Thursday, February 22, 2007

TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN!

That’s the catchy slogan the Weather Service came up with a few years ago to bring attention to the weather phenomenon that claims more live than any other. That’s right – Flash Flooding kills more people each year than tornadoes, lightning or hurricanes. For most people, water covering a road seems to be an invitation to danger. Instead of “turning around”, some will chance it, figure the water can’t be that deep. Then they’re shocked to find that their car is floating or stalls and the water begins to enter the car. This problem becomes worse at night, when you can’t see how deep the water is. You’ve probably seen dramatic water rescues on the news, but thought, “That won’t happen to me”.

Sometimes, flooding risks fall into a different category. It might have been raining for several days or there may have been a heavy rain event in a short period of time. If the ground becomes saturated from either the rain or recent wet periods, the water will flow downhill. As rivers and creeks swell from this runoff the water may eventually escape and begin to flood fields, roads and homes. Depending on the situation, it may take several days for the floodwaters to recede. So knowing where you live with respect to flood-prone areas is important. However, don’t depend on this when a Flood Watch or Flood Warning is issued in your area. Many people in Cobb county were surprised to find their homes and businesses flooded in the summer of 2005, when Hurricane Dennis dumped several inches there. Prior to that, those neighborhoods had never seen so much water.

For more on flash flooding, check out http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ffc/html/swaw07_fri.shtml

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