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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Flood warning affecting Southwest Alabama from Thursday

On Tuesday at 9:44 a.m. the National Weather Service issued a flood warning valid from Thursday 4 a.m. for Clarke, Monroe and Wilcox counties.

Breaking down weather alerts: advisories, watches, and warnings

  • Flash flood warning: Take action!

A flash flood warning is issued when a flash flood is either imminent or already occurring. In flood-prone areas, it’s crucial to move immediately to higher ground. A flash flood is a sudden and violent inundation that can develop within minutes to hours, and it can even happen in areas not currently experiencing rainfall.

  • Flood warning: Take action!

A flood warning is declared when flooding is on the verge of happening or is already underway.

  • Flood advisory: Be aware:

A flood advisory is released when flooding is not expected to reach a severity level necessitating a warning. Nonetheless, it can still cause considerable inconvenience and, without exercising caution, potentially lead to situations that threaten life and/or property.

  • Flood watch: Be prepared:

A flood watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.

Staying safe during a flood: Recommendations from the weather service

Floods can pose a significant threat, especially if you live in a flood-prone area or find yourself camping in a low-lying region. To ensure your safety, the weather service offers essential flood safety guidelines:

1. Seek higher ground:

  • If you’re in a flood-prone area, or if you’re camping in a low-lying spot, move to higher ground as a first step.

2. Follow evacuation orders:

  • When local authorities issue an evacuation order, promptly comply. Before leaving, secure your home by locking it.

3. Disconnect utilities and appliances:

  • If time permits, disconnect your utilities and appliances. This precaution minimizes electrical hazards during flooding.

4. Steer clear of flooded basements and submerged areas:

  • Avoid basements or rooms submerged in water with electrical outlets or cords. Preventing electrical accidents is crucial.

5. Swift evacuation for your safety:

  • If you notice sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping, or popping sounds, evacuate without delay. Do not enter water that may carry an electrical charge.

6. Stay away from floodwaters:

  • Never attempt to walk through floodwaters, even if they appear shallow. Just 6 inches of fast-moving water can forcefully sweep you off your feet.

7. Seek higher ground when trapped:

  • In the event you become trapped by moving water, make your way to the highest point available and contact emergency services by calling 911.

When heavy rain occurs, there is a potential for flooding, particularly in areas that are low-lying or prone to floods. It is crucial to never drive through water on the road, even if it appears shallow. According to the NWS, as little as 12 inches of fast-flowing water can carry away most vehicles. Stay safe by being prepared and informed.

Navigating rainy roads: Safety tips for wet weather

When heavy rain pours, the risk of flooding and treacherous roads rises. Here’s your guide from the weather service to staying safe during downpours:

Beware of rapid water flow:

  • Avoid parking or walking in close proximity to culverts or drainage ditches, as the swiftly moving water during heavy rain can potentially carry you away.

Maintain safe driving distances:

  • Use the two-second rule to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you and allow an extra two seconds in heavy rain.

Slow down and stay cautious:

  • On wet roads, slowing down is paramount. Gradually ease off the accelerator and avoid abrupt braking to prevent skidding.

Choose your lane wisely:

  • Stay toward the middle lanes – water tends to pool in the outside lanes.

Prioritize visibility:

  • Enhance your visibility in heavy rain by turning on your headlights. Watch out for vehicles in blind spots, as rain-smeared windows can obscure them.

Watch out for slippery roads:

  • The first half-hour of rain is when roads are slickest due to a mix of rain, grime, and oil. Exercise heightened caution during this period.

Keep a safe distance from large vehicles:

  • Large trucks and buses can reduce your visibility with tire spray. Avoid tailgating and pass them swiftly and safely.

Mind your windshield wipers:

  • Overloaded wiper blades can hinder visibility. If rain severely limits your sight, pull over and wait for conditions to improve. Seek refuge at rest areas or protected spots.
  • If the roadside is your only option, pull off as far as possible, preferably past the end of a guard rail, and wait until the storm passes. Keep your headlights on and turn on emergency flashers to alert other drivers of your position.

In the face of heavy rain, these precautions can make a significant difference in ensuring your safety on the road. Remember to stay informed about weather conditions and heed guidance from local authorities for a secure journey.

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

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