Oklahoma and Arkansas
Severe Weather Awareness Week

February 22-26th, 2010


Flash Flood Flash Flood Information and Safety
Flood Safety
Turn Around
Don't Drown
NWS Tulsa
Hydrology Page
Tropical Inland Flooding
A flash flood is a rapid rise of water along a stream or low-lying urban area. Slow moving thunderstorms or thunderstorms that move repeatedly over the same area often produce flash floods. These floods can develop within minutes...depending on the intensity and duration of the rain...topography...soil conditions...and ground cover.
On average...flooding is the number one weather related killer across the country each year. Most flash flood fatalities occur at night when it is harder to see and are a result of victims driving their vehicles into flood waters. In 2009...there were 7 flood related fatalities in Arkansas and 1 in Oklahoma.
Flash floods can roll boulders...tear down trees...destroy buildings...and scour out new channels. Rapidly rising water can reach heights of 30 feet or more depending on the terrain. Water can erode the road bed creating unsafe driving conditions. Underpasses can fill rapidly with water...while adjacent roadways are clear. Flowing water that is 2 feet deep is sufficient to carry away most cars and trucks… including pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.
Determine your risk when a flash flood warning is issued. In urban areas...storm drains can become overwhelmed and flood roads and buildings. Low spots such as underground parking garages and basements can flood quickly. In rural areas...people who enjoy hunting...camping...and fishing should stay away from streams if thunderstorms have occurred.
Here are some flash flood safety tips...purchase a NOAA Weather Radio so you can monitor vital weather information. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize the dangers of flash flooding. Avoid low spots prone to flooding. Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes...particularly during thunderstorms. Go to higher ground when flooding occurs in your vicinity. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams with your vehicle: remember...turn around...don’t drown. If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water...leave it immediately for higher ground.
For additional information about flash floods...contact your local National Weather Service office in Tulsa.

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