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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.

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