Flash floods and floods are the number one cause of deaths associated with thunderstorms in the US, claiming more than 100 lives annually. Flooding also causes more damage in the United States than any other weather-related event, with an average of $4.6 billion a year.
According to the National Weather Service, in Colorado, floods and flash floods have accounted for 315 fatalities since 1920. Authorities say nearly half of all flood fatalities are vehicle related. They say drivers should remember that two feet of water will cause most vehicles to float and than six inches of fast-moving water can knock you off your feet.
Today continues the National Weather Service's Flood Safety Awareness Week where a different flood awareness topic is highlighted. Today touches on Preparedness and Safety. The National Weather Service says these are some basic safety rules everyone should be aware of:
-Before venturing into flood prone areas, monitor your favorite information source for vital weather updates.
-If you find yourself in an area where flooding is occurring, move to higher ground away from areas subject to flooding.
-Avoid areas already flooded and do not attempt to cross flowing streams.
-Never allow children to play around high water, storm drains, viaducts, or arroyos.
-In a vehicle, do not drive around barriers that warn you the road is flooded.
-Never drive through flooded roadways, as the roadbed under the floodwaters may be washed out.
-Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes if there is a threat of flooding.
-Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
There are also some safety rules specific to slot canyons and rugged terrain:
-Check in at visitor centers or contact stations to obtain permits.
-Become familiar with the terrain and know your escape routes.
-Be aware that deadly flash flood waters can travel from many miles away with travel times of 10 mph or more.
-Always let someone know your itinerary before venturing out.
For more information on national Flood Safety Awareness Week, visit www.weather.gov/gjt.