PA severe weather awareness week: flash flooding

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Severe Weather Awareness Week continues with Wednesday’s topic:  Flash Flooding.

Did you know more people are killed by flash flooding than by any other storm-related weather hazard? So often people tempt to drive through watered covered roadways only to be swept away by unsuspecting strong under currents which can lead to death.

If you come across a water covered roadway it is best to “turn around…don’t drown”. You need to find another route to ensure your safety and perhaps even save your life. It’s a simple rule but many lose their life by not adhering to it.

Flash flooding is caused by very heavy rain, often caused by slow moving thunderstorms. Drainage systems and low lying areas are overwhelmed, and creeks and streams are usually vulnerable to flash flooding. Flash flooding occurs in both rural and urban areas.

A watch is issued to give you a heads up to prepare to quickly move to higher ground. You need to watch water levels very closely, especially if you know you are in an area prone to flooding, and be ready to evacuate if necessary immediately. If you are driving at night, it is very difficult to see how deep water which covers a road may be. Error on the safe side and do not drive through. Find another way to go.

A warning is issued when rapid life-threatening flooding is occurring or will be soon. This means heavy rain will cause water to rise and overflow the banks of water ways nearby. They may be issued if a levee or dam fails. In any case, head to higher ground immediately to protect your life and property if you are in the danger area.

Flash Flood_Watch-VS-Warning

Most cars will float in just 16 to 18 inches of water. If rising water captures your automobile, it could easily sweep you away. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to determine when an area may be flooded.

For more information on Flash Flooding and Severe Weather, check out the National Weather Service site at:

Be smart and stay safe everyone!
– MaryEllen Pann, FOX43 Chief Meteorologist
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