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*** Weather Safety Alert Bulletin ***

Severe Weather Awareness Week

Flash Floods and Flood Safety Tips

Turn Around Don’t Drown

Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. Why? The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drowning, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.

Whether you are driving or walking, if you come to a flooded road, Turn Around Don't Drown. You will not know the depth of the water nor will you know the condition of the road under the water.

Floods and flash floods are the number one cause of deaths associated with thunderstorms in the United States, averaging 106 deaths per year.

Flooding can occur anytime and anywhere. Six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock you off your feet. A depth of two feet will float most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles. While most floods cannot be prevented...there are simple steps you can take to protect your life and property.

If flooding occurs...

Typical questions about flooding:

Q: How do I know how severe a flood will be?

Once a river reaches flood stage, the flood severity categories used by the NWS include minor flooding, moderate flooding, and major flooding. Each category has a definition based on property damage and public threat.

The impacts of a floods vary locally.  For each NWS river forecast location, flood stage and the stage associated with each of the NWS flood severity categories are established in cooperation with local public officials.  Increasing river levels above flood stage constitute minor, moderate, and major flooding.  Impacts vary from one river location to another because a certain river stage (height) in one location may have an entirely different impact than the same level above flood stage at another location.

Q: What's the difference between a flood and flash flood?

A flood occurs when prolonged rainfall over several days, intense rainfall over a short period of time, or an ice or debris jam causes a river or stream to overflow and flood the surrounding area. Melting snow can combine with rain in the winter and early spring; severe thunderstorms can bring heavy rain in the spring and summer; or tropical cyclones can bring intense rainfall to the coastal and inland states in the summer and fall.

A flash floods occur within six hours of a rain event, or after a dam or levee failure, or following a sudden release of water held by an ice or debris jam, and flash floods can catch people unprepared. You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. So, if you live in areas prone to flash floods, plan now to protect your family and property. The use of the word “flash” here is synonymous with “urgent.”

 

Follow these safety rules:

Most flash floods are caused by slow moving thunderstorms, thunderstorms that move repeatedly over the same area or heavy rains from tropical storms and hurricanes. 

These floods can develop within minutes or hours depending on the intensity and duration of the rain, the topography, soil conditions and ground cover.

Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels. Rapidly rising water can reach heights of 30 feet or more. Furthermore, flash flood-producing rains can also trigger catastrophic mud slides.

Occasionally, floating debris or ice can accumulate at a natural or man-made obstruction and restrict the flow of water. Water held back by the ice jam or debris dam can cause flooding upstream. Subsequent flash flooding can occur downstream if the obstruction should suddenly release.

Flash Floods Can Take Only a Few Minutes to a Few Hours to Develop

Prepare a Family Disaster Plan

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Containing . . .

When a Flood WATCH Is Issued . . .

When a Flood WARNING Is Issued . . .

When a Flash Flood WATCH Is Issued . . .

When a Flash Flood WARNING Is Issued . . .

MOST IMPORTANTLY if you come to a flooded roadway of any kind remember Saving your life – and your car – is as simple as choosing a different route when you see water across a roadway. So day or night, when there's water on the road and

Turn Around Don’t Drown!

Information provided by National Weather Service Kerry Jones and Amarillo KVII Chief Meteorologist Steve Kersh and the CDC

Safety Alerts are a publication of the information from various sources to share with the community. The information contained in this newsletter has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, and the editors have exercised reasonable care to assure its accuracy. However, Ken does not guarantee that the contents of this publication are correct. We welcome topics of interest from our readers. Material may be rewritten to conform to newsletter space. Material should be addressed to the Ken Oswald, Safety Manager, 54 Saddle, Clovis NM 88101.

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