Weather Wise Kids: Why do floods kill people?

Hey Noah! I find it ironic you ask about flooding considering your name.

Flash flooding is the number one storm related killer in the United States.

Most people underestimate the power of water. Often people are in a rush and don’t want to be inconvenienced by taking a detour when they see a flooded roadway. Sometimes people will even drive through a barricaded area because they believe they can safely make it through.

Fatalities that involve drowning can be 100% preventable by not driving or walking through flooding roads. Most vehicles become difficult to control in as little as six inches of water and can be swept away in 18 to 24 inches of water. Data from the National Weather Service indicates nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle-related. This is why we always encourage you to “turn around don’t drown.”

This image from the National Weather Service shows the weather fatalities from last year. Notice how “flood” was the leading cause of death in 2016.

126 total deaths from flooding and only 18 from tornadoes. Also notice that on average heat kills more people than hurricanes.

While summertime in the south brings tons of fun, it also brings dangerous weather conditions. Make sure you and your family has a way to stay cool and have a plan for when severe weather hits!

 

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