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Spring/Summer Severe Weather Terms
Thunderstorms & Lightning Safety
Lightning Safety Awareness Toolkit for Communities
Flood Information and Safety Tips
Flood Insurance Information
FEMA: Flood Insurance Program Changes
FEMA Brochure: Build Back Safer & Stronger
Turn Around Don't Drown!
Fire Safety And Preparedness
ODMH - Dealing With Emotions After The Storm
Most communities in the United States can experience some kind of flooding after spring rains, heavy thunderstorms or winter snow thaws. Floods can be slow or fast-rising, but generally develop over a period of days. Flash floods usually result from intense storms dropping large amounts of rain within a brief period. Flash flooding can occur with little or no warning and can reach its peak in only a few minutes.
Preliminary records for 2016 indicate there were at least 126 flood-related deaths in the United States, according to the National Weather Service. The NWS noted that the majority of these deaths involved driving into flood waters.
Ohio had no flood-related fatalities in 2016, but did experience flood events in May and June in Hamilton, Ohio (Butler County) and in Franklin County, causing tens of thousands of dollars in flood damage. Flash flooding impacted Norwood, Ohio in Hamilton County on August 28, submerging dozens of vehicles and causing damage to multiple homes and businesses. (NOAA NWS will post final numbers on 2016 flood fatalities in May 2017.)
Flooding is the nation’s most frequent and costly natural disaster.
Flood waters can be extremely dangerous. The force of six inches of swiftly moving water can knock over an adult. And it takes only 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most other vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks. The best ways to protect yourself during severe storms and floods are to listen to weather reports for progression of storms. If it is during a flood, it is best to leave the area and seek shelter on higher ground. Never drive or walk through flooded roadways. “Turn Around. Don’t Drown.”
Flash flood waters move very quickly and can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and obliterate bridges. Walls of water can reach heights of 10 to 20 feet and generally are accompanied by a deadly cargo of debris. The best response to any signs of flash flooding is to move immediately and quickly to higher ground.
The hours immediately following a flood can be very confusing. When disaster strikes, the county emergency management agency and local government initiate rescue, evacuation and shelter missions and provide emergency assistance to meet the public’s immediate needs.
If the commissioners declare a state of emergency for the county, the local EMA may contact the Ohio EMA for assistance in coordinating state resources and response activities. Based on the extent of the incident, the governor may declare a state of emergency for the affected county(ies). If disaster damages exceed state and local capabilities, the governor may request the president to grant federal disaster assistance through FEMA.
For additional information on Ohio flooding and flood insurance, visit the following sites:
Ohio Insurance Institute Flood Insurance Brochure
Ohio Department of Insurance
Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Floodplain Management
FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program
NWS - Ohio Flood History
Flood – A condition that occurs when water overflows the natural or artificial confines of a stream or body of water, or accumulates by drainage over low-lying areas.
General River Flooding follows heavy rain, snow melt or their combination. While river flooding typically occurs slowly, allowing more time to take protective measures, extreme flash flooding or a breakup of an ice jam along a river can produce more rapid river rises.
Urban and Small Stream Floods occur when heavy rain falls, resulting in flooded streets, underpasses or drainage ditches in urban areas, and creeks in rural areas. Not usually life-threatening on its own, but can be, if motorists drive through a flooded roadway or children play near a storm drain or drainage ditch.
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 is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. Listen to EAS messages for weather updates and possible evacuation orders.
Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a flooding to occur. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it's possible.
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.
Winter storms can generate coastal flooding, ice jams and snow melt, which can result in significant flood damage and loss of life.
Coastal Floods – Winds generated from intense winter storms can cause widespread tidal flooding and severe beach erosion along coastal areas.
Ice Jams – Long cold spells can cause rivers and lakes to freeze. A rise in the water level or a thaw breaks the ice into large chunks that become jammed at man-made and natural obstructions. Ice jams can act as a dam, resulting in severe flooding.
Snow Melt – Sudden thaw of a heavy snow pack often leads to flooding.