Severe weather can be dangerous in many different ways—between lightning strikes, high wind and hail, there are countless ways that storms can cause damage. However, many people are surprised to learn that floods are the most dangerous severe weather incident of all. Floods are second only to heat when it comes to weather-related fatalities in the United States, and flash floods present the biggest risk.
Any type of flooding can be quite dangerous, but when it comes to flash floods, their sudden onset in addition to their ability to impact any area creates a deadly combination. Additionally, because any body of water can overflow during heavy rains, flash floods can impact any area—that is why we encourage people to always be aware of their risks and the top safety tips.
What Makes a Flood a Flash Flood?
A traditional flood will slowly begin to rise, while a flash flood must occur within the first six hours after a storm, but they often happen in as few as three hours. Flash floods tend to be more common in urban areas due to the possibility of blocked storm drains and drainage systems, and they can occur even in areas that are not situated low enough to be a regular flood concern.
What Are the Flash Flood Alert Guidelines?
Because flash floods can come about with little notice, if there is a storm and heavy rain in your area, you should always stay alert to local weather alerts so you have as much notice as possible in case waters near you start to rise.
Officials will issue a flash flood watch for a general area to encourage heightened concern, but if things progress to a warning, you will want to quickly take the proper precautions. If a flash flood emergency is issued, move to higher ground as quickly as you can, as these are rare and deadly conditions.
What Can I Do to Reduce My Flash Flood Risk Level?
It is important to prioritize safety for any severe weather event, but flash floods should be especially revered. Knowing the rules for safety can keep you and your family much safer if the waters suddenly begin to rise:
- If rain is heavy for an extended period, tune into official weather warning channels.
- Make sure you have a clear safety plan in place and that your family knows how to execute it.
- If you come across floodwater, never attempt to cross it by car or on foot.
- Avoid coming into contact with floodwater, as it can hide electrical currents and contaminants.
- When evacuating, have alternate routes in mind in case yours is blocked by water.
If your home or business has been damaged due to a flood or other severe weather, you can depend on SERVPRO of East Evansville.