Flash Flooding Safety

  • Flash Flood Watch means conditions are favorable for heavy rains in a short amount of time that may lead to flooding.
  • Flash Flood Warning means heavy rain is causing areas to flood quickly and you should seek shelter if it is near you.

The term flood is used when a long period of rain causes water to overflow on land, either due to poor drainage or rising water from rivers/streams/etc.    Flash flooding is used when a heavy amount of rain falls very quickly in a short period of time, and causes dry areas to get replaced by large amounts of water.  This results in roadways being flooded, especially under overpasses.

There are several safety rules that you can incorporate into your severe weather plan when it comes to flash flooding.

  • Do not cross a flowing stream where the water is above your ankles. Moving water carries a tremendous amount of energy and you can be quickly swept off your feet.
  • A similar rule applies when you are in a car. Never try to cross a water-filled roadway where the depth is not known. If you happen to get caught in an area of rising water and your vehicle stalls, leave it. The rising water maybe powerful enough to sweep the vehicles and its occupant away.  Water just over one foot deep is enough to make many cars float.
  • Be especially cautious at night. You often arrive upon a flood area without notice.
  • Heavy rains are often channel into ditches and gullies and this can turn an area into a quick and fast rising stream of water in a matter of minutes. This means never camp on low ground next to these areas, since it could catch you off guard while your sleeping.