Floods are one of the most common hazards in Kentucky however not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, while others such a flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Additionally, floods can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins.Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or a sudden release of water held by a jam. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water carrying rocks, mud and other debris. Overland flooding, the most common type of flooding event typically occurs when waterways such as rivers or streams overflow their banks as a result of rainwater or a possible levee breach and cause flooding in surrounding areas. It can also occur when rainfall exceeds the capacity of underground pipes, or the capacity of streets and drains designed to carry flood water away.
Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.
The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:
Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
A foot of water will float many vehicles
Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
Flood Hazard Terms
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a flood hazard:
Flood Watch – Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
Flash Flood Watch – Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
Flood Warning – Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Flash Flood Warning – A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.