Flash Floods occur suddenly and usually within hours of excessive heavy rainfall. Flash floods become raging torrents of water, ripping through neighborhoods, streets, valleys, etc. sweeping away whatever is in their path. Flash floods can also occur with a dam or levee failure. Heavy rain should be a signal that alerts you to the possibility of dangerous flood conditions.
The following terms below are used to alert you of Floods:
Flood WATCH = issued when conditions look favorable for flash flooding (usually encompasses several counties). - this is the time to start thinking about your plan of action and where you would go if the water begins to rise.
Flash Flood WARNING = issued when dangerous flash flooding is happening or will happen soon (usually a smaller, more specific area that can be issued due to excessive heavy rain or a dam/levee failure). - this is when you must act quickly as flash floods are an imminent threat to you and your family (you may only have seconds to move to higher ground).
Flash Flood EMERGENCY = issued for the exceedingly rare situations when extremely heavy rain is leading to a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is happening or will happen soon - this is when emergency officials are reporting life-threatening water rises resulting in water rescues/evacuations.
Staying Safe During Floods:
- If you live or work in flood-prone areas, remain alert during periods of heavy rain.
- During periods of heavy rains, stay away from flood-prone areas such as stream beds, drainage ditches, and culverts.
- Be especially cautious at night as it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
Children are especially vulnerable and should not be allowed to play in or around flowing water.
- Move to higher ground if flooding threatens your area.
- Never drive your vehicle into water of unknown depth (most flash flood deaths occur when people drive their vehicles into flood waters, Remember: "Turn Around Don't Drown!")
- If your vehicle stalls in water, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground (flood water may rise quickly, cover the vehicle and sweep it away).
Always remember that water is a very powerful force and should Never be underestimated.
For more information on how to prepare for Flash Floods, please click here.