Weather 101: Deadly flash flooding

    6:59 PM, Jun 17, 2010   |    comments
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    Flash Flood/Flood Facts

    • Flash floods/floods are the #1 cause of deaths associated with thunderstorms
    • Nearly 100 people die nationwide each year
    • Most fatalities occur at night
    • Nearly half of fatalities are vehicle related
    • Responsible for billions of dollars of damage each year


    • Avoid walking, swimming, or driving in flood waters.
    • Stay away from high water, storm drains, ditches, ravines, or culverts. If water is moving swiftly, even a six inch depth can knock you off your feet.
    • If you come upon flood waters, stop, turn around, and go another way. Climb to higher ground.
    • Do not let children play near storm drains.
    • Check the weather forecast before leaving for extended outdoor trips. Watch for signs of approaching storms.
    • If a campground's alarm system relies on electricity, have an alternate method to notify campers in case of power failure.
    • NOAA Weather Radio is the best means to receive warnings from the National Weather Service.

    Source: NOAA

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  • Flash Flooding is one of the deadliest types of weather. Every year people die as a result of not knowing what to do and how to be prepared for rising waters.

    In 2009, four people died as a result of flash flooding. Unfortunately that number is much higher this year with the 20 fatalities reported on June 11.

    Campers at the Albert Pike Campground were caught by surprise. Even with Flash Flood Watches posted the day before, most people didn't even imagine what could happen to the Little Missouri River in just a couple of hours while they slept.

    Six to seven inches of rain fell in only a few hours over rough terrain. The rain didn't have anywhere to go but down the hillsides and into the relatively small river and it's tributaries. The velocity of the current picked up debris such as picnic tables and trees and like a battering ram plowed into campers, cars and cabins.

    The terrain, time of day (at night) and remoteness of the location all played a huge role in the deadliness of the event. All campers should make a NOAA weather radio part of their routine travel packing. Even with 25 weather radio transmitters located around the state of Arkansas, some remote locations such as in valleys could have some trouble with reception. That is why anyone camping near a river should know ahead of time what that river will do if a lot of rain is added to it in a short amount of time. Never camp by a stream or river if heavy rain is in the forecast.

    The U.S. Geological Survey has launched a new program to help better inform the public about water conditions around the state. It's called Water Alert. The program allows users to receive text or email updates about specific river flows. 

    Ed and Craig explain more about the event in this attached video.

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