(WVVA) -- For several decades, flooding was the number 1 cause of weather-related deaths. Over the last decade, heat has taken that top spot, but flooding is still the most common and one of the most deadly natural threats. Flooding occurs in every state and at any time of the year. We are talking about flooding now, because like most weather, there is usually a season for it. Here in the 2 Virginias, flooding tends to occur most often in the spring and early summer-mainly from spring snow melt along with rains, followed by more thunderstorms and heavy rain events in the summer.
However, in 2013 we've already seen bad flooding across our region-back in January. Heavy rains caused flash flooding for towns near to creeks, streams and rivers. Richlands, one of the hardest towns hit by this flooding, had to evacuate residents from their homes due to rising flood waters.
This past flood is a reminder that we are at risk for flooding at any time of the year, so you need to be prepared. We've talked a lot about how to be prepared before flooding occurs, but most importantly, you should know what to do or what not to do during a flood, because it may save your life.
When it comes to flooding, the most common reasons for fatalities are from motorists trying to drive through flood water (see chart). The National Weather Service began a campaign called "Turn Around, Don't Drown" in order to educate the public and bring down the high number of flooding fatalities in the US. The reason that so many people drown during flooding is because few of them realize the incredible power of water. A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles. This includes pickups and SUVs (-National Weather Service).
When we saw moderate flooding in Mercer county back in January, a driver had to be rescued from their car after it was washed into a drainage ditch. If that happened along a river, there is a chance that person would have drowned. The point-is that water can be very powerful. Flood water may look calm on the surface, but have a very strong undercurrent that can push your car. And just think, if it can push your car, then what do you think will happen if you try to walk through it. Remember, be smart, be safe and Turn Around, Don't Drown!
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WVVA.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Audrey Sluss at (304) 324-0659. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.