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  • Most flood-related accidents could be avoided when people who come upon areas covered with water followed this simple advice: Turn Around Don't Drown.

  • The reason that so many people drown during flooding is because few of them realize the incredible power of water. A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles. This includes pickups and SUVs.

  • If you come to an area that is covered with water, you will not know the depth of the water or the condition of the ground under the water. Play it smart, play it safe. Whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded road, Turn Around Don't Drown

  • 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 etc.
    • 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
    • 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 flood dangers.
  • Flooding Safety Actions
    • Never play in flooded areas. There can be hidden sharp objects, electrical lines and pollution which are all serious hazards.
    • In highly flood-prone areas, keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, lumber and shovels.
    • Be aware of streams, canals and areas known to flood, so you or your evacuation routes are not cut off.
    • Stay away from downed power lines and never drive into moving water.
    • Drive carefully when water covers the road. If the road surface is obscured, water may be deeper than it appears.
    • Do not use food that has come in contact with floodwaters.
    • Do not use water that has come in contact with flood waters until it has been tested by authorities.
    • Determine the elevation of your property. Consider what you can do in advance. Evaluate your insurance coverage.
  • Flood Hazards
    • The amount of rainfall can vary greatly from year to year. Some years brings floods. Other years bring droughts, or periods of little to no rainfall. Scientists have shown that these extreme conditions are related to the temperatures of the Pacific Ocean near the equator. The unusual warming of the Pacific Ocean and the winds above it causes a weather pattern called El Nino. El Nino usually brings heavier than normal rainfall for southern states. These heavy rains can cause our rivers and streams to overflow. Low areas may flood even though they are not near the rivers. Meanwhile, it brings warmer and drier weather to the states in the northwest.
    • When the Pacific Ocean currents are cooler than normal, it causes the jet stream to stay further to the north. This weather pattern is called La Nina. In southern states, La Nina can cause a drought. In the northern states, it can cause colder weather and heavier than normal rainfall which could lead to rivers and streams to overflow. The two weather patterns usually follow each other, and have the most noticeable effect during the winter.
  • Hurricanes, Typhoons and Flooding
    • More tropical weather systems affect Florida than any other state in our country. Hurricanes and typhoons can cause storm surges along the coast. Storm surges occur when high winds bring a rush of water inland. These can be very dangerous to people who live along the coast. Because of advanced warnings of storms, residents can evacuate or leave the coastal areas to stay safe.
  • Pooling Floodwater
    • With every new home or street, there are fewer places for the rainwater to go. All of the water cannot absorb into the ground. With nowhere else to go, it runs off into rivers and streets.
    • When heavy rains fall the water can spread out like sheets. This type of flooding is called sheet flow. If the ground is saturated, or full of water already, this water will flow across fields, yards and streets. These floods can cause severe damage to roads as well as to people's homes.
    • Water can pool in low-lying areas for days or weeks. You should never play in standing floodwaters. The water can be contaminated with bacteria or chemicals that can cause you to become sick. Standing water is also a natural breeding ground for mosquitoes. Therefore it is important to avoid pooled water.
  • Moving Floodwaters
    • Rivers and streams that run out of their banks can cause waters to move. This moving water is especially dangerous when it crosses roadways. Moving water just two inches deep can cause a driver to lose control of the car. As the water gets deeper, the force it exerts on the car increases. One foot of moving water can carry most cars off the road!
    • You should never try to cross a flooded road if you cannot tell how deep the water is. This becomes impossible at night when it is dark. Your best choice is to turn around and find a safer route.
  • Flooding Facts
    • As little as one foot of moving water can carry most cars off the road.
    • Just six inches of fast-moving floodwater can sweep a person off his or her feet.
    • Most flood-related deaths occur at night and are vehicular.
    • Urban and small stream flash floods often occur in less than one hour.
    • Tropical cyclones pose significant risk well inland due to fresh water flooding.