We’ve all received weather alerts before, whether via text message, radio broadcast, or TV spot. While most of these alerts present straightforward information, sometimes certain types of alerts can seem redundant. This is particularly obvious when you realize we receive different alerts for flash floods and floods in general. Why is this distinction necessary?
Flash floods are a different category of flood all their own. Either type can cause significant damage, but a flash flood forms and moves much faster than a typical flood. This makes flash floods especially dangerous. Understanding the difference between flash floods vs floods will give you an idea of how much danger you’re in the next time you get a flood alert.
Characteristics of Common Flooding
The National Weather Service’s definition of a flood is short, sweet, and to the point: “ an overflow of water onto normally dry land.” While this definition is technically broad enough to encompass both flash floods and slower flooding, the term “flood” refers to a generally slow process. Water levels creep up over hours or even days as rain overflows nearby bodies of water or combines with other factors to create a perfect storm. The major 2019 flood in the midwestern United States illustrates a rather complex set of conditions for flooding. Increased rainfall from the previous year caused the ground to freeze solid when winter came, and as the snow began to melt later on, the water had nowhere to drain and spread out, causing widespread flooding.
Characteristics of Flash Floods
Unlike floods that require a gradual buildup of the right conditions, flash floods can occur seemingly out of the blue. The National Weather Service defines a flash flood as a sudden influx of water into a dry area, often within a time period of 6 hours or less. Culprits can range from heavy rain to a collapsing dam nearby.
As Popular Mechanics succinctly puts it, the difference between a flash flood and a typical flood is “the difference between simmering and rapid destruction.” Floods bring a gradual increase in water level and can cause widespread damage over a long period of time. On the other hand, flash floods occur in mere hours or minutes and rip through river beds or streets, lasting much less time but causing as much or even more destruction.
Pro Tip: A flash flood warning signifies a higher level of danger than a more common flood warning. Get to high ground fast!
Staying Safe During Hurricane Season
As 2020’s hurricane season continues, it never hurts to brush up on your preparations for severe weather. That definitely includes understanding the differences between a flood and a much more immediately dangerous flash flood. But at the end of the day, remember that floodwaters of any kind are never safe. Stay out of the water and get to high ground immediately!
Connect with us for more information on safely weathering this hurricane season.
In the midst of a heavy storm or aftermath of a hurricane, flooding presents a number of dangers to consider. One major problem is the adverse effects of pollution on floodwater. From infectious diseases to toxic fumes, your health is put at risk. With the many dangers of flood water, it’s important for you to think twice before wading through any flooded areas.
How is Flooding Unsafe?
Floodwater picks up an impressive collection of everything it touches as it spreads. Trash, oil, insects, snakes, biological waste, and more are just a handful of the hidden hazards just below the surface. Here are a few other ways floodwater can put you in danger:
- Infection of open wounds
- Toxic spread of chemicals
- Increase of ants and poisonous insects
- Force of rushing water
1) Infection of Open Wounds
Floods often carry waste from sewers or farms, filling the water with all sorts of nasty bacteria. Even floodwaters that haven’t picked up biohazards can contain potentially dangerous bacteria, especially legionella, which can give you a potentially deadly strain of pneumonia. Any of these bacteria-ridden hazards could infect an open wound, even a tiny cut, if you walk into floodwaters. Don’t take that risk.
2) Toxic Spread of Chemicals
Plenty of vehicles leak oil or other engine fluids on a regular basis. Floodwaters pick up that residue and spread it everywhere. A damaged gas station leaking fuel only contributes to this contamination. You never know what chemicals standing water picked up on its way to settle near you–play it safe and don’t let yourself get contaminated.
Pro Tip: Flooding brings dangerous aquatic creatures–especially snakes–uncomfortably close to you. Avoid entering standing water to keep yourself safe.
3) Increase of Ants and Poisonous Insects
You’re probably familiar with the fascinating but terrifying way fire ants survive floods: they group up into a floating mass of ants that drifts on the floodwaters for days or weeks until they reach something they can climb onto. It goes without saying that these islands of ants are extremely dangerous if they come in contact with humans. From a distance, these “rafts” can look like debris, making it difficult to know how much danger you’re in. The best strategy is to avoid the water altogether and stay away from debris. However, if you do find yourself covered in fire ants after accidentally touching a mound, brush them off as quickly as you can. Don’t jump in the water to wash them off–they can survive for a long time without drowning.
A less terrifying but also dangerous hazard is the increased presence of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes breed in water, and as floodwaters spread, their breeding grounds become massive and allow many more than normal to appear. Widespread floods could expose you to mosquitoes that carry dangerous diseases, and treatment can be hard to find following a severe storm. Keep insect spray close by and try to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to give the mosquitoes fewer places to bite.
4) Force of Rushing Water
According to NOAA, a mere six inches of rushing water can knock an adult down and 1-2 feet of water can stall and sweep away most cars. Don’t let the site of shallow water lull you into a false sense of security. Currents are deadly. Keep children out of the water and never walk in floodwaters yourself, even if they look shallow enough to be safe.
Limit Your Exposure to Floodwater
When we’re faced with flash floods or major storms, it can be difficult to stay healthy during the cleanup process. Don’t forget to wash your hands with antibacterial soap or wear protective clothing to ensure your safety. Additionally, make sure you have a reliable way to protect against flooding so that you can minimize your risk of illness or injury.
Connect with our flood protection experts for the best solution to keep hazardous water away from your property.
The use of sandbags for flooding protection has been in existence for a while. In the case of a severe storm, sandbags might be your go-to solution to make sure water doesn’t get into your home or business. With new technological innovations, there’s an alternative to consider–it’s called an inflatable dam.
You might be familiar with bags filled with sand to protect from rising floodwater, but what about an inflatable dam? Our Aqua-Barrier system has stood the test of time and is designed for any situation. Still not convinced? See how Aqua-Barrier compares with the use of sandbags for flood protection.
An Aqua-Barrier system is an inflated dam that is made of industrial-grade vinyl-coated polyester that is used for dewatering and flood protection. It can be inflated to surround your commercial business.
- They’re usually faster to install than other flood protection solutions.
- They require minimal equipment to install and remove.
- Because they use the materials available onsite, special disposal isn’t needed which increases their cost-effectiveness.
- They’re environmentally friendly and can be reused.
- Depending on the size of the property, the initial assembly and installation might take some time to understand.
Pro Tip: Inflatable dams aren’t always used in times of emergency. Construction sites, pool maintenance, and dredging are just a few other ways Aqua-Barrier assists in water control.
A sandbag is a bag or sack that usually made of a polypropylene material that is filled with sand. To create a flood barrier, the sandbags are stacked on top of one another.
- The materials to make them are less expensive compared to other flood control alternatives.
- During an emergency, they’re usually provided at no charge at public stations.
- Due to their size, they are easy to transport and can be placed in small areas.
- A lot of time and effort is required to fill the sandbags and set up before a storm.
- Unfortunately, sandbags aren’t fully waterproof, and water can seep in-between the bags.
- After an emergency, Hazmat procedures are necessary for disposal due to the bacteria found in floodwater.
- Because of the contamination, they’re not reusable or eco-friendly.
The Results are In
Unfortunately, it’s apparent that the practice of filling bags with sand might be doing more harm than good. Instead of wasting materials that negatively impact the environment, consider using an inflatable dam. Our Aqua-Barrier system can be used across the globe and has continually proven to minimize flood damage.
Contact us today about the different Aqua-Barrier systems available for your home or business.
You are probably well aware of the dangers of the initial impact of a hurricane, tropical storm or tropical cyclone. You may not be as aware of the dangers of the “after shock” or what is commonly known as inland flooding.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), inland flooding has been responsible for more than half the deaths associated with tropical cyclones in the United States. For example, 1999 brought intense rains and record setting flooding in the Eastern part of the U.S. Fifty of the 56 people who perished in the storm died from inland flooding.
What is Inland Flooding
Inland flooding is severe flooding that occurs in conjunction with major tropical storms and hurricanes. It can extend as far inland from the coast as 100 miles. This hurricane flooding is the result of intense rainfall most often associated with weaker storms which travel slowly or stall over a specific area.
The National Weather Service refers to hurricane flooding as a deadly inland danger. It also has devastating financial impact. Hurricane Katrina produced flooding ranked as one of the most devastating in US history and the most financially shattering natural disaster, costing $81 billion. More than 1,800 people died in that storm, due largely in part to the flooding.
How to be Prepared
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted the 2016 Hurricane Season to be near normal, with at least a 70% expectation of 10-16 named storms, including up to four major hurricanes. The National Weather Service offers these 7 preparation tips:
- When a hurricane is expected, plan for hurricane flooding.
- Determine if you live in a flood zone before the hurricane strikes.
- If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Listen to the news for alerts about dangerous road conditions.
- Move to a safe area before it is cut off by flood water.
- Do not attempt to cross flowing water. As little as six inches can cause you to lose control of your car. Two feet of water will carry most cars away.
- Develop a flood emergency action plan with your community leaders.
Protecting Your Home
With more hurricanes expected than in recent years, it is more important than ever to be prepared and be protected. Protecting your home can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. That’s where Hydrological Solutions comes in.
Our Water Inflated Property Protector (WIPP®) provides the ultimate flood protection for both residential and commercial property. We can help ease the worry of protecting your home during natural disasters like hurricanes and associated infland flooding. Contact us now for more information about our flood damage prevention devices.
Have you seen this viral video floating around the internet? It is real-time footage of a road being washed away in a matter of seconds due to flash flooding here in Texas recently. The first week of June saw a state of emergency declared for the State of Texas because of all of the flooding.
If a flash flood can do that kind of damage to maintained public roads, think of how much worse the damage can be to your house. However, you can protect your home and your wallet by installing easy to use flood protection products from WIPP solution by Hydrological Solutions.
WIPP® System Barriers Spare Texas Home
Homeowners in Ft. Bend County were a little late bringing in our WIPP® System to combat the Texas floods recently. There was already high water surrounding their home. The beauty of the WIPP System is that it didn’t matter.
We installed water inflated property protector barriers around the home. The standing water was then pumped out away from the home. The barriers keep more water from coming back or getting into the house. Of course, ideally, we want to help you prepare for a flood before it comes.
Still, we know firsthand just how fast rain can go from a downpour to a flash flood. This home is surrounded by one of our temporary dams. It is 675 linear feet and stands 4’ and 6’ tall.
Fast Temporary Flood Protection Installation
Without the WIPP® System in place, that home would have easily been inundated with water resulting in enormous repair costs. Instead, we provided fast temporary flood protection installation thereby limiting the actual damage to their home.
This family only contacted us after the flooding had already begun. If nothing else, these recent massive floods should serve as a warning to get ready ahead of time. Let us install a flood barrier for you and you won’t have to worry about water entering your home or business.
Just because the rain has stopped doesn’t mean that the danger is over. Flooding can happen again before the standing water around your home has even receded, leading to even more damage. We can pump out the standing water and protect your home from any further flood damage.
Get the WIPP System from Hydrological Solutions
The WIPP® system is sturdy, weather resistant, and reusable flood protection that can save your property when the next wave of flood waters come.
Perhaps the worst is over, or the worst is yet to come. Don’t get caught off guard by the next Texas flash flood. Get prepared now. Contact us for more information on using the WIPP® System to protect your home from flood waters.