Skip to Content

San Luis Obispo County, California


Flood Information

Helping HandsFlood

Localized floods are typical after heavy periods of sustained rain. If you live in a low-lying area, near a creek, or floodplain you are likely aware of this danger.  Yet in San Luis Obispo County we also have the possibility of flooding after a levee break or dam failure.  Preparation is much the same for any type of flooding you are at risk for. 


 Know the terminology

When a FLOOD WATCH is issued

  • Move valuable household possessions to the upper floors of your home
  • Fill your car's gas tank in the event an evacuation order is issued

When a FLOOD WARNING is issued

  • Tune in to local radio and television stations for important emergency information
  • When told to evacuate, do so as quickly as possible

When a FLASH FLOOD WATCH is issued

  • Watch for signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice

When a FLASH FLOOD WARNING is issued

  • If you believe flash flooding has begun, evacuate immediately as you may only have seconds to escape
  • Move to higher ground and away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains.
  • If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground


Prepare Yourself and Your Family

Before a flood

  • Determine whether you live in a flood zone. Use the link at the bottom of this page to check!
  • Find out if you have flood insurance.
  • Avoid building in a floodplain unless you will be elevating your home.
  • Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.

If you suspect a flood

  • Move furniture and valuables to higher floors in your home.
  • Turn on the local radio or TV station for up to date news.
  • Be prepared to evacuate. Grab your disaster supply kit, pets, and valuables.

As you are evacuating

  • Do not drive through water of unknown depth. 1 foot of water can float a vehicle.
  • Do not drive through rushing water. 2 feet of water can wash away even large trucks and SUVs.
  • Avoid downed power lines.
  • Do not drive around barricades. Roads or bridges may be washed out.


Photo of levee break, Arroyo Grande Creek

Dam/Levee Failure

  • Determine whether you live downstream from a dam or in the inundation area for a levee break.
  • Identify and know your evacuation routes.
  • Find out how you will be notified, should a failure or break occur.
  • Follow Flood Safety Tips

Most homeowner's insurance policies DO NOT offer protection against flood losses. For information about flood insurance, call your local insurance agent, or call the National Flood Insurance Program at (888) CALL-FLOOD. 

Click here to view the San Luis Obispo County Sandbag Resources List 

Click here to the Lopez Dam Flood Inundation Area supplied by the County Public Works Department

Click here to view Flood Hazard Maps supplied by the County Planning Department