Ask Josh: Understanding Flood Warnings

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Despite the cold weather over the past few days, our season weather watch now turns to flooding, but all those warning and watches can be confusing.

We are now in the heart of spring, which is a time for lawn work, picnics, prom season and the end of school is around the corner. This is also the time to be thinking about flooding.

From spring into summer and year round actually, storms can produce copious amounts of rain in a short time. John from Pt. Pleasant e-mailed Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick recently wanting to know more about flood watches and warnings. What do they exactly mean?

Flooding is the most common and deadliest form of severe weather we have to deal with here in our region. There are basically three kinds of advisories the National Weather Service issues when dealing with flooding.

The first one is a flood watch. A flood watch is issued when there's the potential for flooding. If you live near a creek or stream you should monitor water levels frequently and stay informed of the latest forecast from the First Warning Weather Team.

A flood or flash flood warning is issued when flooding is occurring or is about to occur. If you live in an area where water is rising, seek higher ground and never ever drive through high water. It only takes about twelve inches of fast moving water to float your car away.

Finally, an urban and small stream flood advisory means flooding is likely in poor drainage areas.

One final note, more people in the country are killed in flood waters than in hurricanes and tornadoes combined. The National Weather Service has a good saying when it comes to flooded roadways, “turn around, don't drown.”

For the latest severe weather updates give our weather centers a call. In Charleston it’s (304) 690-4655 and in Huntington (304) 690-3018.

If you have a weather related question for Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick simply shoot him an email to and if you're lucky Josh will read and answer your question on First at Five.

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