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Dangers of Flash Flooding

Many people think tornadoes are the deadliest form of severe weather, but actually it's raging flood waters. KQ2 Meteorologist Vanessa Alonso explains as part of our coverage of severe weather awareness week.

Posted: Mar 8, 2018 1:37 PM
Updated: Mar 8, 2018 1:40 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Flash flooding is the number one cause of natural disaster related deaths in the United States each year. It's caused by heavy or excess rainfall in a short amount of time that can overflow rivers or low-lying areas like St. Joseph.

Flash flood waters can rise and move at very fast speeds.

"At times the water can be three to four feet deep and it can be a huge problem," Buchanan County Emergency Manager Bill Brinton said.

According to the National Weather Service., six inches of water alone can sweep a person right off their feet. One foot alone can float a vehicle and two feet will sweep it away.

Statistics show that 50 percent of flood deaths happen in cars.

"I had a very close friend whose mother actually drowned in a flooding incident," Brinton said. "She was in a car and the car got washed away and she had her daughter with her. She was able to put her daughter on a tree until help could come and slipped away and drowned."

That's why it's important to just follow one simple rule when it comes to you and the fast standing water.

"People should never drive through standing water and as the old saying goes ''turn around, don't drown,'" Brinton said.

Insurance companies say that flash flooding events across the U.S. costs $2.8 billion in damage each year. Other causes of flash flooding include a sudden release of water by an ice jam or levee failure.

St. Joseph
Partly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 92°
79° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 83°
Mostly Cloudy
84° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 92°
Partly Cloudy
83° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 90°
82° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 90°
Thunderstorms moved through the area today, and another round of storms will begin to develop into the evening. These storms have the chance to be strong to severe. The main threats will remain as strong winds and heavy rain, however hail and an isolated tornado can not be ruled out. Storm chances will continue on Friday into Saturday as a front rolls through. Temperatures will be back in the 80s for the weekend into next week with several more scattered rain and thunderstorm chances.
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