Emergency Management

Posted on: February 9, 2018

Day Five of Severe Weather Preparedness Week: Flood Safety


Flood Safety is our topic today; take a few minutes to learn how to prepare for floods in your community.

Chatham County lies in what is known as the "Low Country" of Georgia, and has a massive network of rivers and streams that all eventually reach the nearby coastline. Due to the depressions and large amount of water sources found all throughout Chatham County, there is a very high chance for residents to experience flash floods, river floods, and coastal flooding events. It is not widely known, but flooding is often the most deadly weather hazard. Most flood related deaths are caused by individuals who become trapped in their stalled vehicles while driving through flood waters.

Flash floods are caused by large amounts of rain in a specific area for a prolonged period of time. Areas subject to flash floods are often near streams and rivers and are typically urban and low lying areas.  River flooding occurs when the water levels rapidly increase and rise above the banks of rivers and streams. This normally occurs when large amounts of rain further north of a river cause the level to rapidly swell and force greater amounts of water south. Coastal flooding, or storm surge, occurs when there is a sudden rise in sea level. This can be caused by very strong wind currents and seawater being forced further inland and typically occurs when a hurricane or tropical storm is present on the Georgia coastline.

The best way to prepare for flooding events is to stay informed. Know the difference between a Flash Flood Watch and a Flash Flood Warning! A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions are favorable for flooding in a specific area. A Flash Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent and you should take action immediately to protect your family. If a flooding event does occur, try to reach high ground as soon as possible, while avoiding any areas that may appear too deep for your vehicle.

Do not attempt to cross areas where water is rapidly flowing, it only takes two feet of fast moving water to lift a full size car and carry it away. If your vehicle does get caught in fast flowing water, vacate the vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so and seek higher ground.

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