Pacific Northwest Flash Flood Awareness 2014

Hi I’m Troy Lindquist
Meteorologist with NOAAs National Weather Service
As part of severe weather awareness week I wanted to discuss the threat of flash flooding
caused by thunderstorms and heavy rain. Areas susceptible
to flash flooding may not be easily recognized because they are not located near a river
or are usually dry. However, when heavy rain begins to fall during a brief summer thunderstorm,
runoff can quickly fill a dry wash with a raging torrent of water. I’m standing in a
dry wash right now in Southern Idaho that has been the site of several damaging and
deadly flash floods. It’s dry right now but it only took about 30 minutes from the onset
of heavy rain for this area to become very dangerous during the last major flood, which
happened here on September 5, 2013. Low water crossings are particularly dangerous. These
are locations where water may flow across a low spot in the road during a flash flood
as happened here in the summer of 2013 and 2007, sweeping cars off the road. There are
literally hundreds of similar locations across the rest of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
The key safety message that we would like you to remember is to “Turn Around, Don’t
Drown!” anytime you encounter water flowing across a road. The National Weather Service
issues flash floods watches and warnings to help keep you and your family safe during
a flash flood, but ultimately it is up to you to remember to stay on high ground until
the flooding subsides and to never try to cross flowing water in a vehicle. For the
National Weather Service, I’m Troy Lindquist.

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