Floods can strike without warning as a sudden rush of water in a desert wash that can sweep a car away or a slow creep. They can roll boulders the size of cars, destroy buildings and bridges and take lives. Floods cause more damage and take more lives than any other weather related event in the United States.
The National Weather Service hosted National Flood Safety Awareness Week to try to educate people on the hazards associated with floods and what can be done to save lives.
Here in the Grand Valley flash floods can sneak up without warning, even if it's not raining where you are. "If you get a good thunderstorm upstream they can turn into flash floods and it can happen very quickly" says Bryon Lawrence of the National Weather Service. What makes flooding happen so quickly here in the valley is the dasert soil. Our soil is hard, dry and rocky and water runs off quickly with little being soaked in.
Drivers should remember that two feet of water on a road can cause a car to float and as little as six inches of fast moving water can sweep you off your feet. Never drive or walk across flooded areas, "Turn Around Don't Drown." If you find yourself in an area where flooding is occuring, you are encouraged to move to higher ground away from the flooded areas.
If you are planning a hike or a bike ride into slot canyons or rugged terrain, know some escape routes and always let someone know your plans before leaving. You should also keep up with current weather reports. Just because it's sunny where you are doesn't always mean that it sunny everywhere around you. A strong thunderstorm miles away upstream can cause a sudden flash flood.
Damage to your home cause by flooding is not covered under typical homeowner's policies. Contact your insurance agent nowand ask about coverage. There is a thirty day waiting period for new ploicies. For more information about floods and coverage just click on the links below.