Flood Emergencies

Flooding can occur with little warning, but there are ways to stay informed. The National Weather Service issues flood warnings, watches and advisories as needed. The Village will issue a CodeRED alert and post the information on the Village communication channels described below under Warning Systems. 

Flash Flood Warning -Take Action! Issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring.  If you are in a flood prone area, immediately move to high ground.

Flood Warning - Take Action!  Issued when hazardous weather is imminent or already happening. If you are in a flood prone area, immediately move to high ground. 

Flood Watch - Be Prepared!  Issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible. Monitor USGS gages, CodeRED alerts and weather reports. Consider moving vehicles to higher ground and critical belongings to higher floors, especially if more rain is predicted overnight. 

Flood Advisory - Be Aware! Issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. Local rainfall can quickly escalate this to a watch or warning. Be aware of local conditions. Consider moving vehicles to higher ground as evening approaches if heavy rain is predicted overnight. 


Warning Systems

In addition to the Village’s CodeRED alerts, the following communication channels are used for updates during an emergency:

Please note if an emergency occurs after hours, only the Village's Facebook pages will be updated to provided the most timely information. 

When severe weather is a possibility, the Village encourages everyone to follow local news/weather channels or visit the National Weather Service website, weather.gov to monitor the situation. These entities have far more resources to monitor weather than the Village could ever have and will be your best source of information as the situation progresses.

When properly filled and placed, sandbags can protect homes from low depth flooding of up to approximately two feet. Sandbags can be used to protect the low points where water can enter homes, such as window wells, stairwells, doorways or garage doors. The largest limitation of using sandbags is the time required to fill and place the bags. 

Sandbagging Instructions

  • Fill sandbags only 1/2 to 2/3 full
  • Fold top of sandbag down and under the placed bag
  • Place bags with the folded top toward the upstream or uphill direction to prevent bags from opening when water runs past them.
  • Place each sandbag in an overlapping pattern, completing each layer prior to starting the next layer. Limit placement to two layers unless a building is used as backing or sandbags are pyramided.
  • When protecting door or window, place plastic under and behind the bags.
           Fill sandbag cartoon            Sandbag cartoon placement

Sandbag Disposal 

Used sand bags are not collected by the Village. To properly dispose of used sandbags: 
  • Spread clean sand in an area where fill is permissible. 
  • Contaminated sand, that has come in contact with flood waters, may be disposed of in the garbage or spread in an area that will not allow for immediate human contact. Bacteria will dissipate with time and exposure to the elements.
  • Contaminated sand should not be placed in playgrounds, sandboxes or gardens. 

Sandbag Alternatives 

New to the market are a number of “sandless” sandbag options that vary in size and length, some of which are reusable. Sandless alternatives include bags that are the same size as regular sandbags but are filled with a material that swells when wet. Other sandbag options include long rubber tubes, which when filled with water, vary from 6 feet to 50 feet in length and from 6 inches to 2 feet in height. 

These alternatives allow homeowners to have the protection available in the home before a flood warning has been issued. These products are available primarily online with some options now available for pick up at home improvement stores. Common product names include Quick Dam, Floodsax, Stormbag, Hydrasorber, Hydrabarrier and Watercurb. Additional product details and website information is provided. Please note the Village of Swansea does not endorse any of these products. Please research each product to determine if they will meet your needs. 

Storm Debris in Disaster Areas 

To help people manage debris generated from the tornadoes or severe storms, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency created a Storm Debris in Disaster Areas Fact Sheet (PDF) which explains how to safely dispose of storm waste.