Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Binghamton, NY

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Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Binghamton NY
800 AM EDT Wed Apr 17 2024


This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Pennsylvania.

We are covering a different safety topic each day of this week.
Our topic for today is, Flash flooding and flash flood safety.

More people are killed by flash floods than by other storm-
related weather hazards. Unfortunately, most people succumb to
flooding after they drive their automobiles into flooded roadways
and are subsequently swept away to their deaths.

If you encounter a flooded roadway, Turn Around, Don`t Drown!
Find another route, it could save your life! Many people lose
their lives by not adhering to this simple rule, Turn Around,
Don`t Drown!

What is a flash flood?

A flash flood is flooding that happens quickly. During a flash
flood, a stream or creek will rise rapidly and crest generally
within a few hours of the start of the heavy rain. Flash floods
are so dangerous because the waters rise so quickly that they can
catch people off guard and trap them in dangerous situations. This
is why the National Weather Service constantly monitors rainfall
using rain gauges and radar estimates, as well as monitoring
stream and creek levels using automated river gauges and local
spotters. The National Weather Service will issue Flash Flood
Watches and Flash Flood Warnings to help alert you to expected
flood dangers.

What causes flash floods?

Flash floods are caused when very heavy rainfall, usually from
slow-moving thunderstorms, overwhelms the natural or engineered
drainage systems. Streams, creeks and smaller rivers are most
vulnerable to flash flooding. Flash flooding occurs in urban areas
as well as in rural areas.

What does a Flash Flood Watch mean?

A Flash Flood Watch means that the potential exists for flash
flooding to occur on any stream, creek or small river. The watch
does not mean that flooding is imminent or occurring. It just
means that the ingredients for flooding are expected and areas of
flooding are possible.

What should you do when a Flash Flood Watch is issued?

Be prepared to take quick action to protect yourself by moving to
higher ground if you are near a waterway. Watch water levels
carefully and be ready to evacuate at any moment. If you are
traveling during a Flash Flood Watch, be alert for signs of flash
flooding, especially at night when it can be difficult to see a
flooded roadway. Be very careful if driving through flood prone
areas, and if you encounter a flooded roadway, Turn Around, Don`t
Drown! Find an alternate route. It could save your life!

What does a Flash Flood Warning mean?

A Flash Flood Warning means rapid life-threatening flooding is
occurring, or will begin very soon. A warning lets you know that
heavy rain will cause the water to rise and overflow the banks of
the waterways nearby. A Flash Flood Warning can also be prompted
by levee and dam failures. You need to take action immediately to
protect your life and property if you are in the danger area.

What should you do when a Flash Flood Warning is issued?

Move up to higher ground immediately and get out of the danger
area. Never drive across bridges covered with water, or through
areas where water covers the roadway. Most cars will float in just
16 to 18 inches of water. If rising water captures your
automobile, it could easily sweep you away. Be especially cautious
at night, when it is harder to recognize that an area may be

For additional information on flash floods and severe weather,
Check out:

Our weather safety topics for the rest of the week will be,
Thursday, Tornadoes.
Friday, Ways to become involved - SKYWARN
spotters, Weather Ready Nation, StormReady, and HAM radio.

For local weather information...please visit:


Mitchell Gaines
National Weather Service Binghamton, NY is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.