You may not see certain, familiar flood alerts the next time it rains heavily in your area. That's because the National Weather Service (NWS) is aiming to simplify the way it communicates flood threats. This is the first step of many in a process of simplifying weather alerts across the country.
Right now there are several types of flooding alerts. If you don't know what you're looking for, it can be confusing. There are urban flood advisories, small stream flood advisories, aerial flood warnings, river flood warnings, flash flood watches and flood watches. However with this simplification process, the National Weather Service will take a bunch of these alerts and combine them into a few, simpler hazards.
Our field correspondent John Van Pelt interviewed Daniel Roman, a NOAA/NWS Hydrologist, about the flood hazard simplification,
"The National Weather Service is always looking for ways to improve how we communicate flood threats. We are already doing that today by consolidating some of our flood products. Our five types of flood advisories will be reduced to one. We’re also reformatting our flood products into “what, where, when” impacts format. By making this change, we’re looking forward to providing the public with simpler, clearer messaging so that they take appropriate action.”
Another change to the flood products will be the way the hazards are communicated (regarding bullet point information). Instead of listing the information in paragraph form, the new consolidated version will have "What, Where, When, Impacts, and Additional Details" in an easy-to-read format.
Flooding is a threat any time of the year in any state. Here are ways to keep you and your family safe:
- Assemble an emergency kit
- Know your flood risk
- Avoid floodwaters and seek higher ground
- Don't drive around barriers and into floodwaters
When it comes to flood watches
versus flood warnings
you want to remember:
Flood Watch = Flooding is possible, be prepared, and listen to additional forecast information
Flood Warning = Flooding is happening or about to happen, take action now and seek higher ground