Blog: Flood Safety

Blog: Flood Safety

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Although they may seem obvious, I wanted to take a moment to go over some safety tips for you and your family to keep in mind in the event of flooding this weekend.

Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard.

In 2014, flash and river floods claimed 38 lives. The 2014 flood casualty total was well below the 10-year average of 71 deaths. Of those 38, 16 (42%), were killed in a vehicle, likely trying to cross a flooded road.

This is flood safety tip Number 1 and by far the most important. TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN. Meteorologists say it again and again yet it continues to happen. Remember, even if you think you can make it across a flooded road in your vehicle, it is impossible to know what the condition of the road is like beneath the water. You may get stuck trying to cross the road, and since flash flooding can occur in a matter of minutes, the flood water may continue to rise. Water is incredibly powerful, and it only takes 6 inches of fast-moving flood water to knock over an adult.  It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including pickups and SUVs.

Right now, we have Flood Watches and Warnings, and a Flash Flood Watch in effect across the Carolinas. (To find out what watches and warnings are in effect for your town or city, be sure to download the WBTV weather app). The main difference between a Flood and a Flash Flood is that a Flood typically brings a more gradual water rise (think: rivers) while Flash Flooding occurs much more rapidly and can happen anywhere (in a flash!) In both cases:

Watch = "Be Aware." Conditions are right for flooding to occur in your area.

Steps to Take:

Turn on your TV/radio. You will receive the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
Know where to go. You may need to reach higher ground quickly and on foot.
Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.

Warning = "Take Action!"  Flooding is either happening or will happen shortly.

Steps to Take:

Move immediately to higher ground or stay on high ground.
Evacuate if directed.
DO NOT walk or drive through flood waters.

You can find more information from the National Weather Service here, and from FEMA here.

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