Severe Weather Awareness Week: Flooding and flood safety


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – We all know that we’ve seen a lot of rainfall recently, especially the last couple of Februarys here in East Tennessee. Did you realize that last February in 2019, ranked as the wettest February ever on record for Knoxville with well over ten inches of rain? So far in 2020, we’re ranked in the top five.

Flash flooding and flooding situations are in the top five for weather-related deaths in the United States. This is why it is more important now than ever to know what you need to do to stay safe. We always say, “Turn around, don’t drown.” You never want to drive through a flooded area of a barricade. It is not only very dangerous to do so, but also illegal.

6 inches of water can sweep away a person

It takes about 6 inches of water just to sweep a person away and about a foot to move a larger car or SUV. For larger vehicles like campers or bigger cars, about a foot and a half of water can float these vehicles.

Differences: Flash Flood Watch and Warning

When talking about flooding, it is also key that you know the difference between a Watch and a Warning.

When a Flash Flood Watch is issued, it means that conditions are favorable for flooding and you need to be prepared. When a Flash Flood Warning is issued, that means flooding is already occurring or is imminent and you need to take action. Flash Flood Warnings happen quickly. Flash Flood Warnings are issued due to a rapid rise of water. Flood Warnings, on the other hand are issued due to flooding occurring gradually over time and deal more with streams, creeks and rivers. This kind of flooding can take longer to recede.

(This is one of a series of stories by the WATE 6 Storm Team for Severe Weather Awareness Week.)

Severe Weather Awareness Week:

Lightning formation and lightning safety

Tornadoes and tornado safety

How hail forms and hail sizes

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