Flooding facts and safety

Weather Blog

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – As severe weather awareness week continues with the month of May just around the corner,  it seems like a great time to discuss some facts about flooding, and what the month of May could potentially hold for us here in Rochester. You know the phrase, “April showers bring May flowers”, but the showers don’t exactly stop at the end of April.

The spring months of March, April, and May here in Rochester have been known to produce some record holding, soaking rain events. See some of the wettest and driest spring events are shown below:

March – April – May

Spring Precipitation Records for Rochester courtesy of the NWS

Even though these months aren’t necessarily the wettest months of the year climatologically, they still hold a decent threat for flash flooding as the potential for severe weather and heavy rain events increase into May. 

There are a couple main flooding hazards to watch for: flash floods and river/stream flooding 

A flash flood is a very quick rush of water that can result from sudden, heavy rains. Like the name suggests, they happen in a flash! River or stream flooding can occur from the same reason and results in fast, rising water levels that overflow into areas that are normally dry. 

Let’s dive into some flooding facts…

Did you know that flooding is the #1 weather hazard in the US? More deaths occur as a result of flooding incidents than any other severe weather hazard. No matter where you live, the threat for flash flooding exists from coast to coast throughout the entire year. This is why it’s important to know what to do before and after a possible flooding situation comes your way. It’s also important to know the difference between a flash flood watch and a warning. 

A flash flood WATCH is issued when conditions are favorable for flash flooding. They are usually issued several hours ahead of time, and marks when you should start thinking about a plan of action in case of an event.

A flash flood WARNING is issued when flash flooding will happen or is happening. They are usually issued for a particular area with only a limited amount of time to react. This is when you should act upon your plan as flooding waters are an immediate threat. 

Here are a few tips to stay safe in case you encounter flooded waters:

  1. Never walk or drive into a flooded roadway. Remember: TURN AROUND DON’T DROWN
  2. Move to higher ground if flood waters threaten your area 
  3. Remain alert and cautious of your surroundings, especially at night.

You can find more specific flooding information for NYS here, or click here for even more details about flooding and safety.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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