Flood product advisories, watches and warnings all have different meanings


Creek flooding in St. Albans (submitted by Autumn Sierra)

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK ) – Several products with the word “flooding” in them have been issued this week by the National Weather Service.

Here’s a guide to the different kinds of warnings and advisories you are hearing:

Flash flood watch: this means that flash flooding is possible during the duration of the event. High water could threaten transportation or life or property. A watch does not mean flooding is happening or even imminent, but rather, this kind of flooding could happen within this time frame. Flash flooding is usually rapid.

Flash flood warning : this is the most serious type of flood warning as water rises fast and can catch people off guard. This is the kind of flooding that can threaten life and property over both small or large areas. People in a flash flood area should take every step possible to seek higher ground and avoid driving through any flood waters.

A motorist had to be rescued from flood waters in the Haines Branch area of Kanawha County Thursday May 21, 2020

Areal flood advisory: flooding in low-lying places, small streams and creeks, or poor drainage zones is taking place over a large geographic area, generally the size of several counties. This could even lead to temporary closures of some roadways in particular areas.

Flooding in the area of the Pocatalico River in Kanawha County Thursday, May 21, 2020 from Pamela Lawson near Camp Virgil Tate via Twitter

River flood warning: these are long term flood warnings mainly for larger, main stem rivers where the water tends to rise over the course of a day to several days. This kind of flooding generally is tied to flood stage numbers and crest numbers so people can gauge their actions ahead of time. This kind of flood warning is usually issued for rivers like the Ohio River or Kanawha River. While people should still take action to avoid high water, these kind of warnings tend to have more lead Time than flash flooding.

Mud River Flooding in Cabell County, WV May 21, 2020

More people die in automobile flood related incidents than any other kind of flood fatalities and it only takes a foot of water to float some vehicles.

Courtesy: National Weather Service

Get watches and warnings, advisories or statements any time there is active weather here on our website 24/7.

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