High water mark signs intended to raise flood awareness

Signs show how high water levels rose during 1995 floods
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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Most long-time Roseville residents no doubt remember the floods of 1986 and 1995, and don’t want those disasters to happen again.

Neither does the city of Roseville, which is reminding residents of the dangers of floods and encouraging them to prepare for any future flooding as part of the “Know Your Line: Be Flood Aware” initiative launched by FEMA, California Department of Water Resources, United States Army Corps  of Engineers and other federal agencies.

Signs installed around city

The city’s Public Works Department recently installed high water mark signs at four locations throughout Roseville to build awareness about flooding. The signs show how high flood waters have risen in the past. There are two signs for Dry Creek at Riverside Avenue; one for Dry Creek at Columbia Avenue; one for Cirby Creek at the intersection of Tina Way and Elisa Way; and two for Linda Creek at Champion Oaks Drive.

Each sign notes the elevation of that specific creek on Jan. 10, 1995. For instance, Linda Creek’s level reached 159.56 feet that day, and Dry Creek rose to 132.74 feet.

“Installation of these signs serves to underscore Roseville’s commitment to alerting and educating our residents and businesses of the devastating impacts of floods and the importance of flood preparedness,” said Carl Walker, the senior civil engineer who oversees Roseville’s Know Your Line program.

Roseville’s potential for flooding

Roseville is situated within portions of two major drainage basins: Pleasant Grove Creek Basin and Dry Creek Basin. The Dry Creek system has year-round flows in its major watercourses, while the Pleasant Grove system is intermittent with seasonal flows.

Portions of the city lie within a flood hazard area, which are defined as places that have a 1 percent chance of flooding in any given year — also referred to as the 100-year flood.

The city has implemented floodplain management policies to reduce the likelihood of structural flood damage. According to spokesman Brian Jacobson, Roseville remains the only city in the United States to have obtained FEMA’s highest ranking for flood control and protection.

“Because of that ranking, residents and businesses save 45 percent on their flood insurance premiums,” Jacobson said.

Walker said Roseville’s National Flood Insurance Program status provides a cumulative insurance premium savings of $800,000.

But the potential for flooding remains each time winter rolls around, and the Public Works Department has implemented a flood warning in the city should flood waters occur.

How to respond to floods

If flooding does occur, warnings will be broadcast on Roseville’s Government Access Channel, which airs on cable channels Comcast 14 and Surewest 73. The warnings will also be broadcast over AM 530 radio and on the city’s website (

This system provides residents with up to a three-hour advance warning of flooding within the 100-year floodplain. But the critical piece to this puzzle is residents understanding how to prepare for the potential of floods.

The city recommends residents become informed of potential flooding at their properties by contacting the Engineering Division at (916) 746-1300. Flood-proof by elevating your structure, if possible, and keep sandbags on hand.

Personal safety is most important, and residents should be prepared with a first aid kit, water and nonperishable foods, portable radio, flashlights batteries and a nonelectric can opener. Practice safe routes out of your house and establish a safe place to meet should family members become separated.

A person caught in rising waters should never try to swim to safety, and instead move to the second floor or roof of the building, and wait for rescue teams to arrive.