Recent Storm Damage Posts
The difference between flash flood watch and a warning
What's the Difference Between a Flash Flood Watch and Warning?
Tornadoes, lightning, hurricanes — all forms of severe weather can be deadly if proper safety precautions aren't taken. Flash floods are particularly threatening, and besides heat-related deaths, they cause more fatalities each year than any other climate hazard.
If you live in a region where flash floods are common, stay safe by learning the difference between a flood watch and warning, as well as what to do when a flash flood is likely to occur.
It's a Matter of Degrees, but Both Situations are Cause for Concern
It's important to understand the difference between a flash flood warning and flash flood watch. It's also important to know that the definitions of these two alerts differ from the definitions of warnings and watches given for other severe-weather conditions, such as hurricanes. And you definitely shouldn't assume you know the difference between watch and warning just because you're are familiar with winter storms.
- A flash flood watch is issued first. It means that current weather conditions are favorable for flooding. While a watch does not a guarantee that a flash flood will occur, it is a very good indication that your community will experience severe weather.
- A flash flood warning means a flash flood is either imminent or occurring. In fact, a flash flood can occur so quickly that there isn't time to send out a flood warning alert.
What Should I Do in a Flash Flood?
Most flash-flood fatalities occur because people either underestimate the power of fast-moving water or they are not prepared for an emergency situation. Follow these six tips before and during a flash flood to keep your family safe during severe weather.
- Have an emergency plan and kit ready to go. If you're forced to evacuate, you need to know where to go. Learn the highways that are safe to travel during a flood and which roads are likely to collect water. It's good to have an escape plan formed before imminent danger so you can quickly reach safe territory during flood conditions. Also, prepare and store an easily accessible emergency kit, packed with essentials like flashlights and a phone charger for your car.
- Stay up to date on weather forecasts. If you have a mobile device, you're likely to receive a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) during flash-flood conditions. It's still a good idea to be aware of possible of severe weather before these alerts are sent out. The more notice you have, the better prepared you can be for weather hazards.
- Don't wait until a warning to take action. As soon as you know a flash flood is likely to occur, take action. Depending on where you live, this might mean evacuating to safer territory – just disconnect utilities and appliances first. It might also mean getting off the road and finding higher ground.
- Follow evacuation orders immediately. You don't have to wait for orders to evacuate, but once these orders are given, you should follow them immediately.
- Move to the highest point possible and call 911 for help. If it's too late to evacuate your home, move your family to the attic or highest point possible and call 911 for help.
- Do not drive or walk near flooded areas. Over half of flood-related deaths occur when people drive their vehicles into flood water. The next highest percentage of drownings are caused when individuals try walking into or near flood waters, according to the Center for Diesease Control and Prevention . It only takes six inches of fast-moving water to knock over most adults and 12 inches of fast-moving water to carry away smaller vehicles. Never try to walk or drive through a flooded area. Turn around – don't drown!
Safety Tips during Thunderstorms
Always be Safe
How to stay safe indoors during a thunderstorm:
During an electrical storm, avoid:
- Avoid using a land line phone. Land line-base lightning strikes are the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the United States.
- Avoid having any contact with appliances connected to your plumbing, because it is typically tied to your home's electrical service for grounding.
- Avoid all contact with you home's plumbing, including the shower, bath, and sinks during an electrical storm.
- Avoid all windows and doors or standing outside on porches.
How to stay safe outside in a thunderstorm:
- Find shelter immediately in a substantial and enclosed building or a metal-topped vehicle, convertibles do not provide protection.
- If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck.
- Get away from isolated trees.
- Climb down and away from hilltops and other elevated areas.
- Stay away from objects and things that conduct electricity such as metal fences, power lines, or phone poles.
- Never lie flat in a field. You can still be hit through a ground-current strike.
Flood Season Is Here
Preparing for Floods
Water can be a nightmarish foe. Inside your home, less than one inch of standing water can cause thousands of dollars in damage by destroying wood-products and sheet rock, and providing an environment for mold. Outside in motion, water is incredibly powerful. One cubic yard weighs over 1,700 pounds. A mere 6 inches (that's 31.21 pounds) of water can knock an adult off their feet. Flood waters can plow through earthen dams, pull homes off their foundations and destroy them, sweep cars swiftly downstream, knock out power lines, and contaminate drinking water for weeks. Floods are the number one widespread natural disaster in the US and they often happen due to heavy rain fall from multiple storms or hurricanes.
What is a flash flood?
A flash flood occurs when powerful storms drop several inches of rain in one hour, the ground will not be able to absorb water fast enough. This produces heavy runoff that can quickly flood low-lying areas in less than 6 hours. Just one inch of rain over one acre of land can produce 27,154 gallons. That's over 100 tons of water suddenly on the move, carrying mud, boulders, and other debris. Flash flooding in urbanized and other paved areas can produce extreme flooding quickly, turning highway underpasses, underground parking third highest weather-related killer in the US.
How to keep safe during a flood:
Listen to the news and weather reports. NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) broadcasts continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office.
Listen for flood watches/warnings in your area. If your home is located in a flood plain or low-lying area prone to flooding, consider packing an emergency supply kit and personal items and evacuating to higher ground.
Protect your possessions and gather records:
- Copies of insurance policies with you agent's contact information
- Document and take photos of all household items and valuables.
- Copies of social security cards, passports, finance records and receipts of major purchases.
If your area is flooding or is flooded, stay out of flood waters as much as possible.
- Eating or drinking anything contaminated by flood water can cause diarrhoeal disease.
- Open wounds and rashes exposed to flood waters can become infected.
- Flood waters can displace animals and reptiles, including dangerous snakes.
Hurricane Season Approaching and Storm Preparedness Tips
Stand Back, there’s a Hurricane coming through.
With Hurricane season approaching, after such a horrible hurricane in Sandy a few years ago, it's important to be prepared. And to also stay up to date on the storms and where they are.
Even if you only get a brief part of the storm, it's important to be ready. Have water and gas in your cars.
While forecasting methods and tools are improving year after year, people are still at great risk to tropical storms and hurricanes because they continue to build along the coastline. That is one reason for this particular web site so that people can obtain a basic understanding of hurricanes and tropical storms. The other is to provide helpful information that will help communities and their residents to prepare for these storms.
And if you unfortunately have any damage, remember that we are always there to help. 24/7.
Call SERVPRO of Upper Eastside