AUBURN, Ala. – Hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge warnings are in effect for parts of the central Gulf Coast including Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama. Tropical Storm Gordon is expected to reach hurricane strength before landfall late Tuesday. Some counties are in a significant threat area while others are in an elevated threat area. Heavy rainfall is likely to push inland through Wednesday across the region. Widespread flash flooding will be a concern through the end of the week. Severe thunderstorms will likely trigger over parts of the Gulf Coast.
A significant flood threat means that the area could see 4 to 7 inches of rainfall with higher levels in certain areas. There is also the possibility of minor to moderate flooding along rivers and creeks as well as flash flooding in some areas and also a chance of flash flooding in isolated areas.
It is important to remain alert during times of flood threats. Flash floods and floods are a leading cause of deaths associated with thunderstorms and hurricanes. Also, most flash flood fatalities occur at night. Victims are people who become trapped in automobiles.
Flash floods occur in mountain canyons, valleys, in normally dry washes and houses or towns built close to streams. However, they can occur when a large amount of rain falls at one time thus filling up drains. Streets and parking lots can fill with water quickly. Six inches of fast-moving water can knock you off your feet. A depth of 2 feet will cause most vehicles to float. Flash floods can pick up cars, campers and mobile homes. They can roll large rocks, knock down trees and rip out roads and bridges.
Flash Flood Watch
The National Weather Service says a flash flood watch means there may be flooding. Stay alert and watch. Keep an eye on rivers, creeks and streams. If they rise, don’t wait; get to high ground fast.
Flash Flood Warning
A flash flood warning means there is flooding. Act immediately. Move to a safe area on high ground.
Prepare for a flash flood warning by being alert and having a plan. Know where high ground is and how to get there. Keep out of storm drains. Don’t play in irrigation ditches, dry washes or other waterways. These places can be dangerous even in fair weather. When it rains, the water can get deep fast and the current can be strong.
If you are in a car, watch for flooding at bridges and dips in the road. Never drive where water is over bridges or roads. Rapidly rising water can carry your car away and you with it. The road may already be washed out. Any time your car or recreational vehicle is trapped in water, leave it. Move quickly to high ground.
After waters recede, keep listening to radio and TV reports. As flooding spreads, large areas may be under water.
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has an iBook to help families, businesses and communities prepare for storms and clean up after they pass. The Emergency Handbook is a comprehensive resource for emergency planning, preparation and storm recovery. It is available as a free download from iBooks and online here.
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