Every year, flash floods claim more lives in the United States than any other weather-related incident. The most common mistake is attempting to drive through a flooded area after a flood -- many drivers assume the waters are shallow enough to navigate. Travelers also encounter flash floods while camping or hiking in national parks and just about any other terrain with topography that includes hills, mountains, valleys, creeks and rivers.
Weather experts describe flash floods as “more water than you want in less time than you have.” Personal safety risks from flash floods can be minimized and avoided with smart planning. Here are 5 questions to ask in advance of a trip that will help travelers prepare for a flash flood.
1. Is an area flood-prone? Before setting up a campsite, pay attention to flash flood warning signs but don’t count on those signs to always be there. A deadly flash flood in June 2010 at Camp Albert Pike Recreation Area, a campground in Arkansas near the banks of the Little Missouri River, shows why due diligence is important. The area had experienced at least 10 river floods over the past 7 decades, yet no warning posters were present in the area. Don’t just rely on signs. Inquire with a campground office about an area’s flood history. When setting up a campsite, look for evidence of past floods, such as large logs littering a creek or riverbed and high-water marks on river banks and trees. Signs of past flooding in a canyon include water stains on canyon walls and debris hanging from bushes and low branches.
2. Does the weather report call for a flood watch? Check the weather forecast before a hike or a camp outing. If a flood watch is in effect, potential exists for heavy rains to create flash flooding within 6 to 24 hours. Postponing a trip a day or 2 could save a life. When hiking in the West, pay particular attention to weather reports from July to mid-September. That’s when severe thunderstorms are most likely to develop quickly. Finally, if visiting a flood-prone city, “on the ground” weather reports are available from the local convention and visitor’s bureau.
3. Does the area have cell phone or radio towers? Know the risks of camping in remote areas without access to a cell phone or radio. Roughly 75% of flash flood fatalities occur at night, when rapidly rising water is more difficult to detect. A weather radio that can broadcast weather alerts is essential. Such websites as CellReception offer details on cell phone coverage within national parks. Also call the campgrounds to ask if it is located close to a radio tower (the Albert Pike campground was not close to a tower).
4. When should you avoid driving in a flood? If you notice while driving during a storm that the middle line on the road is no longer visible, heed this advice from the National Weather Service. “Turn around, don’t drown.” Just six inches of water is enough to lift a vehicle off the ground. If you are caught in rising water, abandon the vehicle and seek higher ground. If you are trapped, wait until the car partially fills with water. Doors locked from water pressure should open once the water pressure is the same on both sides of the door. Also, press your feet against the windshield, which should then pop off. Finally, never drive around a “Road Closed” sign. It’s closed for a reason.
5. Have you formulated an evacuation plan? As a record-breaking flash flood in 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee proved, travelers don’t need to be in rural areas to encounter a flash flood. Before booking a hotel room, ask if the hotel has an evacuation plan (such as a makeshift shelter), as well as back-up generators. “Have a list of phone numbers and websites handy for the local convention and visitor’s bureau and office of emergency management,” says Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau. “If you’re driving, be prepared to fill up your gas tank when you arrive at your destination -- don’t wait until you’re leaving town.”
Whether you’re set to embark on a hike, camp outing or long-distance drive, staying vigilant -- and recognizing the signs of a flash flood -- should keep you safe and dry.
For all the latest up to date insurance rates for Cape Cod, MA.
All 5 Ways To Prevent Your Basement From Flooding Arbella Insurance Bad Weather Driving Best Insurance Best Policy Bourne Flood Insurance Bourne Home Insurance Buildings Buildings And Content Insurance Cape Cod Flood Insurance Cape Cod Home Cape Cod Home Insurance Cape Cod Home Insurance Best Cape Cod Home Insurance Marthas Vineyard Insurance Falmouth Home Insurance Mashpee Home Insurance Cape Cod Home Insurance Falmouth Home Insurance Cape Cod Real Estate Cape Cod Home Insurance Falmouth Home Insurance Cape Cod Real Estate Universal Home Cape Cod Home Insurance Falmouth Home Insurance Cape Cod Real Estate Universal Home Universal Property Cape Cod Insurance Agency Home And Auto Insurance Car Owner Guides Centerville Home Insurance Home Insurance Agent Cape Cod Insurance Agent Cape Cod Insurance Agency Home And Auto Insurance Coastal Agents Alliance Community Outreach Contents Contents Insurance Dennis Home Insurance Yarmouth Home Insurance Vineyard Haven Home Insurance Nantucket Home Insurance Disability Safety Disaster Safety For People With Disabilities: What To Do When Emergency Weather Strikes Do I Need Flood Insurance Driver Safety Driving To Safety: The Car Owner's Guide To Emergency Evacuation Emergency Evacuation Emergency Evacuation Preparedness Falmouth Flood Insurance Falmouth Home Insurance FEMA Flood Program Flash Flood Safety: 5 Must Ask Questions Flash Flood Safety: 5 Must-Ask Questions Flood Flood Damage Flooding Flood Insurance Flood Insurance Costs Flood Insurance Rates FLOODS AND YOUR LIVESTOCK Guide Guide To Safe Driving Home Home And Car Insurance Home Insurance Home Insurance Agent Cape Cod Insurance Agent Cape Cod Insurance Agency Home And Auto Insurance Home Insurance Cape Cod Home Insurance Best Cape Cod Home Insurance Marthas Vineyard Insurance Falmouth Home Insurance Home Insurance Cape Cod Home Insurance Best Cape Cod Home Insurance Marthas Vineyard Insurance Falmouth Home Insurance Mashpee Home Insurance Sandwich Home Insurance Bourne Home Insurance North Falmouth Home Insurance Marion Home Insurance Household Insurance Information & Resources Insurance Insurance Emergency Strikes' Insurance Flood Insurance Policy Maps: Which Parts Of The U.S. See Flash Floods Most Often? Marion Home Insurance Plymouth Home Insurance Dennis Home Insurance Yarmouth Home Insurance Mashpee Flood Insurance Mashpee Home Insurance Mashpee Home Insurance Sandwich Home Insurance Bourne Home Insurance North Falmouth Home Insurance Narragansett Insurance National Flood Insurance Program Plymouth Home Insurance Dennis Home Insurance Yarmouth Home Insurance Vineyard Haven Home Insurance Nantucket Home Insurance Yarmouth Home Insurance Possessions Preparing For Vehicle Emergencies Prevent Flooding Replace Right Insurance Safe Driving Guides Safety Guide Safety Guides Tags: Safety Safety Insurance Sandwich Home Insurance Sandwich Home Insurance Bourne Home Insurance North Falmouth Home Insurance Marion Home Insurance Plymouth Home Insurance The Ultimate Guide To Hurricane Facts Universal Home Universal Property UPC Insurance MPIUA Mass Property Fair Plan Fair Plan Alternative Universal Insurance Universal Property UPC Insurance MPIUA Mass Property Fair Plan Fair Plan Alternative UPCIC Insurance UPC Insurance UPC Insurance MPIUA Mass Property Fair Plan Fair Plan Alternative Vehicle Emergency Kit Vehicle Safety Vineyard Haven Home Insurance Nantucket Home Insurance Yarmouth Home Insurance Centerville Home Insurance Water Damage Wind Vs. Hurricane Deductibles Wright Flood Yarmouth Home Insurance Centerville Home Insurance Home Insurance Agent Cape Cod Insurance Agent