Flash Floods Explained: What To Do If You Are Impacted
1. What is a flash flood?
A flash flood is defined as any flood that develops in less than six hours (AJC.com).
Heavy rains can cause flash floods, but there are other factors that can escalate the problem quickly, such as dam failures, ice jams and snow melt.
What to do: Know your flood risk and your elevation above sea level. Clear your gutters and your foundation of excess snow during the winter.
2. Flood watch vs flood warning
A flash flood watch indicates that a flash flood could happen. A flood warning means that a flash flood is currently happening or is imminent in the area (weather.gov).
What to do: Check in with your local weather service and heed their warnings. Stock up on clean drinking water, nonperishable food and first aid supplies in the event of a flood watch.
3. Just a few inches of water can sweep you away
It only takes six inches of water to knock an adult off of their feet. Two feet of water is enough to carry away most automobiles. Water weighs 62.4 pounds per cubic foot and typically flows downstream at 6 to 12 miles per hour. However, the most dangerous factor is buoyancy. As water surrounds a car, the car loses 1,500 pounds for each foot of water rising, making it easy to get swept away (weather.gov).
What to do: Never try to drive through standing water. Puddles are deeper than they appear. Turn around and find a different route or wait for waters to subside.
Move to higher ground. If you come in contact with flood waters, you need to wash your skin and clothes with antibacterial soap because flood waters can contain dangerous contaminants.
Article courtesy of MetLife