When it Rains, it Pours

With the slow, but steady departure of winter, one would think the warnings and watches of West Virginia weather would be in the rearview mirror. 

That is not always the case.

Arguably, West Virginia’s biggest threat when it comes to Mother Nature is flooding, and in the past few weeks, it seems like no one can listen to the weather forecast, without hearing the words “flood watch” included.

Once again, we are witnessing heavy, steady rains that can lead to potential flooding of creeks, streams, and rivers.

I felt like now would be a good time to refresh the blog readers minds’ on flood terminology, flood safety tips, and post some useful links with informative weather related information. 

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

Flash Flood Watch:
Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

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

If flooding looks to be likely, you should do the following:

– Listen to the radio or television for information.

Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.

Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.

If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:

– Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.

– Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:

– Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

– Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.

The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:

– Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.

– A foot of water will float many vehicles.

– Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.

Flood terms and safety tips from www.fema.gov

To check out river levels head to: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=pbz&gage=hano1 

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