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Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Although many floods are caused by huge storms like hurricanes, more floods occur every day and can result from small, localized events, such as a typical afternoon thunderstorm. 

Unfortunately, most flood fatalities are not due to limitations in the forecast system.  All too often, people in vehicles literally drive into harm’s way.  While it may appear that water is not deep enough to cause problems, there is almost no way of knowing if the roadbed itself has been eroded or undermined. Always remember: Turn around, don't drown. 

Do you really know how deep the water is?

Flood Safety

  • Do not walk through flowing water: Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you walk in standing water, use a pole or stick to locate the ground below.
  • Do not drive through flooded areas: During a flood, more people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Do not drive around barricades, as there may not be a road or a bridge where one used to be.
  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires: The second highest cause of death during a flood after drowning is electrocution. Report any downed power lines. Electrical currents can travel through water. 
  • Have your electricity turned off by the power company. If an appliance or motor has gotten wet, make sure it has been properly cleaned and dried before resuming use.
 Watch vs. Warning
Flash Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area, move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. 

Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

Flood Watch: Be Prepared: A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.

Flood Advisory: Be Aware: A Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property. 
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