The National Weather Service kicked off National Flood Safety Awareness Week yesterday with an important message of education, awareness and survival. According to the National Weather Service, floods over the long-term have killed more people in the United States than any other type of severe weather.
The goals of the flood awareness campaign are to educate people on the hazards associated with floods and flash floods as well as to let everyone know what can be done to save lives and protect property. Each day this week features a different awareness theme. Today’s topic is Terms and Definitions… what to listen for.
A flash flood is a rapid rise of water along a stream or low-lying area after a heavy rainfall or from the failure of a dam, levee, or ice jam.
A flood is defined as water overflowing the confines of a river, stream, or body of water. A flood can also occur when water accumulates in poorly drained, low-lying, or urban areas.
Hazardous Weather Outlooks will be issued to alert of the potential for flooding and/or flash flooding, as much as seven days in advance.
Flood and Flash Flood Watches will be issued when conditions are favorable or flooding or flash flooding, respectively. Watches indicate a need for planning, preparation, and an increased awareness of changing weather conditions.
Flash Flood Warnings are issued when flash flooding is imminent. A flash flood warning requires the need to take immediate action for protection of life and property.
Flood Warnings are issued for flooding along rivers and streams. Point-specific warnings are issued for specific river forecast points and areal flood warnings are issued for a generalized area such as an entire county. Again, a warning indicates the need to take immediate action to protect life and property.
Turn Around, Don’t Drown is a national Weather Service Campaign to warn people of the hazards of walking or driving a vehicle through flood waters. Road signs are used in many parts of the country during flood episodes that warn motorists to “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”.
Wednesday addresses preparedness and safety. Flood insurance is the topic for Thursday. And Friday gives a peek at Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.
Visit www.weather.gov/gjt and click on 'Flood Safety Awareness Week 2009' for information each day or tune into 106.7 FM for flood awareness tips on the National Weather Service's radio station.