Thanks to Wireless Emergency Alerts on phones, the Twitterverse is full of people talking about the alerts they get.
Many of these are flash flood warnings. What do you do with these?
First, don’t freak out. Chances are good you’re safe where you are, especially if you are paying attention. Most the deaths caused by flash floods are in vehicles, so if you’re at home and don’t live in a flood plain – relax.
Second, be aware. If you know your geography, you can understand your risk. For example, if you don’t live near a stream bed or water drainage, you’re probably not at risk – at least not at home. And it matters what state you live in. According floodsafety.com, the most dangerous states for flood deaths are Texas, South Dakota, California, Virginia and West Virginia, with Texas at the very top. Flash floods can happen in any state, but are much more likely in some states – ironically, especially in drier climates.
Third, if you are in a vehicle, don’t try to drive through water. It only takes a few inches of moving water to sweep even a Hummer away. And that’s where most deaths occur. And the risk is real. The National Weather Service says more people die yearly in floods than by lightning, tornadoes, or hurricanes. And stay away from low lying roads where water might gather.
So don’t panic when you get a flash flood warning. Chances are good that you’re fine. But be smart and be safe.