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The National Weather Service issued a flood warning at 8:05 p.m. on Wednesday that is in effect until 10:30 p.m. for Columbia and Montour counties.

The weather service comments: “Flooding is expected due to excessive rainfall.”

“Minor flooding in low-lying and poorly drained areas. Water will inundate roads. Some crossings may become impassable at low water levels,” the weather service adds. “Turn back, do not drown if you encounter flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles. Be aware of your surroundings and do not drive on flooded roads. Please report any observed flooding to local emergency services or police and ask them to pass this information on to the National Weather Service as soon as you can do so safely.”

Understanding the differences between advisories, observations and warnings

  • Flash flood warning: take action!

A flash flood warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or is already occurring. If you are in a flood-prone area, get to higher ground immediately. A flash flood is a sudden, severe flood that can develop from minutes to hours. It is even possible to experience flash flooding in areas where there is no immediate rain.

  • Flood warning: take action!

A flood warning is issued when flooding is imminent or already underway.

  • Flood warning: Please note:

A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is not expected to reach a level of severity that would warrant a warning. However, such a warning may cause significant inconvenience and, if ignored, may result in situations threatening life and/or property.

  • Flood warning: Be prepared:

A flood warning is issued when conditions are favourable for flooding. This does not mean that flooding will occur, but it is possible.

Weather Service Flood Safety Guidelines: Weathering the Storm

Flooding can pose a significant threat, especially if you live in a flood-prone area or are camping in a low-lying region. To ensure your safety, the Weather Service offers important flood safety guidelines:

Move to higher ground:

If you are in a flood-prone area or camping in a low-lying area, the first step is to move to higher ground.

Follow evacuation instructions:

If local authorities issue an evacuation order, obey it immediately. Secure your home by locking it before leaving.

Disconnect utilities and equipment:

If time permits, unplug your utilities and appliances. This precaution will minimize electrical hazards during flooding.

Avoid basements and flooded areas:

Avoid basements or rooms in contact with water where there are electrical outlets or cables. Preventing electrical accidents is crucial.

Fast evacuation for your safety:

If you notice sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, popping or banging noises, evacuate immediately. Do not enter water that may be live.

Avoid entering flood water:

Never attempt to walk through flood water. Even 15 cm of fast-flowing water can sweep you off your feet with full force.

If you are trapped, seek higher ground:

If you become trapped in running water, go to the highest possible point and call 911.

Heavy rain can create a risk of flooding, especially in low-lying and flood-prone areas. Never attempt to drive through water on the road, no matter how deep it appears. According to the weather service, as little as 30 cm of water can sweep away most vehicles. Stay safe by being prepared and informed.

Driving on wet roads: Safety tips for wet weather

Heavy rains can cause flooding if they last for a long time or if there is excessive runoff. Excessive runoff can be due to saturated soil and/or rainfall intensity. Follow these weather service recommendations to stay safe during heavy rain:

Be careful with fast water flow:

During heavy rain, avoid parking or walking near culverts or drainage ditches where fast-flowing water can pose a serious hazard.

Keep the safety distance:

In heavy rain, the two-second following rule is helpful. Increase it to four seconds to ensure a safe following distance in adverse conditions.

Reduce speed and drive carefully:

On wet roads, it is extremely important to slow down. Ease off the accelerator and avoid sudden braking to prevent skidding.

Choose your lane carefully:

Stay in the middle lanes to minimize the risk of aquaplaning. More water can collect in the outer lanes.

Visibility is important:

Turn on your headlights and watch for other vehicles behind you and in your blind spot, as they are particularly difficult to see through rain-soaked windows.

Be careful on slippery roads:

Be especially careful in the first half hour after the rain starts. Dirt and oil on the road surface mix with water and make the road slippery.

Keep a safe distance from large vehicles:

Do not drive too close behind large trucks or buses. The spray created by their large tires will limit your visibility. Also be careful when overtaking; if you must overtake, do so quickly and safely.

Pay attention to your windshield wipers:

  • Overloaded wiper blades can reduce visibility. If rain is severely affecting your visibility, pull over to the side of the road and wait for conditions to improve. Seek shelter in rest areas or places sheltered from the wind.
  • If you can only stop at the side of the road, position your vehicle as far from the road as possible, ideally behind guard rails. Leave your headlights on and activate your hazard lights to alert other drivers to your position.

By following these safety measures, you can significantly reduce the risks and ensure your well-being during heavy rain. Stay informed about weather conditions and follow the advice of local authorities to ensure your trip is safe and unharmed.

Advance Local Weather Alerts is a service from United Robots that uses machine learning to compile the latest data from the National Weather Service.