Las Vegas Sun

October 16, 2019

Currently: 83° — Complete forecast

Top 10 tips for flash floods

The following tips include information from the National Weather Service and the Clark County Regional Flood Control District.

1. Be aware floods can happen any time. While flash flood season runs from July 1 through September in Southern Nevada, floods can occur without warning.

2. Get out of the pool. Before the flood, thunderstorms can bring lightning, high winds, hail and heavy rains. Get out of swimming pools, Lake Mead or any other body of water, because lightning can travel more than 10 miles in clear air and water attracts the electrical current.

3. Get off the golf course. If a thunderstorm occurs, get off golf courses and stay away from trees or power poles to avoid being struck by lightning. If you are caught in the open, crouch on your feet as low to the ground as possible, making you a smaller target for lightning strikes.

4. Know the terminology. A flash flood watch means that a flood is possible in your area. A flash flood warning means that a flood is already occurring or will occur within moments. The National Weather Service declares both watches and warnings.

5. If driving, stay in the car. If you are driving through a major storm, consider pulling over to higher ground than the street and waiting out the storm in your car or vehicle. Intense storms in Southern Nevada are usually over in a couple hours.

6. Never drive through a flooded street or road or around barricades. Roads underneath may be damaged and impassable. Use extra caution at night.

7. Don't walk through rushing water. If you car stalls in floodwaters, it might be safer to stay with the vehicle. Floodwaters can move at 30 mph and if they are only inches deep can sweep you off your feet and result in drowning. Also, debris swept along with the floodwaters can knock you down.

8. Don't try to drive through a flooded street. Most flood-related deaths are caused by people attempting to drive through moving water. Floodwaters can sweep away cars for miles. Larger trucks and SUVs may be more likely to float because large, air-filled tires increase the tendency of the vehicles to float or tip over in the swift water flows.

9. Don't let children or pets play in or near floodwaters. Floodwaters, in addition to moving up to 30 mph, are filled with hazardous materials such as chemicals, oil and bacteria. Stay out of flood channels and detention basins, which can rise as quickly as one foot per minute.

10. Stay out of standing water. The dirty water can disguise hazards below the surface, such as deep holes, dangerous debris and be filled with bacteria.

During a flood watch or warning, more information is available at the Regional Flood Control District's Web site:

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