A flash flood is when there is a temporary overflow of water that comes onto land very quickly with little or no warning. Flash floods often occur when there is heavy rain or snowmelt, coastal storms and storm surges, waterway overflow from being blocked with debris or ice, or an overflow of levees, dams, or wastewater systems. All states are susceptible to having a flash flood occur, however, in Pennsylvania, both Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties are the two areas within the state that have the highest number of flash floods recorded [Source: National Weather Service].
With that in mind, it is important to understand that in the springtime, Pittsburgh and other nearby cities experience heavy rainfall which could lead to a flash flood so it is important that you understand what you should do in the event one occurs so that you don’t get injured. Although flash floods can come on rather quickly, it is always important to stay updated on the current weather conditions. You can do this by downloading a reliable weather app or visiting Weather.com so you can listen for when a flood watch is issued due to the presence of inclement weather.
Now, if a flood watch is issued, some of the steps the Department of Homeland Security suggests you take include:
- Have a plan as to where you will go in the event a flash flood occurs and you need to get to higher ground.
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. You should include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first-aid supplies.
- Bring in outdoor furniture and move important indoor items to the highest possible floor.
- Disconnect electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- If instructed to do so, turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch or valve. This will help prevent a fire or explosion.
Some other safety tips you should be mindful of include:
- Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
- Refrain from driving over bridges that are over fast-moving floodwaters. The reason you want to avoid traveling over these bridges is because floodwaters can “scour foundation material from around the footings and make the bridge unstable.”
- Six inches of moving water can knock you down and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away so avoid being out when a flood is occurring at all costs.
- If you think there is a chance that a flash flood will occur, get to higher ground immediately.
- In the event floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon your vehicle and get to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter into moving water.
- If you go out camping, avoid staying near streams, rivers, or creeks when heavy rainfall is present.
Although a flash flood could occur unexpectedly, knowing the dangers associated with these floods and what steps to take when one occurs can help keep you and your family out of harm’s way. And in the event you were recently involved in an accident in Pittsburgh due to inclement weather such as a flash flood, let the PA accident lawyers at Goodrich and Associates, P.C. help you recover compensation for the damage that has been done.
You can contact Goodrich and Associates, P.C. at:
429 Fourth Avenue, Suite 900
Pittsburgh, PA 15219