Questions and Answers about the Flood Alert System
Why do you need my name?
Your name will be used to help identify and verify your account if you call for assistance in the future.
Why do you need my e-mail?
You need to use your e-mail address to sign in and confirm or update your subscription preferences. It is also used to send a password reminder if you forget your password in the future.
Why does it say "your e-mail cannot be confirmed?"
You must type your e-mail twice – in the "E-mail" field and the "Confirm e-mail" field. This helps prevent typos to ensure that you will get your alerts (and can sign in to check or update your subscription).
Is my phone number required?
You do not need to enter your phone number unless you want to receive alerts by phone.
How do I sign up for text message alerts?
Put your cellphone or other text message (SMS) device's phone number in the
"Text / SMS phone number" field. This number will be sent a text
message for each alert.
Do I have to receive text messages on my cellphone?
No, if you cannot receive text messages or do not want to receive them, leave the "Text/SMS phone number" field blank. Make sure your cellphone number is in either the "Voice phone 1" or "Voice phone 2" fields so it will receive voice alerts.
Can I receive text messages on multiple cellphones or other devices?
We do not currently have the ability for you to enter multiple text message numbers on one account. There are two work-arounds available:
How many alert lists can I sign up for?
You can sign up for as many of the rivers and flood phases as
you like. Each alert type is sent separately when the Flood Warning
Center determines that a river has reached a particular phase threshold.
How will I know I'm signed up?
I keep getting a "server busy" message.
You may be redirected to this page for a number of reasons – in order to serve as many people as possible, our subscription form does limit the number of accounts you can sign up at once. If you need to sign up multiple people for alerts (e.g. co-workers), you can add more the next day or call 206-263-3400. You may also see this page due to a large number of people signing up at once. Please try again later.
Is my contact information kept private?
Where do the messages come from?
King County has contracted with the vendor MyStateUSA for message delivery. E-mail and text messages will come from the address email@example.com – you may need to add this address to your "allowed sender" list or otherwise adjust any spam-blockers to ensure that you receive the alerts. The phone messages will come from the phone number 206-296-8200.
What do Phase 2, Phase 3, and Phase 4 mean?
King County issues flood alerts based on a four-phase warning system, issued independently for each river. The thresholds for each phase are based on river gages which measure the flow and stage (depth) of major rivers in various locations. Phase 1 is an internal alert to King County staff. Phase 2 indicates minor flooding in some areas. Phase 3 indicates moderate flooding in some areas. Phase 4 indicates major flooding in areas. Flood alerts are intended to provide information that can help in making health, safety and economic decisions during a flood. For more information, see the Flood Warning Pages.
Will I get phase alerts when the rivers go down?
No, the Phase 2, 3, and 4 alerts are only issued as the rivers rise past the phase thresholds. They are not re-sent as the rivers recede back past the thresholds again. However, if a river falls and the phase is lowered, and then later the river rises above the next threshold again, a second alert may be issued (since the river is rising at that point).
What happened to Phase 1?
Phase 1 is an internal alert to King County staff and is not issued publicly.
Will I receive any other alerts besides the ones I signed up for?
You will also be added to a "River emergency" list for each river you signed up for. The "River emergency" alerts will be used for any flood-related emergency. If you receive a "River emergency" alert, please check your local news media, the King County Web site at http://www.kingcounty.gov/flood, or call call 206-296-4535 or 800-768-7932.
What does "River emergency" mean?
The "River emergency" alerts will be sent for any emergency conditions or other critical notification other than a Phase 2, Phase 3, or Phase 4 declaration. It is impossible to define what conditions will result in a "River emergency" alert – possible examples could include events such as levees being damaged or overtopped, a chemical spill into a river, etc. Because of the wide range of possible emergencies, the alerts themselves are not specific. If you receive a "River emergency" alert, you will need to consult other sources (e.g. news media or the Web) for more information.
An example of a "River emergency" alert:
"This message is to inform you of emergency conditions associated with the Tolt River. For more information, see http://kingcounty.gov/flood or call 800-768-7932."
How do I sign up for the "River emergency" alerts?
You are automatically signed up for emergency alerts for any rivers you sign up for. For example, if you sign up for Cedar River Phase 2, 3, or 4 and Green River Phase 2, 3, or 4 then you will also be added to the Cedar River Emergency and Green River Emergency alert lists.
Do you issue alerts for other rivers or streams?
The Flood Alert System is part of King County's Flood Warning System, which issues flood phase declarations on six major rivers in King County. Though flooding occurs in other areas, only these six rivers are included in the Flood Alert System. River gage data is available online for other river systems (e.g. Skykomish River and Raging River) at http://www.kingcounty.gov/flood.
Automated alerts are one of many ways to help protect your home, family, or business during a flood. However, in an emergency no single system is foolproof. Therefore, it is important to check multiple sources for information – such as radio, television and the Internet – and use varied methods of delivery for getting information directly – such as voice, text or email.
King County cannot guarantee delivery of Flood Alerts through its Flood Alert System.
Follow these steps to be better informed and more confident you'll get advance warning of emergencies that may affect you.
King County Regional Public Information Network (RPIN)