Heavy rains can cause flash flooding in streams and tributaries with little warning, and create potentially dangerous situations for residents, motorists and pedestrians. In fact, most flood-related casualties are due to underestimating inherent dangers. Flood waters less than knee deep can easily sweep you away, and shallow levels of water (six inches to a foot) over a road can float many vehicles.
A flood watch means flooding is possible in your area.
A flash flood watch means flash flooding is possible.
A flood warning means flooding is occurring or will occur soon.
A flash flood warning means a flash flood is occurring.
To avoid potentially dangerous situations during flooding:
- Stay informed on the weather conditions via your NOAA Weather Radio, local radio or television stations.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If a flash flood watch or warning is issued, immediately move to higher ground.
- Do not try to drive or walk through flood waters. The depth of water is not always obvious, the road may be washed out and you might not see it.
- If floodwaters rise around your vehicle, immediately abandon the car and if safe to do so – move to higher ground.
- Avoid walking through moving water. Six inches can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving, using a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Take the safest routes possible, do not drive around barricades, they are there for your protection, turn around.
- Be especially cautious driving at night, as it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
- Avoid taking any unnecessary risks.
- If you have to evacuate or travel on the road, know your route and the condition of it, and take your emergency kit with you.