Tropical Storm Cindy Brings Flash Flood Threat
June 21, 2017
Yes, it's true - even if you're inland, you can still face threats from hurricanes and tropical storms. One of the largest threats we face from tropical systems in Tuscaloosa County is the risk of flooding. There are different types of flooding, but they are all deadly if you don't take precautions to keep yourself safe. In fact, flooding is the leading cause of weather related deaths in the United States.
In most tropical systems, the bulk of the heavy rain and the gusty winds extend much further out from the center of the storm, and the effects of that storm can be felt even if you are several states away from the center. That's the case this week with Tropical Storm Cindy - much of the heavy rainfall is on the northeast side of the storm, which is dumping 4-5" of rainfall over Tuscaloosa County in the next few days. With that much rainfall on an already-saturated ground comes the risk of flooding. Take some time today to learn about flooding and how to keep yourself safe.
Different Types of Flooding
- Flash flooding - flooding that normally occurs within six hours (but can be as fast as just minutes!) of heavy or intense rainfall. Dangerous flooding develops very quickly and is a significant threat to life or property.
- Areal flooding - flooding that develops more gradually, usually from prolonged and persistent moderate to heavy rainfall. This results in gradual ponding or buildup of water in low-lying, flood prone areas, as well as small creeks and streams.
- River flooding - flooding that happens when a river or stream overflows its banks due to recent rainfall over the drainage basin. This, in turn, inundates areas that are normally dry, such as low-lying areas near the river bank.
Watches and Warnings
- Watch - issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean that flooding will occur, but it is possible.
- Warning - issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
- Follow all instructions given by emergency officials - even if you have to evacuate your home or vehicle.
- Never cross water of unknown depth! Roads may be washed out or there could be underwater obstructions.
- Get to higher ground and avoid low spots in the road.
- Never drive around barricades or barriers put in place by emergency officials. Flood waters rise very quickly, and just two feet of running water can sweep away most vehicles, even large trucks and SUVS.
- Be especially cautious at night, when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.