Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other
thunderstorm related hazard. Why? The main reason is people
underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in
automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are
preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers
that warn you the road is flooded.
Whether you are driving or walking, if you come to a flooded road,
Turn Around Don't Drown®
You will not know the depth of the water nor will you know the condition
of the road under the water.
|Follow these safety rules:
- Monitor the NOAA Weather Radio, or your favorite news source for
vital weather related information.
- If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Get out of areas
subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes
- Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing
fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams.
Turn Around Don't Drown ®
- Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive
through flooded roadways. Turn Around
Don't Drown ® If your vehicle is suddenly
caught in rising water, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes,
particularly during threatening conditions.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize
for heat related fatalities, more deaths occur from flooding than any
other hazard. Why? Most people fail to realize the power of water. For
example, six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock you off your
While the number of fatalities can vary dramatically with weather
conditions from year to year, the national 30-year average for flood
deaths is 127. That compares with a 30-year average of 73 deaths for
lightning, 65 for tornadoes and 16 for hurricanes. National Weather
Service data also shows:
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.
floods can develop within minutes or hours depending on the intensity
and duration of the rain, the topography, soil conditions and ground
- Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle-related,
- The majority of victims are males, and
- Flood deaths affect all age groups.
Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and
bridges, and scour out new channels. Rapidly rising water can reach
heights of 30 feet or more. Furthermore, flash flood-producing rains can
also trigger catastrophic mud slides.
Occasionally, floating debris or ice can accumulate at a natural or
man-made obstruction and restrict the flow of water. Water held back by
the ice jam or debris dam can cause flooding upstream. Subsequent flash
flooding can occur downstream if the obstruction should suddenly
release. More information can be obtained at the
Southern Region Flood