Flood Safety Awareness Week March 12th-16th
Not only are floods the number one weather killer, but it's also pretty much our biggest weather threat in the Valley. So it's very important to pay attention and know the risks.
Last year we had some very heavy spring rains that did cause flooding, and two people even died in our area from trying to cross a flooded road.
The National Weather Service is promoting tips all week to help keep you safe .
Monday's tip: The Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, (or AHPS), which provides river forecasts.
This info is very easy to access and is helpful for anyone who lives along rivers or enjoy recreation along the local rivers, or even for farmers. In some cases these are updated as frequently as every 15 minutes.
Now you can view the information by going to http://water.Weather.Gov.
Here's a look at the site:
Scroll the mouse over the Virginia area.
You will see "Baltimore-Washington" pop up.
You can click on that area and it will bring up a closer look at the flood levels of the rivers in our area.
You can see by looking at the key to the right that green means no flooding is going on.
You can also click onto an area with some more detailed info about flood stages and their forecast.
This tells you some great information like how high the river will get, and when.
Where flooding will occur and how long the flooding will last.
Also remember that when you put yourself at risk by trying to cross a flooded road or waterway, your also putting rescue crews in danger if they have to come out to help you.
Most flood fatalities are actually a result of walking or driving through flood waters.
Did you know it only takes 6" of fast moving water to knock over an adult?
It only takes about 2 feet of rushing water to sweep away a car.
If you see water covering even part of a road, just remember to turn around because you don't know how deep that water is.
By just turning around it can prevent many tragedies.
Many people just don't realize the power of water.
Not only did we have two deaths last spring due to flood waters but several others had to be rescued. This can be prevented.
Also keep in mind that when you decide to put yourself at risk by getting into flood waters, your also putting rescue crews at risk for when they have to come out to save you.
Wednesday's Topic: Inland Flooding, from a big event like a hurricane or a tropical cyclone. It may not seem like we live that close to the water, but actually some of the worst flooding the valley has ever seen actually came from a hurricane.
The Valley also came close to major flooding last year from hurricane Irene. Most people think of strong winds when they here of a hurricane, but heavy rainfall that leads to flooding can often cause the most damage. It's important to pay attention to the forecast and know that tropical storms can cause major flooding hundreds of miles inland and the gradual incline of our terrain can actually increase the intensity of a systems rainfall.
Hurricane season is not that far away so it's important to plan ahead and the hurricane that caused so much flooding that would be Hurricane Fran in 1996, which is the satellite image you see above. The south fork of the Shenandoah river crested 22 feet above flood stage.
Thursday's Tip: Flooding is probably one of the biggest weather concerns for our area, and tonigh't topic is on flood insurance.
Did you know that if a flood affects your home, your homeowners insurance probably will not cover the damage? Since flooding causes the most damage in most years, flood insurance is important for every family to consider.
It is mandatory for anyone who lives in a designated high-risk flood hazard area, and who has a federally-backed mortgage.
For everyone else, you can still purchase it, and flooding does routinely affect people who live outside the designated highest risk areas.
Friday's Tip: The National Weather Service has devoted this day to general safety. Flooding actually causes more damage in the united states than any other severe weather related event. It can occur in any state at anytime of the year.
Friday afternoon's rain was fairly light and steady, which is good. However it wasn't enough to really saturate the surface and the ground is still pretty dry.
All it could take is a heavy downpour from a strong thunderstorm and flash flooding could happen.
Here's some information on watches and warnings.
We will actually cut into programming if a flash flood warning is issued by the national weather service. A flash flood warning means that flooding is happening fast, and right now, and your safety may be at risk.
At times you may not have advanced warning on flash flooding because it can happen so suddenly.
It's important to have a plan in place for you and your family. Log onto http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov/ and scroll down to flood safety. You can find information on a family disaster plan.