Flash Floods

Flash floods are a common and widespread disaster that can occur anywhere in the United States. Flash floods are the number one cause of weather related deaths. The sheer force of just six inches of swiftly moving water can knock people off their feet. Cars are easily swept away in just two feet of water. Flash floods can occur with little or no warning-and can reach full peak within minutes. Rapidly rising walls of water can reach heights of 30 feet or more and are generally accompanied by a deadly cargo of debris.

The National Weather Service will issue a flash flood "watch" when flash flooding is possible within the designated watch area be alert. A flash flood "warning" will be issued when a flash flood has been reported or is imminent- take necessary precautions. No area is immune to flash floods.

In mountainous regions flash floods can strike with little or no warning. District rain may be channeled into gullies and ravines, turning a quiet streamside campsite into a rampaging torrent in minutes. In areas recently ravaged and left exposed by wildfire, such as the 1994 Chelan County burn, heavy rains from thunderstorms or warm rain and snowmelt, can also create mudslides and landslides, as well as flash floods. In Chelan County alone, 26 people have perished from flash floods since 1925.

Observe the following flash flood rules. They could save your life!

During threatening weather listen to commercial radio or TV or NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio for "watch" and "warning" bulletins.

Washington State Military Department, Emergency Management Division