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Flooding: Know your risks

Flooding is the biggest severe weather killer, even more so than tornadoes. Most flash flood deaths happen at night. That’s when flooded roads are the hardest to see.

RELATED: Look at the impact flooding has on downtown Pittsburgh

There many different alerts issued by the National Weather Service to warn the public of their flooding risk. Here's how they break down:

  • Flash Flood Warning: Take Action. A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. Move to higher ground if you are in an area prone to flooding. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It's even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.
  • Flood Warning: Take Action. A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event or flooding is imminent or already happening.
  • Flood Watch: Be Prepared. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.
  • Flood Advisory: Be Aware. An Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience.


RELATED: Chief Meteorologist Stephen Cropper's important weather links

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RELATED: Severe weather alerts

Flood safety tips:

  • Never try to walk through flowing water. Six inches of moving water can sweep you off your feet.
  • Never try to drive through a flooded road. Only 18 inches can float a large SUV and even less for a smaller car. You and your car can be swept into a deeper area. You could easily find yourself trapped.
  • Avoid power lines and electrical wires. Electrical current can move through water and cause electrocution.
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