Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Buffalo, NY

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NOUS41 KBUF 151120

720 AM EDT THU MAR 15 2018

The National Weather Service (NWS) has declared March 11th through
March 17th as Flood Safety Preparedness Week. The National Weather
Service in Buffalo will feature information about a different flood
topic each day during the awareness week.

Today`s Topic: Flood Hazards

A flood is defined as any high flow, overflow, or inundation of
water that causes or threatens damage. Flooding can occur with
prolonged rainfall over several days, intense rainfall over a short
period of time, or when water from an existing source moves too
quickly (i.e. snowmelt, dambreak, etc.). Brief descriptions of the
various types of flooding you may experience are found below. More
information about these flood hazards can be found on the NWS flood
safety website at:

Flash flooding: Flash flooding is a rapid or extreme flow of high
water into a normally dry area, or a rapid water rise in a stream or
creek above a predetermined flood level, beginning within six hours
of the causative event such as intense rainfall, dam failure, or
an ice jam.

River flooding: River flooding occurs when rivers rise and overflow
their banks, inundating areas that are normally dry.

Tropical system and coastal flooding: At any time of year, a storm
from over the ocean can bring heavy precipitation to the U.S.
coasts. Whether such a storm is tropical or not, prolonged periods
of heavy precipitation can cause freshwater flooding in coastal
areas, as well as further inland as the storm moves onshore. In
addition strong winds can push the water on lakes resulting in a
seiche. A seiche can cause flooding along the lakeshores due to a
rapid rise in the lake level.

Burn scars and debris flows: Wildfires burn away the vegetation of
an area, leaving behind bare ground that tends to repel water. When
rain falls, it runs off a burn scar toward a low lying area,
sometimes carrying branches, soil and other debris along with it.
Without vegetation to hold the soil in place, flooding can produce
mud and debris flows.

Snowmelt: Flooding due to snowmelt most often occurs in the spring
when warming temperatures quickly melt the snow. The water runs off
the still partially frozen or already saturated ground into nearby
streams and rivers, causing them to rapidly rise and sometimes
overflow their banks.

Ice and debris jams: A backup of water into surrounding areas can
occur when a river or stream is blocked by a build-up of ice or other

Dam break and levee failure: A break or failure can occur with
little to no warning. Most often they are caused by water
overtopping the structure, excessive seepage through the surrounding
ground, or a structural failure.

Understanding the different flood hazards and knowing the actions to
take before, during, and afterward can help you protect your life,
the lives of your loved ones, and your property. Prepare now by

Join us tomorrow for information on flood related services provided
by the National Weather Service.


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