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Locally Heavy Rainfall from Texas Into the Southeast; Critical Fire Weather Conditions for Parts of the West

Locally heavy rainfall and flooding will remain possible from east Texas into the Southeast through Thursday. Meanwhile, critical fire weather conditions are again expected over parts of the Great Basin. Elsewhere, a low pressure system will bring heavy rainfall, gusty winds, and cooler temperatures to the Pacific Northwest. Large swells and rip currents will continue along much of the East Coast. Read More >

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North Texas Flash Flood Climatology

   

 

Flash flooding kills more people annually than any other type of severe weather.  There are numerous social, educational, and political issues that contribute to the high fatality rates associated with flash flooding.  According to the American Meteorology Society (AMS), flash flooding is a “flood that rises and falls quite rapidly with little or no advance warning, usually as the result of intense rainfall over a relatively small area.”  But what does that mean?  How much rain over how big of an area constitutes a flash flood?  Forecasters, the public, the media, storm spotters, and law enforcement officials all have ideas about whether a situation is a flash flood or not.  It is ultimately up to National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters to classify whether an event is a flash flood.  Storm Data, issued by the National Climatic Data Center, is the official publication for severe weather events.  Flash flooding was first documented in Storm Data in 1995. 

 

Unlike other severe weather events, such as tornadoes and hail, flash flooding can be caused and exacerbated by high population densities and poorly planned urban infrastructure.  This makes flash flooding a unique warning and forecasting challenge as forecasters must take into account more than just meteorological factors.  That is why this database, which identifies the most dangerous locations in north Texas, can be a crucial piece of information for issuing effective warnings.  In addition, findings from this study may be incorporated into warning templates, thereby strengthening the public’s perception of danger and hopefully saving lives.

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