Flooded front yard at 11665 Cottonwood rd . Cottonwood AL
Severe Weather Awareness Week continues today with a closer look at flood and flash flood safety. Alabama residents fall victim to these dangerous phenomena each year. General river flooding occurs when heavy rains and runoff fill river basins with too much water too quickly. Flash floods occur suddenly and usually within hours of excessive localized heavy rainfall. These flash floods can become raging torrents, ripping through neighborhoods, streets or valleys, destroying whatever is in their path.
When conditions look favorable for flash flooding, the National Weather Service will issue a flood watch, highlighting flash flood potential in and around the specified area, which usually covers several counties. This is the time to start thinking about your plan of action if water begins to rise or a flash flood warning is issued.
When a flash flood warning is issued for a smaller, more specific area, you must act quickly as flash floods are an imminent threat to you and your family. You may only have seconds to move to higher ground.
Here are some flood and flash flood safety rules...
During periods of heavy rains, stay away from known flood areas such as stream beds, drainage ditches and culverts. Move to higher ground if flooding threatens your area. Heavy rain should be a signal to alerting you to the possibility of dangerous flood conditions. If you live or work in known flood prone areas, remain alert during periods of heavy rain.
Never drive your car into water of unknown depth. Most flash flood deaths occur when people drive their vehicles into flood waters. Just remember, turn around don't drown. If your vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. Flood water may rise very quickly and could cover the vehicle and sweep it away. Be especially cautious at night as it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
Stay out of flooded areas. The water may still be rising and it is usually very swift. A rapidly flowing stream or ditch can sweep you off your feet or sweep your vehicle downstream. Children are especially vulnerable and should not be allowed to play in or around flowing water. Water can also run off streets and parking lots very rapidly, causing natural and man-made drainage systems to overflow with rushing flood waters. Flood waters can hide rocks, trees, trash and other types of debris that can be dangerous to someone in their path. Water is a very powerful force and should never be underestimated.