Thanks for sharing your story pitty. Having seen floods myself I am convinced that most of the time people can know whether the area they live in has the potential to flood. You just have to study topography maps, and you can even predict the path that the water would take were a dam to break. Even easier is knowing whether the area has ever flooded before. If it did, it will flood again some day. If it hasn’t flooded before, you can still reasonably guess whether it will at some future point.
And as you say, have some basic flood supplies on hand too.