Flood watch affecting South Alabama Monday and Tuesday

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A flood watch was issued by the National Weather Service on Sunday at 1:52 p.m. valid from Monday 7 a.m. until Tuesday 1 p.m. for Choctaw, Washington, Clarke, Wilcox, Monroe, Conecuh, Butler, Crenshaw, Escambia, Covington, Mobile and Baldwin counties.

The weather service states, “Flooding caused by excessive rainfall is possible.”

“Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations,” explains the weather service. “You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop.”

Deciphering advisories, watches, and warnings: Understanding weather alerts

  • Flash flood warning: Take action!

A flash flood warning is issued when a flash flood is either imminent or already occurring. In flood-prone areas, it’s crucial to move immediately to higher ground. A flash flood is a sudden and violent inundation that can develop within minutes to hours, and it can even happen in areas not currently experiencing rainfall.

  • Flood warning: Take action!

A flood warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

  • Flood advisory: Be aware:

A flood advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may 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.

Weathering the storm: Flood safety guidelines 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. Move to higher ground:

  • If you reside in a flood-prone region or are camping in low-lying terrain, the first step to safety is relocating to higher ground.

2. Adhere to 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 allows, disconnect your utilities and appliances. This reduces the risk of electrical hazards during flooding.

4. Steer clear of flooded basements and submerged areas:

  • Steer clear of basements or rooms where water has submerged electrical outlets or cords. This helps prevent electrical accidents.

5. Swift evacuation for your 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 higher ground when trapped:

  • Should you become trapped by moving water, reach the highest point possible and dial 911 to contact emergency services.

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. Stay safe by being prepared and informed.

Driving through downpours: Safety guidelines for wet roads

Heavy rainfall may lead to flooding if prolonged or if there is excessive runoff. Excessive runoff can be a result of saturated ground and/or rainfall intensity. Follow these recommendations from the weather service to stay safe in heavy rain:

Beware of swollen waterways:

  • 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 drive with care:

  • If it is raining and the roads are wet, slow down. Take your foot off the accelerator and let your speed drop gradually. Never use the brakes suddenly because this may cause the car to skid.

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.

Visibility matters:

  • Turn on your headlights and be careful of other vehicles to the rear and in blind spot areas as they are especially difficult to see through rain-spattered windows.

Watch out for slippery roads:

  • The initial half-hour of rain is when roads are slickest due to a mixture of rain, grime, and oil. Exercise heightened caution during this period.

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.
  • If the roadside is your only option, pull off as far as possible, preferably past the end of a guard rail, and wait until the storm passes. Keep your headlights on and turn on 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.

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