Flood Warnings and Procedures

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Many of Luzerne County’s residents reside in areas that are prone to flooding. It’s important to be aware of the streams and rivers in your area and to know what to do should a flood warning be issued. Courtesy of the NOAA and the National Weather Service, here are some important terms and suggestions Luzerne County residents should know.

Flash Flood Watch – Indicates that flash flooding is a possibility in or close to the watch area. Those in the affected area are urged to be ready to take action if a flash flood warning is issued or flooding is observed. These watches are issued for flooding that is expected to occur within 6 hours after the heavy rains have ended.

Flash Flood Warning – A flood warning issued for life/property threatening flooding that will occur within 6 hours. It could be issued for rural or urban areas as well as for areas along the major rivers. Very heavy rain in a short period of time can lead to flash flooding, depending on local terrain, ground cover, degree of urbanization, amount of man-made changes to the natural river banks, and initial ground or river conditions. Dam breaks or ice jams can also create flash flooding.

Flash Flood Statement – A Flash Flood Statement is issued to inform the public about current flash flood conditions. These statements usually contain river stage information if major streams or rivers are involved.

Urban/Small Stream Flood Advisory - Alerts the public to flooding, which is generally only an inconvenience (not life-threatening) to those living in the affected area. Issued when heavy rain will cause flooding of streets and low-lying places in urban areas. Also used if small rural or urban streams are expected to reach or exceed their banks.

AT HOME AND AT WORK:
  • If you are in a flood-prone area, identify at least one evacuation route to higher ground. Choose a location for family members to meet.
  • Assemble emergency supplies, including: Flashlight and extra batteries, battery-powered radio, weather radio receiver, corded telephone, nonperishable food and water (three gallons per person), first-aid supplies, extra clothing, and bedding. Don’t forget special items for family members such as diapers, baby formula, prescription or essential medications, extra eyeglasses or hearing aids, and pet supplies.
  • Know how to shut off electric, gas, and water utilities.
  • Have a map available so you know where flooding is occurring and if it moving toward your location.
  • Know how to get warning information; such as NOAA Weather Radio, local radio and television stations, and cable TV.
WHEN TRAVELING OR OUTDOORS:
  • Check the weather forecast before a trip or going outside.
  • Choose campsites away from creeks and other low-lying areas. Monitor NOAA Weather Radio or a local radio station for updated forecasts, watches, and warnings.
  • Watch for heavy rain upstream of your location or rising water.
  • If you see rising water or a flash flood warning is issued, get to higher ground immediately! Follow the evacuation instructions that will be issued to all Luzerne County residents.

Last Updated: 08/19/06 03:32:22
Public Safety
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