Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Committee

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Floods and Flash Floods

audio iconPodcast:
Flash Floods

Recorded by Andy Bailey, National Weather Service, Pleasant Hill, Mo.

Do you have flood damage in your home? The University of Missouri Extension offers a guide to cleaning your flood-damaged home and other resources.


Floodwaters caused by excessive rainfallEach year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather-related hazard. Why? The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.

Whether you are driving or walking, if you come to a flooded road, the National Weather Service advises you to “Turn Around — Don’t Drown.”

The two key ingredients that contribute to flash flooding are rainfall intensity and duration — the rate of the rainfall and how long the rain lasts. Other factors include topography, soil conditions and ground cover.

Flash floods can occur within minutes or hours of excessive rainfall. Most flash flooding is caused by slow-moving thunder-storms or storms repeatedly moving over the same area.

You should know the potential for flooding or flash flooding in your neighborhood. Even six inches of fast-moving floodwater can knock you off your feet, and a depth of two feet will float your car.

Never try to walk, swim or drive through floodwaters. If you live within a flood plain, contact your insurance agent and verify that you carry flood insurance on your property.

Before a flood:

During a flood:

After a flood:

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