Drivers Warned of Flash Flooding, Dangerous Roadways

photo

UPDATED: 1:33 PM

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning this afternoon for eastern Fairfax County. Rainfall up to one inch per hour is likely in this weather band, and rain may continue for more than an hour. This will promote flash flooding.

Most flood deaths occur in automobiles. Never drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. Flood waters are usually deeper than they appear. Just one foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road. When encountering flooded roads make the smart choice — turn around…don’t drown.

Drivers trapped in cars swept away by fast-moving water are at serious risk of drowning, since emergency personnel may not be able to reach them … and may not even know they are missing.

Flooding can threaten many areas of Fairfax County. Follow these safety tips to be prepared all year.

If a Flood is Likely:

  • Stay alert and informed.
  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
  • When flooding is predicted, keep your vehicle parked in your garage or on the driveway away from low-lying areas and large drains.
  • Be especially cautious during periods of limited visibility or nighttime when it is extremely difficult to see and judge conditions.

Prepare to Evacuate:

  • Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

Evacuation Tips:

  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.

Driving in Flood Conditions:

  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick-ups.
Flood Safety

View more presentations from Fairfax County.

Comments

About the Author

Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.