Too much water, in too short a time, with nowhere for it to go. Flooding is that simple.
We don’t need thunderstorms to get it; we can see it anytime of year when too much rain…especially on saturated ground…causes water to pile up.
People in low-lying areas, areas with drainage problems, and anywhere close to rivers or streams are the most likely victims.
There are two kinds of flooding.
“Flash flooding” is just that…flooding that can happen in a flash. Water can rapidly rise and rush with heavy rain…and this flooding can ease almost as fast as it moves in. This can be particularly dangerous, as sometimes…in a matter of minutes…areas can go from no flooding problems to a river of water coming through.
“Areal Flooding” or “River Flooding” is typically longer term. An extended period of wet weather leaves rivers running high; any more heavy rain can keep rivers above flood stage for days.
Regardless of flooding type, the number one cause of fatalities is from people trying to drive through flooded areas.
The safety saying is “Turn around, don’t drown.”
Do not try to drive on water-covered roads. Two feet of moving water can sweep a car away. Plus, the water may be hiding where a road or bridge has washed out.
A good rule of thumb: if you can’t see lane markings through the water, it’s too deep to go through.
Do not drive around barricades. They are there to protect you, and driving around or moving barricades can be illegal.
Be extra careful at night, when visibility is already lower…and it may be hard to tell what’s road and what’s water.
Stay away from anywhere water is rising or rushing. Six inches of rushing water may be enough to knock someone off their feet. Move to higher ground, and keep children from playing near high water.
When heavy rain occurs, always be aware of your surroundings when traveling or if you’re in a flood-prone area. Be sure to stay up with the latest flood watches (heavy rain is expected and flooding could occur) and warnings (flooding is taking place or is imminent).