Sign up to receive news, disaster safety tips, emergency preparedness updates, and special store discounts from American Family Safety. But drinking polluted water is only one of the ways you may become ill if your town floods during a disaster.
Flash Flooding occurs in creeks, streams, and urban areas within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall. River Flooding occurs from heavy rains and in extreme cases, river floods can last a week or more. Areal Flooding occurs from heavy rainfall that leads to widespread flooding of low lying areas, typically the water is ponded and not flowing. Within flood warning products, the NWS conveys the magnitude of observed or forecast flooding using flood severity categories. Products available on the AHPS web pages include forecast hydrographs, probabilistic forecasts, historical crest data, flooding impact information, maps of gage sites, pictures of gage sites, inundation mapping, and links to forecast and observed precipitation data.
The theme for Tuesday is "Turn Around, Don't Drown", which is a National Weather Service campaign to warn the public of the hazards of walking or driving through flood waters. Everyone lives in a flood zone, with their risk of flooding ranging from low to moderate to high.
You may think that you are covered for flood damage, but most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage, and just a few inches of water in a home can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Homeowners, renters, and business owners are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as their community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.
Since 1989, North Carolina has been subject to 14 federally declared disasters, including Hurricane Floyd, which resulted in $3.5 billion in damage and the destruction of 4,117 uninsured or under-insured homes. North Carolina's vulnerability to hurricanes and devastating flooding makes it crucial that communities and property owners have accurate, up-to-date information about flooding risks.
Based on a 30 year period, floods are the deadliest weather related killer in the United States, averaging over 100 deaths per year.
If flooding occurs, get to higher ground and stay away from areas that are subject to flooding.
Most flash floods are caused by slow moving thunderstorms, thunderstorms that move repeatedly over the same area, or heavy rains from tropical storms and hurricanes. Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels. Occasionally, floating debris or ice can accumulate at a natural or man-made obstruction and restrict the flow of water.

FLASH FLOOD or FLOOD WATCH: Flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated watch area — be alert.
FLASH FLOOD or FLOOD WARNING: Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent — take necessary precautions at once! URBAN and SMALL STREAM ADVISORY: Flooding of small streams, streets and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains is occurring. Researchers are figuring out ways to blend data from radar, satellite, lightning, and rain gauges to improve flash flood monitoring and prediction. NOAA Research is working hard to improve warnings and forecasts of floods and flash floods.
For more information about flood watches and warnings in your area, visit the NOAAWatch Flood Warning Web site. These flood severity categories include minor flooding, moderate flooding, and major flooding. The AHPS provides forecast information including more accurate predictions of the magnitude and likelihood of hydrologic events, ranging from droughts to floods.
Never drive through flooded roadways, as water only two feet deep can float most automobiles.
Hurricane Dennis in 1999 dropped several inches of rainfall over central and eastern North Carolina a few weeks before Hurricane Floyd made landfall, dropping another several of inches over already swollen rivers and saturated soils.
This is a federal program enabling property owners to purchase insurance protection against losses from flooding. Since Hurricane Floyd, the state of North Carolina has invested millions of dollars into the NC Floodplain Mapping Program where high resolution LIDAR elevation data was used to produce much improved flood inundation maps. The National Weather Service believes that accurate, up-to-date flood hazard information is crucial to protect lives and property.
The most frightening aspect is that most flood related deaths occur when people drive onto flooded roadways or simply walk through moving water.
Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded. These floods can develop within minutes or hours depending on the intensity and duration of the rain, the topography, soil conditions, and ground cover. By investigating the meteorological causes of flash flooding and working on flash flood and river flood warning decision making tools, we hope to see more lives saved and less property destroyed. In September of 1999, Tropical Storm Dennis and Hurricane Floyd delivered a one-two punch to North Carolina resulting in catastrophic flooding that killed more than 25 people in this state alone, and left thousands homeless.

As a result, on average more deaths occur each year due to flooding than from any other weather related hazard. In addition to wind, tornadoes, and storm surge flooding, many tropical systems produce inland freshwater flooding. Catastrophic and record flooding resulted with over 50 fatalities resulting from fresh water drowning in North Carolina alone. Low hazard flood areas are also at risk, as 25 to 35 percent of all claims each year are paid for property located outside high risk areas.
It takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it is important to buy insurance before floodwaters start to rise. You will not know the depth of the water nor will you know the condition of the road under the water.  Whether you are driving or walking, if you come to a flooded road, Turn Around Don't Drown! Subsequent flash flooding can occur downstream if the obstruction should suddenly release. Every March the National Weather Service spends a week focusing on flood prevention and awareness. Because every minute counts, the AHPS can help emergency managers be more proactive to defend against a flood.
More than half of all flood related deaths result from vehicles being swept away downstream by flood water. The AHPS provides community leaders and business owners with additional information to make better life saving decisions about evacuations or moving property before a flood, and this information will help recreational users stay out of harm's way. Of these drowning deaths, many could have been prevented by people simply not driving into flooding areas. A water depth of two feet can float most automobiles, including trucks and sport utility vehicles. While most floods cannot be prevented, there are simple steps you can take to protect your life and property.

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