On Monday at 11:11 p.m. the National Weather Service issued a flood warning in effect until Tuesday at 11:15 p.m. for Cherokee County.
The weather service says, “Flooding caused by excessive rainfall is expected.”
“Flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations is imminent or occurring,” adds the weather service. “Turn around, don’t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles. Flooding is occurring or is imminent. It is important to know where you are relative to streams, rivers, or creeks which can become killers in heavy rains. Campers and hikers should avoid streams or creeks.”
Understanding the differences between advisories, watches, and warnings
- Flash flood warning: Take action!
A flash flood warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood-prone area, move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.
- Flood warning: Take action!
A flood warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
- Flood advisory: Be aware:
A flood advisory is released when flooding is not expected to reach a severity level necessitating a warning. Nonetheless, it can still cause considerable inconvenience and, without exercising caution, potentially lead to situations that threaten life and/or property.
- Flood watch: Be prepared:
A flood watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.
Staying safe during a flood: Recommendations from the weather service
Floods can pose a significant threat, especially if you live in a flood-prone area or find yourself camping in a low-lying region. To ensure your safety, the weather service offers essential flood safety guidelines:
1. Seek higher ground:
- If you’re in a flood-prone area, or if you’re camping in a low-lying spot, move to higher ground as a first step.
2. Follow evacuation orders:
- When local authorities issue an evacuation order, promptly comply. Before leaving, secure your home by locking it.
3. Disconnect utilities and appliances:
- If time permits, disconnect your utilities and appliances. This precaution minimizes electrical hazards during flooding.
4. Steer clear of flooded basements and submerged areas:
- Avoid basements or rooms submerged in water with electrical outlets or cords. Preventing electrical accidents is crucial.
5. Evacuate promptly for safety:
- If you notice sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping, or popping noises, evacuate immediately. Avoid any water that may be charged with electricity.
6. Stay away from floodwaters:
- Never attempt to walk through floodwaters. Even just 6 inches of swiftly moving water can forcefully knock you off your feet.
7. Seek high ground if trapped:
- In the event you become trapped by moving water, make your way to the highest point available and contact emergency services by calling 911.
When heavy rain occurs, there is a potential for flooding, particularly in areas that are low-lying or prone to floods. It is crucial to never drive through water on the road, even if it appears shallow. According to the NWS, as little as 12 inches of fast-flowing water can carry away most vehicles. Prioritize your safety by staying informed and prepared.
Navigating rainy roads: Safety tips for wet weather
When heavy rain strikes, safety is paramount. Equip yourself with these guidelines from the weather service to navigate wet roads and avoid hazards:
Beware of rapid water flow:
- In heavy rain, refrain from parking or walking near culverts or drainage ditches, where swift-moving water can pose a grave danger.
Maintain safe driving distances:
- Adhere to the two-second rule for maintaining a safe following distance behind the vehicle in front of you. In heavy rain, allow an additional two seconds of distance to compensate for reduced traction and braking effectiveness.
Slow down and stay cautious:
- On wet roads, slowing down is paramount. Gradually ease off the accelerator and avoid abrupt braking to prevent skidding.
Choose your lane wisely:
- Stick to the middle lanes on multi-lane roads to minimize the risk of hydroplaning, as water tends to accumulate in outer lanes.
- Enhance your visibility in heavy rain by turning on your headlights. Watch out for vehicles in blind spots, as rain-smeared windows can obscure them.
Watch out for slippery roads:
- Be extra careful during the first half hour after rain begins. Grime and oil on the road surface mix with water to make the road slippery.
Keep a safe distance from large vehicles:
- Don’t follow large trucks or buses too closely. The spray created by their large tires reduces your vision. Take care when passing them as well; if you must pass, do so quickly and safely.
Mind your windshield wipers:
- Heavy rain can overload the wiper blades. When visibility is so limited that the edges of the road or other vehicles cannot be seen at a safe distance, it is time to pull over and wait for the rain to ease up. It is best to stop at rest areas or other protected areas.
- When stopping by the roadside is your only option, position your vehicle as far off the road as possible, ideally beyond guardrails. Keep your headlights on and activate emergency flashers to alert other drivers of your position.
By following these safety measures, you can significantly reduce risks and ensure your well-being when heavy rain pours down. Stay informed about weather conditions and heed advice from local authorities to make your journey safe and sound.
Advance Local Weather Alerts is a service provided by United Robots, which uses machine learning to compile the latest data from the National Weather Service.