Flash floods are one of the deadliest and most dangerous storm-related weather hazards in the world. As the word implies, flash floods happen suddenly, leaving little amount of time for warning. They usually happens in-streams, canyons, or dry river beds.
It occurs when water flows into a region faster than it can be absorbed into the soil. It is a sudden local flood characterized by a great volume of water in a short duration. Flash floods happens within minutes or hours, caused by heavy rainfall or a release of water from a dam. They move at a very destructive speed and often occur with very little warning.
It is difficult to predict flash floods, so here some signs that we should look out for and be aware of the conditions that can lead to them:
- Flash floods occur within six hours of a rain event
- Listen for news of failure of dam or levee
- Watch out for slow-moving storms that repeatedly move over the same place
- Another source of intense rain are hurricanes
- A sign that the ground is over-saturated with water and flooding can occur anytime when you see water being collected in pools
- Do not park your car near a river or on a street that floods easily. Some lands are being turned from fields or woodlands into roads and parking lots, losing its ability to absorb rainfall.
- Always be aware of a “flood watch” or “flood warning” from your local weather services.
Predicting Flash Floods
Forecasters need to know where the “bulls’ eye” of intense rain is:
- How much rain is falling
- How fast it is coming down
- How soaked the soil is
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