periodically check that items work.
  • Consider adding the following items:
    • Foods that do not require water to prepare.
    • Non-water alternatives (i.e. hand sanitizer)
  • Learn methods for water conservation
  • Develop and practice a plan to conserve water at home and work.
  • Inspect home for leaks and repair as needed.