POSTED: Friday, February 21, 2014 - 1:00pm
UPDATED: Friday, February 21, 2014 - 1:04pm
BATON ROUGE, La. (NBC33) — Louisiana's "Severe Weather Awareness Week" is this week, February 17-21. The National Weather Service in New Orleans will choose a topic to focus on and prepare you for any upcoming severe weather that heads toward south Louisiana.
Today's topic is "Flash Floods."
A flash flood is a rapid rise of water in a low-lying area. Typically, it develops quickly along a stream, creek, or bayou due to heavy rain or water releases from dams upstream.
Flash floods can occur any time of the day, but are most dangerous at night. Flooding causes more deaths each year than any other weather event. Nearly 140 deaths are reported from flash floods each year in the U.S.
Flash floods can be very deceptive. Warnings of high water can go unnoticed, especially, at night. The darkness makes it hard to find an escape route. Even worse, the water is almost always deeper and moves more swiftly than it appears. It can hide damage to the road beneath as well as debris on the road. The safety rule is simple, stay out of and away from deep water. Drivers must not try to cross flooded low areas. Even if a previous vehicle made it through the flooding, the water can rise so rapidly that you may not make it. Using alternate routes to avoid flooding is the only way to be safe.
If your vehicle stalls in flood waters, leave it immediately and move to higher ground. Most cars and light trucks will begin to float in as little as two feet of water. If the water reaches the doors, electric windows and door systems may be shorted out. Even if they are not, occupants must push against the current to open doors. This is extremely difficult, if not impossible.
Everyone, especially children, should stay away from flooded streams, bayous, or drainage ditches. The swift current can quickly sweep away children even if they are strong swimmers. Soggy banks along these swiftly moving waters become unstable after heavy rain and can easily give way dumping the victim into the flood waters.
The best way to stay informed when flash flooding threatens is to monitor NOAA Weather Radio, or commercial radio, local television, or cable television for reliable weather information.
Check the latest forecast at www.nbc33tv.com/weather .
Click here  to see yesterday's topic "Lightning."
Follow Meteorologist Kyle Myers at www.facebook.com/weathermanmyers .