National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Heat, Severe and Fire Weather

Excessive heat warnings persist across the Desert Southwest, while the heat and humidity lingers along the East Coast. An extensive zone of strong to severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and locally heavy rain are expected along a strong cold front from New England to the south-central Plains. Finally, elevated fire weather threats/red flag warnings are likely across the Inter-mountain West. Read More >

 

Severe Weather Awareness Week
Main Page Severe Thunderstorms Flash Flood Safety Tornadoes & Tornado Safety
Lightning Safety Watches & Warnings Creating a WeatherReady Nation
Flash Flood Safety
 
Turn Around...Don't Drown
A flash flood is a rapid rise of water along a stream or in a low-lying urban area. Flash flooding can result from slow-moving thunderstorms, from numerous thunderstorms which develop repeatedly over the same area, or from heavy rains associated with tropical cyclones. These floods may develop within minutes, depending on the intensity of the rainfall, the topography, soil conditions, and ground cover.

Flash flooding is the number one storm-related killer in the United States. Why? Most people fail to realize the power of water. Too often, people decide against finding a detour and attempt to pass over a flooded roadway because they believe they can safely make it. Drownings of this nature are 100% preventable simply by not driving or walking onto flooding roads. Most vehicles will become difficult to control in as little as six inches of water and can be swept away in 18 to 24 inches of water. The national 30-year average for flood deaths is around 127 people per year. National Weather Service data also indicates that nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle-related. The majority of victims are males, and flood deaths affect all age groups.

Turn Around Don't Drown

So, how can we stay safe from the dangers associated with flash flooding?

  • Monitor NOAA Weather Radio or your favorite news source for vital weather-related information.
  • If flooding occurs, quickly move to higher ground. Stay out of areas subject to flooding, such as dips, low spots, canyons, washes, etc. Do no camp or park your vehicle in these areas, particularly during threatening conditions.
  • Avoid areas which are already flooded, especially if the water is flowing quickly. Never attempt to cross flowing streams. Road beds may be washed out under flood waters, which could cause your vehicle to become stranded in floodwaters. Never drive over flooded roadways.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize the dangers of flooding. If you are unsure that the road is clear, Turn Around...Don't Drown.
Back to Top