(WVNS) – Welcome to West Virginia’s Severe Weather Awareness Week! Your only local Weather Ready Nation Ambassador weather team, StormTracker 59, is participating in a week-long Severe Weather Awareness event hosted by the National Weather Service – Charleston. This is a series encompassing the entire work week dedicated to helping you be prepared for severe weather – something we see every year here in our region! Whether it’s damaging wind gusts, flooding, tornadoes, hail or something else, this week is dedicated to helping prepare you and your family for Mother Nature’s worse!

For Thursday, March 23rd, our topic takes a look at flash flooding:

What is difference between flash flooding and river flooding?

  • Flash flooding is a flood caused by heavy rain in a short amount of time – six hours or less – typically the most dangerous and life-threatening.
  • River flooding is water that overflows onto normally dry land – usually lasting days or even weeks – typically most memorable due its general widespread scope.
  • Top cause of death from flash flooding: Vehicles! 46 percent of flash flooding deaths are attributed to people being killed in their vehicles.
  • Top age group for deaths from people being killed in their vehicles: Aged 50 to 59 (20 percent of flash flooding deaths from people being killed in their vehicles were in this age bracket).

The June 23rd, 2016 flash flood (and subsequent river flooding) caused 23 deaths and $1.1 billion in damage, but that’s only a small part of the 126 deaths and $46.4 billion in damage caused that year alone from flash flooding in the United States.

Before the flood

  • Know your risk: Are you in a floodplain?
  • Check insurance for coverage of flooding.
  • Clear storm drains of any loose debris.
  • Charge electronic devices in case of emergency.

What to do when encountering flash flooding

  • When a roadway is flooded: Turn around, don’t drown!
  • Flash flooding can occur very quickly, is very powerful and unforgiving.
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • Only twelve inches of water is needed to float away many vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pick-ups.

Flood insurnace

  • Though flood insurance is not free, the average annual policy cost of $700 generally provides a policy payout of $31,000.