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Flash Flood Warning vs. Flood Warning: What is the difference?

By Erik Taylor
By etaylor@wbbjtv.com

WEST MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. -- After almost a week straight of heavy rain and severe weather, flooding has become a big problem, but not all floods are the same, as Jackson-Madison County EMA Director Marty Clements explains.

There's big differences between a Flash Flood Warning that flashes across the bottom of your screen and a Flood Warning.

"Well the biggest thing about a Flash Flood Warning is it can occur just very quickly," Clements said. "A big downpour right there or just a massive amount of water that would hit in a short amount of time. It could hit any area."

Clements says poor drainage or backups in sewers and ditches are usually to blame.

"Its just like traffic congestion. If you're trying like everybody to leave a venue at one time, you just can't get everybody out at once. It backs up." Clements said.

A Flood Warning, however, may not be issued until after the rain has stopped due to continual runoff into our rivers and streams. A lot of that runoff can be attributed to the large amount of construction over the area during the past few years.

"Now it may end up having 2-3 days after all the rains. It could be sunny outside, and were still having a river flood problem and it's growing."Clements says.

Clements says knowing the difference between the two types of flooding can save your life. However, no matter what warning it is, the main concern is standing water on the road which can result in hazardous travel and even life or death situations.

"So why risk your life, why risk somebody else's life you know go around. Turn around don't drown." Clements said.

The issue of flooding continues to increase in our area based upon our aging infrastructure and continued need to build up our communities.

Education and awareness are key when these warnings are issued so you know when to act and be prepared for the when the next storm hits. Remember when the water rises you have only minutes to act. So be prepared and stay alert to the ever changing weather conditions.
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