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Guide to Local National Weather Service Flood Products

What's the difference between Aeral Flood Watch, Flash Flood Watch, Flood Watch? Warnings? Advisories

Posted: Jan 9, 2020 8:55 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2020 9:05 PM

Most watches, warnings & advisories that appear on your app or on television come from our local federal government-run National Weather Service out of either Chicago, Indianapolis or North Webster, Indiana, depending on what county you are in.  Tornado & Severe T'Storm Watches come from a branch known as the Storm Prediction Center, which is located in Norman, Oklahoma.  Local NWS office will collaborate with SPC to determine the exact placement of severe weather watches, however.

Any of these we take directly from NWS & they determine the wording of each.  There is a survey underway to & movement to simplify flood products, much like winter weather products.  Remember when Snow Advisory & Freezing Rain Advisory were issued?  They now fall under the blanket of Winter Weather Advisory.  Remember Heavy Snow Warning?  That would be under Winter Storm Warning now.  However, a new warning....a Snow Squall Warning is a new NWS product during quick, sudden, intense snow showers with white-out conditions. 

Flood products from NWS that concern our viewing area are below.

The National Weather Service defines:

Areal Flood Watch:  Issued for potential of flooding that develops more gradually, usually from prolonged and persistent moderate to heavy rainfall.This results in a gradual ponding or buildup of water in low-lying, flood prone areas, as well as small creeks and streams. The flooding normally occurs more than six hours after the rainfall begins, and may cover a large area. However, even though this type of flooding develops more slowly than flash flooding, it can still be a threat to life and property.

Areal Flood Warning:  Issued for flooding that develops more gradually, usually from prolonged and persistent moderate to heavy rainfall.  This results in a gradual ponding or buildup of water in low-lying, flood prone areas, as well as small creeks and streams. The flooding normally occurs more than six hours after the rainfall begins, and may cover a large area. However, even though this type of flooding develops more slowly than flash flooding, it can still be a threat to life and property.

Flood Watch:  Issued to indicate current or developing conditions that are favorable for flooding. The occurrence is neither certain nor imminent. A watch is typically issued within several hours to days ahead of the onset of possible flooding. In situations where a river or stream is expected to be the main source of the flooding, forecast confidence may allow for a Flood Watch to be issued several days in advance.

Flood Warning:  Issued to inform the public of flooding that poses a serious threat to life and/or property. A Flood Warning may be issued hours to days in advance of the onset of flooding based on forecast conditions. Floods occurring along a river usually contain river stage (level) forecasts.

Generally, a Flood Warning is usually the mode with river flooding. Flash flooding is usually quickly rising water, especially near creeks, streams, rivers and low lying areas.

Flash Flood Watch:  Issued for potential of flooding that normally occurs within six hours of heavy or intense rainfall. This results in small creeks and streams quickly rising out of their banks. Dangerous flooding in areas near these creeks and streams, as well as low-lying flood prone areas, develops very quickly and is a significant threat to life and/or property.

Flash Flood Warning:  Issued for flooding that normally occurs within six hours of heavy or intense rainfall. This results in small creeks and streams quickly rising out of their banks. Dangerous flooding in areas near these creeks and streams, as well as low-lying flood prone areas, develops very quickly and is a significant threat to life and/or property.

Flood Advisory:  A Flood Advisory is issued when a flood event warrants notification but is less urgent than a warning. . Advisories are issued for conditions that could cause a significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

Flash Flood Emergency:  Issued in "exceedingly rare situations when a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash food is happening or will happen soon."

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