When you think about life-threatening weather, you might be quick to imagine a dark storm cloud with crashing thunder, flashes of lightning, howling winds, maybe even a tornado. Did you know that in most years, flooding causes more fatalities than thunderstorms or tornadoes? The only more deadly weather-related hazard than flooding is extreme heat.
There are two main types of flooding: flash flooding, and floods from bodies of water like rivers or lakes. Flash flooding is important to understand in the areas you live, work, or otherwise spend time. With heavy or prolonged period of precipitation, where does flooding happen and how quickly? Bodies of water can also be impacted by precipitation, ice jams, dam activities, and more. You can find out more about the flooding types in your area by visiting weather.gov/safety/flood-map.
If you encounter flooding, the most important things to remember are to get to higher ground, and turn around, don’t drown. Most flooding-related fatalities occur in vehicles. Never drive around barriers or into flooded roadways. The road may be damaged and the water deeper than you think. It takes only 6 inches of fast-moving water to knock a person down. Only 12 inches of fast moving water can move a small car. A larger vehicle can be moved by 18 inches of fast moving water. These deaths are preventable!