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FLASH FLOODS

Flash floods can strike any time and any place with little or no warning. In mountainous or flat terrain, distant rain may be channeled into gullies and ravines, turning a quiet streamside campsite or wash into a rampaging torrent in minutes. City streets can become rivers in seconds. Observe these flash flood safety rules. They could save your life.
  • Keep alert for signs of heavy rain (thunder and lightning), both where you are and upstream. Watch for rising water levels.
  • Know where high ground is and get there quickly if you see or hear rapidly rising water.
  • Be especially cautious at night. It's harder to recognize the danger then.
  • Do not attempt to cross flowing water which may be more than knee deep. If you have doubts, don't cross.
  • Don't try to drive through flooded areas.
  • If your vehicle stalls, abandon it and seek higher ground immediately.
  • During threatening weather listen to commercial radio or TV, or NOAA Weather Radio for Watch and Warning Bulletins.
Flash Flood Watch means it is possible that rains will cause flash flooding in the specified area. Be alert and prepared for a flood emergency.

Flash Flood Warning means flash flooding is occurring or is imminent in the specified area. Move to safe ground immediately.

NOAA PA 77014


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Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services
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Silver Spring, MD 20910
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Last Updated: March 24, 2005