Flash Flooding - The Dangers of Fast Moving Water

Sep. 11, 2013
NWS Cleveland


Floods and Flash Floods

Floods and flash floods are a threat to Ohio. Deaths from flooding are usually due to negligence or not knowing what to do. Our severe weather preparedness plans should include ways to safeguard ourselves from flood threats.


What is the difference between a flood and a flash flood?


Flash flooding is a result of heavy localized rainfall such as that from slow moving intense thunderstorms. Flash floods often result from small creeks and streams overflowing during heavy rainfall. These floods often become raging torrents of water which rip through river beds, city streets, coastal sections and valleys or canyons, sweeping everything with them. Flash Flooding usually occurs within 6 hours of a heavy rain event.


On the other hand, the more long term "flood" is a natural and inevitable part of life along our country's rivers. These floods occur seasonally with general rains or torrential rains associated with tropical storms, that later drain in river basins and fill them with an over- abundance of water. General flooding occurs in urban areas and areas with poor drainage after heavy rain.

For more information - http://www.erh.noaa.gov/cle/safety/svrwx_flood.html

Shadyside Flood 1990 - http://ww2.ohiohistory.org/etcetera/exhibits/swio/pages/content/1990_shadysideFlood.htm