MSAW Series: Flash Flood Safety


Hello and welcome to the Monsoon Safety Awareness
Series presented by the National Weather Service in Flagstaff. Todays topic is Flash Flood
Safety Did you know that floods are the leading cause
of death among thunderstorm related hazards in the U.S? And did you know over 90% of those
deaths occurred in Flash floods? It’s true, but highly preventable! Hopefully this video
will help you to be prepared in the event a Flash Flood affects you, as well encourage
you to make the right choices to avoid danger. Flash flooding is especially common in the
Southwest as the dry desert soils don’t absorb heavy rainfall efficiently, and the region
is covered with narrow canyons and dry washes that are highly susceptible to floods. These
canyons and washes can quickly turn into raging rivers in the event of a flash flood. Take
a look at these pictures of the normally busy recreational hot spot of Slide Rock State
Park, near Sedona, contrasted with a flash flood taken in the same location. As you can
see, these flood waters can be very dangerous with canyons and creekbeds such as this one
being very sensitive to heavy rainfall. So is it a good idea to set up a campsite
in a dry creek bed or base of a canyon? Hopefully you answered no, that is a not a good idea,
and a common cause of death and injury among recreationalists. The leading cause of death and injury among
flash floods however does not come from campers or outdoor enthusiasts, it comes from drivers.
More than half of the flash flood related deaths come from people trapped in their vehicles.
Did you know it takes as little as two feet of flowing water to sweep a car away? And
the force of the current is not always obvious, which is why you should NEVER try and cross
flooded roadways. The water may be deeper than it appears, or the road could be washed
out beneath you. Every year motorists across the Southwest take unnecessary risk, so just
remember our motto, Turn around dont drown! (Musical Break) So lets conclude this video with some basic
terminology every resident in the Southwest should be familiar with. What’s the difference
between a watch, warning, and advisory? Starting with a Flash Flood Watch, this means conditions
are favorable for flash floods, but one is not currently happening. When a flash flood
watch is issued, be aware of enhanced flash flood potential, especially near canyons,
washes, and recent burn areas. Keep an eye to the sky and listen for possible warnings
or advisories if they are issued. A flash Flood Warning means a flash flood
is occurring, or eminent. This is your time to take action! Seek higher ground immediately
and never drive through flood roadways or normally shallow creek beds. Don’t play or
linger near flood areas and listen to NOAA weather radio, or visit or website for flooding
details. Also remember, it does not have to be raining over your head to have a flash
flood. Water flowing downstream can flood areas far away from the parent thunderstorm. Finally, a flood advisory means heavy rainfall
has caused urban areas or small streams to experience minor flood. While the situation
may not be particularly life threatening, flood waters can still be dangerous. Exercise
caution near flood zones and take action by moving to safety if necessary. Stay tuned for tomorrows topic of lightning
safety, and be sure to find us on facebook, twitter, and youtube. Thanks for watching!

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