This summer, record-breaking rainfall has caused flash flooding in several parts of the country, including Dallas, Eastern Kentucky, and Mississippi. Flooding can happen anywhere and at any time of the year, and it is important to know the difference between flood warnings and flash flood warnings and how to stay safe when flooding occurs.  

What is the difference between a Flood Advisory, Flood Watch, Flood Warning, and Flash Flood Warning? 

A Flood Advisory is issued when minor flooding is occurring. An advisory is issued when flooding is not bad enough for a warning to be issued. During a Flood Advisory, a person should stay aware. 

A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. A Flood Watch does not mean that flooding will occur. During a Flood Watch, a person should prepare for the possibility of flooding.  

A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring. During a Flood Warning, a person should take action to keep themself and others safe.  

An Areal Flood Warning means the same as a Flood Warning. When an Areal Flood Warning is issued, it means that flooding is occurring over a large area.  

A Flash Flood Warning is issued when flash flooding is imminent or occurring. According to the National Weather Service, a flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take minutes to hours to develop.  

FILE – Homes and structures are flooded near Quicksand, Ky., Thursday, July 28, 2022. The same stubborn weather system caused intense downpours in St. Louis and Appalachia that led to devastating and in some cases deadly flooding. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP, File)

Tips to stay safe during a flood. 

When flood warnings are issued; and water quickly starts to rise, there are steps you can take to keep you and your family safe.  

  • Stay informed. See the local latest alerts.
  • Evacuate and get to higher ground when water starts to rise.  
  • Avoid walking or driving through flooded waters. It only takes six inches of moving water to knock a person off their feet. According to the National Weather Service, 12 inches of water can float a car or a small SUV, and only 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles. Remember, TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN.