National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Friday, March 22, 2013

...2013 National Flood Safety Awareness Week...

The National Weather Service’s annual Flood Safety Awareness Week campaign comes to an end today. The final topic for this week is flood safety.

Based on a 30 year period, floods are the deadliest weather related killer in the United States, averaging over 100 deaths per year. The most frightening aspect is that most flood related deaths occur when people enter flood waters.

Great Ohio Valley Flood of 1913 Storm Tips Poster

It is never safe to enter a flooded area.  Here are some reasons why.

  • As little as six inches of quick moving water can knock a person off their feet.
  • Blocked culverts and drains can create dangerous current when the debris suddenly breaks loose
  • A water depth of two feet can float most automobiles, including trucks and sport utility vehicles
  • Floating debris unseen in floodwaters can knock or trap someone unexpectedly
  • Downed electrical wires could cause electrocution
  • Most flood waters are contaminated and could lead to disease or illness if you are exposed

The following are safety tips you can use to help protect yourself in case of a flood.

• If flooding occurs, get to higher ground and stay away from areas that are subject to flooding.

• Do not allow anyone to walk or play near high water, storm drains, or ditches. Hidden dangers could lie beneath the water.

• Flooded roads could have significant damage hidden by the water. Never drive across floodwaters or flooded roads. Never ignore barricades, as they are placed there for your protection.

• Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams or washes, particularly when threatening weather conditions exist.

• Be especially cautious at night when it is much more difficult to recognize flood dangers.

Additional information about Flood Safety Awareness Week can be found at WWW.FLOODSAFETY.NOAA.GOV or For more information about the Great Ohio Valley Flood of 1913 please visit