SEVERE WX : Flood Watch - Flood Warning View Alerts

Understanding the True Dangers of Flash Flooding

Do you know the dangers of flash flooding?

Posted: Jan 25, 2021 1:44 PM

Sometimes in the Tri-State when it rains, it can really pour. When heavy downpours occur in the region the threat of flash flooding quickly becomes a reality in many neighborhoods in the area. Unfortunately, many can undermine the power of water compared to other natural phenomena such as tornadoes or hurricanes. When ranking natural disasters worldwide, flooding is the third-leading cause of fatalities behind winter weather and heat.

Firstly, let analyze difference between a flood and flash flooding. A flood is long-term and can last for days or even weeks at a time. The biggest distinction is, flooding is not depending falling rain. Flooding is usually caused by a surplus of snow melt downstream, breaching of levees/dams; it also unleashes widespread damage. This natural disaster is usually limited to regions near rivers and coastal areas.

On the other hand, flash flooding can happen wherever it rains. Flash flooding is defined when heavy rainfall exceeds the ability of the ground to absorb it. They also occur when water fills normally dry creeks or streams or enough water accumulates for streams to over top their banks, causing rapid rises of water in a short amount of time. Although flooding can be long-lasting, flash flooding is more dangerous because they combine the destructive power of a flood with incredible speed. In addition to it's short-term destruction, metropolitan areas, like Evansville, have the highest risk of experiencing flash flooding. Densely populated buildings, highways, driveways, and parking lots increases runoff by reducing the amount of rain absorbed by the ground. This runoff increases the flash flood potential that can quickly gather on roadways.

Luckily there is a cautionary tip to alleviate the danger of flash flooding. It's simple: TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN. It is a cliché statement due to over usage, but it still holds life preserving value. Whenever the National Weather Service issues Flood/Flash Flood Watches and/or Warnings the best practice is to avoid any amount of puddling on the streets and find an alternate route. Underestimating the power of water has proven to be the deciding factor between life or death. According to NOAA, the flowing power of 6" of water can generate enough energy to sweep you off your feet; 2 feet of flowing water can float a car.

Evansville
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Owensboro
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Washington
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