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Flooding Emergency

Flood Basics

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States and can be caused by weather conditions such as heavy rainfall associated with severe storms, melting snow and ice.  Flood effects can be local, impacting a small area, neighborhood, entire community or regional.  Floods can occur anywhere under the right conditions and are highly unpredictable.

The National Weather Service does monitor incoming storms and weather conditions in an effort to provide some warning if flooding is probable.  What is difficult to estimate is the amount of water that could be seen and the direction it might take, so everyone needs to take a reasonable approach to the risk and prepare now.

If your home is in danger of flooding, call the Maintenance Services Division at 425.430.7400 to report the condition and obtain assistance or advice.  24-hour emergency service is available for flooding, hazardous road conditions, down or damaged stop or yield signs, no water, sewer overflows, and water main breaks. 

For emergencies after 3:30 p.m. or on weekends, and if the emergency cannot wait until the next business day, call the Renton Police Department at 425.430.7500

What To Do Before A Flood

What To Do During A Flood

What To Do After A Flood

Terms You Should Know

  • Flood Warning – Flooding is occurring or will occur soon.  If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Flood Watch – Flooding is possible. Stay tuned to NOAA radio, commercial radio or television for additional information.
  • Flood Advisory – Flooding at a lower severity level than that which would trigger a Warning. This event may cause significant inconvenience.
  • Flash Flood Warning - Flooding occurring or expected to develop in a very rapid time frame.
  • Evacuation Alert* - A protective measure evacuation alert has been issued for this area.  Businesses and residents should prepare for evacuation. Those individuals with special needs, mobile property, business stock, and pets or livestock should begin precautionary movement.

  • Evacuation Request* - An evacuation request has been issued for this area.  Evacuation is highly recommended.

  • Evacuation Order* - An evacuation order has been issued for this area.  Current conditions present an immediate and specific threat.

*Those who rely on general public transportation from METRO should begin to evacuate the area at a Request stage at the latest. There is no guarantee when buses may stop running after an Evacuation Request is issued. Once an Evacuation Order is issued, METRO buses will no longer operate normally.  Renton residents and businesses cannot expect to use buses once an Order stage is reached. For more information on King County Metro Transit service during flooding click here.

Getting the Word Out!

Local, state, and federal agencies strive to keep the public informed of emergencies and advise them of what protective actions they should take during an emergency situation. The City of Renton has a variety of warning systems in place to alert the community in an emergency incident. It is important to know how they work and where to look and listen to protect yourself and your family, your home and business. Depending on the type of emergency incident that occurs, trained emergency personnel will quickly choose the most appropriate and effective way to issue an immediate and urgent warning to the public. The following warning methods might be used in an emergency:

  • Renton RedAlert  Emergency Community Notification System, an automated dialing system that delivers a recorded emergency message
  • E-Alert a free email and digital subscription service
  • Emergency Alert System (EAS) warning sent out to all broadcasters to relay to the public
  • NOAA Weather Radio, which will also alert to an EAS activation
  • Private notification services, which may also relay EAS alerts
  • Electronic road sign activation
  • Emergency news release posted by the City or other agencies to
  • The Critical Emergency Information page at

Preparing Citizens and Businesses

The Renton Emergency Preparedness Academy (REPA) is a partnership between the City of Renton, the American Red Cross, and Renton Technical College.  REPA offers a number of classes to help people prepare for any kind of disaster. Most classes are free. The complete list of classes can be found in the latest edition of the “What’s Happening” or at  Register for the REPA courses through the Renton Community Center.

The city will respond to calls from residents and work with businesses directly to provide information and resources to assist them in putting together their own flood response plans to protect their facilities and inventory in case of a flood.

Renton continues to work with other cities to address the regional impacts of possible flooding.  A regionally, effort was made to identify which roads or highways to use in case of an evacuation.  Everyone is encouraged to be familiar with the defined evacuation routes and know have included in your evacuation plan a way to monitor the status of roads and transportation regularly during a flooding incident.

In the event of flooding in any part of King County, Metro Transit service may be disrupted in affected areas.  It is important for all metro users to be informed, plan ahead and prepare.  You can learn more and sign up to receive transit alerts by visiting the Metro Transit Alert Center’s website.

To view Metro planned flood routes click here.  

Steps Business Owners Should Take

Taking steps to prepare now can make a significant difference in how a business weathers any storm. Renton businesses in the floodplain should make sure they have flood insurance and should develop an emergency plan for each facility that includes measures to protect facilities, personnel and inventory. The city is a Class 5 member of FEMA's Community Rating System. This allows business and property owners that purchase flood insurance to get a 25% reduction on their flood insurance premiums because of the city's codes, standards and programs that exceed the FEMA minimum flood insurance requirements. Other considerations to include in your plan are: a way to reunite with coworkers/family members, business continuity, sewage damage insurance rider, and basic supplies.

Business owners may want to relocate critical items to high ground, or if items must remain in the building store them as high as possible.  Consultation with a structural engineering firm is recommended to determine the best flood protection measures to use for your building.

Business should also sign up for RedAlert, the city’s emergency notification system. Additionally, all businesses, regardless of their flood risk, should have a business continuity plan to guide their operations should a business interruption occur. Renton businesses can contact the Office of Emergency Management at 425-430-7000 or by email at for assistance with planning and preparedness.

Ways You Can Help

If flooding occurs there will be many ways to lend a hand.  If you are willing to help, please register today with Volunteer Solutions.  The City of Renton and other agencies will be requesting volunteers if needed using this website.

Recurring Drainage Problems

Do you have a recurring drainage problem?  Site visits to investigate recurring drainage problems and local flooding are made by the Surface Water Utility upon your request. Please contact Gary Fink, Surface Water Utility Engineer, at 425.430.7392 or by email using the link below.

Email Surface Water Utility


Emergency Notification

 Critical Emergency 
Information Webpage
 Renton RedAlert  Telephone Emergency Notification Service
 RPIN Regional Public Information Network
 NOAA Weather Radio
 Metro Transit Alert Center
 National Weather Service

  King County Flood Services 

 Other ways to stay informed:

  • Tune in to your Local Radio or TV station

Helpful Links

King County Flood Services

 USGS Service Water Stream Flow Data for WA 
 Volunteer in a Disaster
 How to Use Sandbags  

General Safety Procedures

 Plug Your Sewer Line
 Make a Toilet in an emergency