Floods kill more people on average than tornadoes and lightning combined, and most flood deaths are due to flash floods. Flash floods are often the result of heavy rains associated with severe thunderstorms. You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming.
When a Flash Flood Watch is issued, be alert and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice.
When a Flash Flood Warning is issued, or the moment you realize a flash flood is imminent, act quickly to save yourself. You may only have seconds!
Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are auto related. In your automobile, look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges, and low areas. Do not drive through flowing water. A mere two feet of water will carry away most automobiles.
Severe weather can present serious hazards. Establishing a good plan today and being aware of watches and warnings for your area will allow you to make timely and safe decisions.
Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.
However, all floods are not alike. Some floods develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days. But flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water that carries rocks, mud, and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path. Overland flooding occurs outside a defined river or stream, such as when a levee is breached, but still can be destructive. Flooding can also occur when a dam breaks, producing effects similar to flash floods.
Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry stream beds, or low-lying ground that appears harmless in dry weather can flood. Every state is at risk from this hazard.