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Flash flood

A flash flood is a rapid flooding of geomorphic low-lying areas: washes, rivers, dry lakes and
basins. It may be caused by heavy rain associated with a severe thunderstorm, hurricane,
tropical storm, or meltwater from ice or snow flowing over ice sheets or snowfields. Flash
floods may occur after the collapse of a natural ice or debris dam, or a human structure such
as a man-made dam, as occurred before the Johnstown Flood of 1889. Flash floods are
distinguished from regular floods by a timescale of less than six hours. The water that is
temporarily available is often used by plants with rapid germination and short growth cycles
and by specially adapted animal life.

An urban underpass during normal conditions (upper) and after fifteen minutes of heavy rain
Flash floods can occur under several types of conditions. Flash flooding occurs when it rains
rapidly on saturated soil or dry soil that has poor absorption ability. The runoff collects in
gullies and streams and, as they join to form larger volumes, often forms a fast flowing front
of water and debris. Flash floods most often occur in normally dry areas that have recently
received precipitation, but they may be seen anywhere downstream from the source of the
precipitation, even many miles from the source.

The United States National Weather Service gives the advice "Turn Around, Don't Drown"
for flash floods; that is, it recommends that people get out of the area of a flash flood, rather
than trying to cross it. Many people tend to underestimate the dangers of flash floods. What
makes flash floods most dangerous is their sudden nature and fast-moving water. A vehicle
provides little to no protection against being swept away; it may make people overconfident
and less likely to avoid the flash flood. More than half of the fatalities attributed to flash
floods are people swept away in vehicles when trying to cross flooded intersections. As little
as 2 feet (0.61 m) of water is enough to carry away most SUV-sized vehicles. The U.S.
National Weather Service reported in 2005 that, using a national 30-year average, more
people die yearly in floods, 127 on average, than by lightning (73), tornadoes (65), or
hurricanes (16).

List of flash floods

1889: Johnstown Flood, Pennsylvania, U.S.: more than 2,200 people dead
1903: Heppner Flood of 1903; Oregon, United States: 247 dead, 25% of the city
1938: Los Angeles Flood of 1938, California, U.S.: 115 dead
1938: Kopuawhara flash flood of 1938, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand: 21 dead
1952: Lynmouth disaster, England: 34 dead
1963: Vajont dam disaster, Italy: 1910 dead
1967: Flash flood in Lisbon, Portugal: 464 dead
1969: Nelson County, Virginia, US: 123 dead
1971: Kuala Lumpur floods, Malaysia: 32 dead
1972: The Black Hills flood, South Dakota, U.S.: 238 dead
1976: The Big Thompson River flood, Colorado, U.S.: 143 dead
1997: Antelope Canyon, a popular tourist attraction north of Page, Arizona:11 dead
2003: Bukit Lawang in Indonesia 239 people (5 of them were tourists) were killed
2006: Jember Regency in Indonesia 59 people dead
2007: Sudan floods, 64 dead.
2009: September 26 in Metro Manila primarily Marikina city, Taguig City, and Pasig City; and
many municipalities of the provinces of Rizal, Bulacan and Laguna leaving more than 100
dead and thousands homeless. It also submerged several municipalities under feet of deep
water for several weeks.
2009: October 1, Giampilieri, Messina, 37 dead. See also 2009 Messina floods and
2010: Madeira archipelago, 42 dead
2011: Lockyer Valley, Queensland, Australia. 21 dead, mainly in the town of Grantham.
2011: Philippines, Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City, 17 December 2011. At least 1200 dead
2012: May 5, Nearly three weeks of damming left 72 dead in the Seti Gorge in Upper Seti
Basin. Rock and avalanche fall from the western part of Annapurna IV mountain in Pokhara,
2012: Krasnodarskiy Kray, Russia. 172 dead following a flash flood that struck at 2 A.M. local
time on 7 July. Main cities that were hit are Krymsk and Gelendzhik.[9][10]
2013: Uttarakhand, Uttarakhand, India: 822 dead
2013: November 1719, Northeast Sardinia: 18 dead, 3000 homeless. See also 2013 Sardinia
2013: Port Louis, Mauritius: 11 dead
2013: Argentina floods: 99+ dead
2013: Kedarnath, Uttarakhand, India: approximately 5000 dead[11]
2014: Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India: approximately 300 dead.[12]
2015: May 25, Central Texas floods: 25+ dead
2016: June 25, West Virginia floods: 24+ dead
2016: September 20, Garut Regency in Indonesia floods: 33 dead


Flash flood watch

A flash flood watch (SAME code: FFA; also referred as a "green box" by meteorologists) is
a soon-to-be retired product issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are
favorable for flash flooding in flood-prone areas, usually when grounds are already saturated
from recent rains, or when upcoming rains will have the potential to cause a flash flood.
These watches are also occasionally issued when a dam may break in the near future. in
Spring of 2018, this product will be replaced by the Flood watch.

The Difference

Between Flash Floods and Floods

Flash Floods
A FLASH FLOOD is an event that occurs WITHIN 6 hours following the END of the causative
which result in fatalities, injuries, and/or significant damage to property. Examples of Flash Floods
include damage to buildings, roads, gravel shoulders, bridges, railways or other landscape features
including soil erosion. Generally, flash flooding events develop rapidly and can occur anywhere water
collects, especially areas of steep terrain, and water runoffs. Flash Floods rarely last more than 12

A FLOOD is an event that occurs AFTER 6 hours following the END of the causative event which
result in fatalities, injuries, and/or significant damage to property. Examples of Floods include damage
to buildings, roads, gravel shoulders, bridges, railways or other landscape features including soil
erosion. Generally, flooding events usually take longer to develop and they usually occur along or
near larger rivers. The duration of flooding events may extend longer than 24 hours, perhaps several


Flash flood warning

A flash flood warning (SAME code: FFW) is issued when a flash flood is imminent or
occurring in the warned area. A flash flood is a sudden, violent flood after a heavy rain, or
occasionally after a dam break. Rainfall intensity and duration, topography, soil conditions,
and ground cover contribute to flash flooding.

Most flash floods occur when there is a heavy amount of precipitation falling in an area and
that water is then channeled through streams or narrow gullies. Flash floods may take
minutes or hours to develop. It is possible to experience a flash flood without witnessing any
rain. In this case, there would be heavy rain in areas upstream of the warned location.

Flash flood alerts

There are two types of alerts for flash floods which are issued by the National Weather
Service. One is a flash flood watch, which means that conditions are favorable for flash
flooding, and the other is a flash flood warning, meaning that a flash flood is occurring or
one will occur imminently and is usually issued when there are strong weather radar echoes
for an area that is prone to flash flooding.[2] Flash floods can also occur because of a dam or
levee failure,[3] or because of a sudden release of water held by an ice jam.

Residents are usually urged to do the following when flash flooding is imminent
Be aware of any signs of heavy rain
Move to higher ground if rapidly rising water is seen or heard
Not attempt to cross the flowing water