Severe Weather Survival Guide


Flooding is often overlooked when it comes to severe weather. But floods account for almost two times as many fatalities each year than tornadoes and hurricanes combined.

There are different types of floods, like flash floods, urban floods, river floods and coastal floods.

River flooding usually lasts the longest up to a week or more! While flash and urban floods are short term events that usually happen within 6 hours after a heavy rain.

River flooding occurs with a prolonged rain event that can last for weeks to months. This occurs when the soil has become saturated and cannot absorb anymore water. It then spills into the nearby streams and rivers causing floods. Coastal flooding can occur in marshes from prolonged rainfall or from hurricane storm surge.

How intense the rain is and how long it lasts are two key factors in having a flash flood. Other elements like topography and ground cover can be factored in when experiencing a flash flood. Levee or dam failure can cause flash floods as well. Flash floods can destroy buildings, tear out trees and has been known to reach heights of 30 feet or more.

Urban floods occur because concrete and pavement obstruct water’s ability to soak into the soil. The water has no place to go so flooding occurs. Streets can become rapid rivers and basements can fill up with water.

IMPORTANT FACT: Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet and only two feet of water can float your car!

Preparing for a Flood

Make sure you know your flood risk and elevation above flood stage. If your streams or rivers near your home flood easily make sure you have a plan and move to a safe place. Keep your automobile fueled and store drinking water in containers in case electricity and water services are interrupted. Also keep a stock of food that requires little cooking and no refrigeration as well as first aid supplies.

GOOD POINT: You also might want to install check valves in building sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.

During a Flood

Head for higher ground and stay tuned to Storm Team 12 for the latest flood stages, school closings, evacuations, shelters and other storm related information.

Before you evacuate your home make sure it’s secure. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture and move valuable and sentimental items to an upper floor or attic. Make sure you turn off your utilities at the main switches or valves, if you are instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

After a Flood

Stay tuned to News 12 and Storm Team 12 for reports on the safety of your community’s water supply. Also avoid moving water and floodwaters all together, they may contain raw sewage, oil, gasoline and they could be electrically charged.

Return home only after authorities say it is safe to do so. Use extreme cautions when entering buildings, there can be hidden damage, especially in foundations. Make sure you service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems because damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards. Then clean and disinfect everything that was wet, items can contain chemicals or sewage from the flood waters.

Flood Terms to Know

Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to Storm Team 12, NOAA Weather Radio, or commercial radio, for information.

Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; Tune into Storm Team 12, listen to NOAA Weather Radio, or commercial radio.

Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

Sources: National Weather Service and FEMA

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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