Most deadly severe weather hazard
Over the last 30 years, on average, flash flooding kills more people each year than any other weather phenomenon. Stats from around the U.S. show about 85 fatalities per year due to flooding. Tornadoes are in second place, with a 30-year average of 75 deaths annually.
Flash flooding can occur when very heavy rain falls in a short period of time. Stream flows can rise well above their banks. Most flash flood deaths occur in areas near creeks and rivers. Even without rain, levee or dam failure may also constitute flash flooding.
A FLASH FLOOD WATCH means conditions are favorable for flash flooding to occur so precautionary measures should be taken.
A FLASH FLOOD WARNING means flash flooding is occurring or imminent and you should immediately move to a safer location.
Determine your risk of flash flooding by knowing your proximity to streams.
Densely populated areas are at a greater risk for flash flooding because pavement and concrete increases runoff. Less water being absorbed by the ground means there is more water available to overwhelm storm drains and flood low-lying areas.
For outdoor enthusiasts, it is important to be aware of rain potential before you head out-especially if fishing or camping near a body of water. A creek that is only six-inches deep can rise up to 10 feet if an area is inundated with intense rainfall. Quick water level rises, a muddy discoloration or loud noise may be a sign of trouble upstream meaning you should move to safer ground.
Almost half of all flash flooding deaths occur in vehicles. In 2013, more than half of the deaths attributed to flash flooding were related to driving. Many do not realize that two feet of water can cause most cars to float. In many cases, where water is moving quickly on roadways, it is near a river or creek making vehicles more prone to be swept away. Even for roads you travel frequently, if you can't see the ground, you can't be sure what lies beneath-the road could have washed away.
The National Weather Service says it best when it comes to driving in a potential flood situation, "Turn around, don't drown!"
More information from SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK can be found by clicking here.
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