Flash flood facts and safety information - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Flash flood facts and safety information


When you hear the word ‘water', you may think of swimming pools or weekends at the lake. You might even think of a long rainy day. But that seemingly harmless rain water can become extremely dangerous with very little warning. Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from tornadoes, hurricanes, and lightning combined, resulting in more than 140 fatalities each year.

Most flash floods are caused by slow moving thunderstorms, thunderstorms that redevelop over the same areas, or heavy rains from tropical storms and hurricanes. River flooding on the other hand is often caused by: excessive rain from tropical systems making landfall, persistent thunderstorms over the same geographical area for extended periods of time, the combination of heavy rainfall and snowmelt, or Ice jam.

A flash flooding is a rapid rise of water along a stream or low-lying urban area. Flash floods have and can occur in all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and occur at any time day or night. Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, trigger mud slides, and pose a significant threat to human lives.

Almost half of all flash flood fatalities occur in vehicles. Many people do not realize 2 feet of water on a bridge or highway can float most vehicles. If the water is moving rapidly, vehicles can be swept off bridges and roadways. Water can erode the road bed, creating unsafe driving conditions. Many flash floods occur at night when flooded roads are difficult to see. When you approach a flooded road, turn around, don't drown!

If flash flooding occurs:

-get to higher ground

-get out of areas subject to flooding

-avoid areas already flooded

-do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Six inches of moving water can cause a person to fall.

-never drive through flooded roadway. Two feet of moving water can carry away most vehicles.

-do not allow children to play near high water, storm drains, or ditches. Hidden dangers could lie beneath the water

Yes, water can be fun and relaxing. But remember, a lot of water in a short amount of time can quickly turn dangerous. Remember all of these flash flooding safety tips, but especially, TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN!

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