Many people do not know this, but flooding kills more people than any other weather hazard. The majority of deaths from flooding occur when people become trapped in automobiles that stall while driving through flooded areas. Nearly half of all flood fatalities are vehicle related. Flooding is usually divided into two categories. These categories are flash flooding and river flooding. Both of these can cause death, injury, and property destruction.

Flash floods are usually caused by slow moving thunderstorms or thunderstorms that move over the same area one after the other. These floods usually occur within 6 hours of heavy rainfall and are usually more life threatening as a result. Areas most prone to floods are mountainous streams and rivers, urban areas, low-lying areas, storm drains, and culverts.

River flooding is caused by the gradual increase in the water level of river or creek. These floods usually occur seasonally with general rains, or with heavy rainfall from tropical systems. A good example of this flooding is the flooding that affected south Georgia after Tropical Storm Alberto in 1994.

Flood waters in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your family?

Know what to listen for. A Flood Watch or a Flash Flood Watch means that conditions have been detected that could lead to flooding of a certain area. A River Flood Warning or a Flash Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent and you should take action immediately. You can monitor the weather radio or any local radio or TV station to get the latest information.

If flooding occurs get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding such as canyons, dips, low spots, and washes.

Avoid areas already flooding, especially if the water is fast flowing. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Road beds may be washed out due to the flooding. Never try to cross flooded roadways.

If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.

Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to see flood dangers.

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