Stemming off what fellow meteorologist Kerrin Jeromin touched on briefly in her last blog, the Severe Weather Awareness Week is here (April 30-May 4, 2012) and Thursday's topic is flooding.
Thursday's topic is flooding. Statistically flooding is the most deadly weather disaster across the United States and in our area too. Most fatalities happen from people being swept away in their cars while they're driving. Especially after the flooding year in 2011 it is important to heed the warnings and weather reports of flooding scenarios.
Flash Flood: Rapid rise in water levels (rivers & streams )in a period of usually less than six hours, while Flood is set aside for longer duration events but both should be taken very seriously! Remember a warning means this is ongoing or likely to happen in the very near future. The watch is a 'stand-by' moment. Watch is be ready. Warning is take action if necessary.
Flash flooding happens from thunderstorms in our area. Because of the complex terrain and mountainous hillsides, the high-angled land can quickly cause dangerous situations when enough rain falls. Recall the widespread floods on May 26-27 in Barre, Montpelier, etc for instance, and the National Weather Service also recalls these events: "...SUCH AS THE MONTGOMERY VERMONT FLOOD IN JULY 1997...MUCH OF THE NORTH COUNTRY DURING
JUNE OF 1998...HANCOCK IN AUGUST 2008 AND ELLENBURG IN AUGUST 2010.
HEAVY RAIN FROM REMNANTS OF TROPICAL STORMS HAVE ALSO CREATED
FLOODING IN THE NORTH COUNTRY...SUCH AS TROPICAL STORM DEAN IN 1995
AND TROPICAL STORM FLOYD IN 1999."
As a reminder, flash flooding can happen almost everywhere. While the Champlain Valley has a far fewer chance of seeing this type of flooding, it is still possible. At the National Weather Service's Severe Weather Workshop on Wednesday, May 2 this year, meteorologists discussed new land type/land slope/forest coverage/etc data to help with flood forecasting. Places more likely to see flash flooding (because of the land type, land use, etc) are Windham County, south-central Vermont, and many mountainous locations within the Green Mountains (also Adirondacks). Even the smallest of streams can turn into raging rivers, like they did during Irene.
And always a great reminder: "Turn Around, Don't Drown"
IF YOU ARE IN YOUR VEHICLE AND FLOOD WATERS ARE RISING AROUND YOU...
ABANDON THE VEHICLE AND MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND. NEVER TRY TO DRIVE
ACROSS BRIDGES OR STREETS COVERED BY FLOOD WATER...THE WATER MAY
HAVE ERODED THEM MAKING THEM UNSAFE. MOST FLOOD FATALITIES OCCUR
AT NIGHT...BE ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS AFTER DARK WHEN IT IS HARDER TO
RECOGNIZE AREAS OF HIGH WATER. - Courtesy NWS Burlington.
Be safe this season. We'll do our part as meteorologists to get the word and information out (some cases warning) as fast as we can. Please do yours to take the weather situations safely.
-Meteorologist Steve Glazier