(Washington, DC) The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a FLASH FLOOD WARNING for DC, Western & Central Prince Georges, Eastern Charles, Western Anne Arundel and Eastern Howard Counties in Maryland as well as Eastern Fairfax County as well as the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church. This warning is in effect for this evening. The threat for heavy rain will persist through at least Thursday with a continued risk of flash flooding. Heavy rainfall on top of already saturated ground is leading to active flooding conditions.
FLOOD PROTECTIVE MEASURES
In general, you should know the difference between a watch and a warning. A flash flood WATCH means that current or developing conditions are favorable for flash flooding in and close to the watch area, but the occurrence is neither certain or imminent. A flash flood WARNING means that flash flooding is in progress, imminent or highly likely.
DRIVING FLOOD SAFETY TIPS
TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN®
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 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 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 flood dangers.
Except 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 feet. National Weather Service data also shows:
- Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle-related,
- The majority of victims are males, and
- Flood deaths affect all age groups.
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. These floods can develop within minutes or hours depending on the intensity and duration of the rain, the topography, soil conditions and ground cover.
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.
Visit hsema.dc.gov to get more information about protecting yourself against flooding. There is a Flood Fact Sheet on the main page of the website located under “Agency News”. You will also find a Fact Sheet On the Proper Use of Sandbags which are often used to help prevent flood waters from getting into your property.