AUBURN, Ala.—Flash floods can occur when a large amount of rain falls at one time thus filling up drains and water has nowhere to run off. Streets and parking lots can fill up with water quickly.
Six inches of fast-moving water can knock you off your feet; a depth of two feet will cause most vehicles to float. Flash floods can pick up cars, campers and mobile homes. They can roll large rocks, knock down trees, and rip out roads and bridges.
According to the National Weather Service, a flash flood watch means there may be flooding. Stay alert and watch. Keep an eye on rivers, creeks and streams. If they rise, don’t wait; get to high ground fast.
A flash flood warning means there is flooding. Act at once. Move to a safe area on high ground.
“Be prepared for a flash flood warning by being alert and having a plan,” said Henry Dorough, the Alabama Extension representative for the Extension Disaster Education Network.
“Know where and how to get to higher ground. Keep out of storm drains and don’t play in irrigation ditches, dry washes or other waterways.” said Dorough, who is also a county Extension coordinator in Talladega County. “These places can be dangerous even in fair weather. When it rains, the water can get deep fast and the current can be strong.”
If you are in a car, watch for flooding at bridges and dips in the road. Never drive where water is over bridges or roads. Rapidly rising water can carry your car away and you with it or the road may already be washed out. Leave your car any time it is trapped in water. Move quickly to high ground.
Many flash flood fatalities occur at night, and most victims are people who become trapped in automobiles. At night you can’t see the dangers of flooding. Be especially careful. If you drive into water by mistake, stop, get out and climb to higher ground immediately.
After a flash flood is over, keep listening to radio and television reports. The flooding may spread and large areas may be under water.
Alabama Extension’s Emergency Handbook
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has an iBook to help families, businesses and communities prepare for storms and clean up after they pass. The Emergency Handbook is a comprehensive resource for emergency planning, preparation and storm recovery. It is available as a free download from iBooks.