Are You Ready For Potential Flooding in Western MA? Part Two
This is the second blog post in our series on extreme weather.
In Part One, we shared some facts about the dangers of flooding and important flood terms. In this blog, we will explore the areas most at risk from flash floods.
Densely populated areas are at a high risk for flash floods. The construction of buildings, highways, driveways, and parking lots increases runoff by reducing the amount of rain absorbed by the ground. This runoff increases the flash flood potential.
Sometimes, streams through cities and towns are routed underground into storm drains. During heavy rain, the storm drains can become overwhelmed and flood roads and buildings. Low spots, such as underpasses, underground parking garages, and basements can become death traps.
Areas near rivers are at risk from flash floods. Embankments, known as levees, are often built along rivers and are used to prevent high water from flooding bordering land. The city of New Orleans experienced massive devastating flooding days after Hurricane Katrina came onshore in 2005 due to the failure of levees designed to protect the city.
Dam failures can send a sudden destructive wall of water downstream. In 1889 a dam break upstream from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, released a 30-40 foot wall of water that killed 2200 people within minutes.
Mountains and steep hills produce rapid runoff , which causes streams to rise quickly. Rocks and clay soils do not allow much water to infiltrate the ground. Saturated soil also can lead rapidly to flash flooding. Vacationing or recreating along streams or rivers can be a risk if there are thunderstorms in the area. A creek only 6 inches deep in mountainous areas can swell to a 10-foot deep raging river in less than an hour if a thunderstorm lingers over an area for an extended period of time.
Additional high-risk locations include low water crossings, recent burn areas in mountains, and urban areas from pavement and roofs which concentrate rainfall runoff.
SERVPRO of Hampshire County is available 24/7, 365 days a year for your emergency needs whether it be water damage, fire/soot damage, mold or any kind of cleanup. Call us - 413-589-8975.
Content provided by The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL).