Flash Floods: Know Your Risk
Summer rain showers can change from calm to severe in a matter of minutes. NOAA reports that flooding claims an average of 81 lives every year. While flooding in general is ranked the second most deadly weather-related killer in the United States, flash flooding can be even more dangerous. During a flash flood, rain rapidly creates a forceful rush of water that can destroy anything standing in its way, including buildings, roads, and homes. Due to the elevated humidity levels and slower jet stream characteristic of the summer season, flash flooding is particularly prevalent during the summer. Because flash flooding can strike at any given moment without warning, it is essential that you gain an understanding of how flash floods develop in order to best protect your home this summer.
Causes of Flash Flooding
The jet stream has a significant impact on weather events. During the summer, the jet stream slows, causing storms to spend a longer amount of time than usual over one area. As a result, the area experiencing the storm observes a large amount of rainfall and has a greater risk of a flash flood developing. Generally, increased duration and greater intensity of rainfall contribute to flash flooding. A handful of different storms, such as severe storms (hurricanes and tropical storms) and slow-moving thunderstorms, can produce these conditions.
Topography also plays a prominent part in the development of flash floods. If you live in a coastal town or any area located near bodies of water, including streams and rivers, you may be at greater risk for flash flooding. Urban areas are also at increased risk for flash flooding because they tend to lack drainage systems that can handle large amounts of rainfall.
Know Your Risk
Unfortunately, early warning can often not be given prior to flash floods due to the rapid rate at which they develop. Additionally, homes can undergo major water damage or structural damage when no warning is given before a flash flood. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you understand your area’s risk of flash flooding. If you live in an area that is at risk, be sure to stay alert when the forecast calls for storms. It may also be helpful to put together an emergency flood kit that you can have on hand during a flash flood. In the event that a flash flood strikes unexpectedly and results in damage to your home this summer, call SERVPRO. Our team of storm damage experts are here for you and will restore your home to its pre-flood condition “Like it never even happened.”