May 21 to 25 is Flood Awareness Week in the State of Texas. One of the best ways to show the importance of this week is to start by sharing some facts and myths about flooding.
Myth: In Texas, high winds and tornadoes account for more weather hazard related deaths than any other hazard.
Fact: From 2013 to 2016, more people died in Texas from flooding than all other weather hazards combined (Source: National Weather Service).
Myth: Most flood victims drown in their homes after becoming trapped from rising flood waters.
Fact: Over half of all flood fatalities occurred while people were in their car. Most of these are due to individuals attempting to drive through water flowing over roads or drivers who misjudge the depth of water or cannot see a flooded road at night. (Source: National Weather Service).
Myth: SUVs, pickups and other large vehicle are safe to drive through floodwaters. You can walk through floodwaters as long as the water is not too deep.
Fact: Just two feet of water can float most vehicles and, if the water is moving quickly,
vehicles can be swept away. If you come to a flooded road, turn around and go another way. Always avoid floodwaters. Just six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off your feet. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way (Source: National Weather Service and the American Red Cross).
Myth: Flooding only occurs near streams and rivers in Special Flood Hazard Areas.
Fact: Flooding can occur in areas in and outside of Special Flood Hazard Areas. For instance, Harris County saw over 50% of all flooded structures from the 2016 Memorial Day flood event occur outside of any special flood hazard area. In addition, according to FloodSmart.Gov, policyholders outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file over 20 percent of all NFIP flood insurance claims.
Myth: We had a 100-year flood this year, so we won’t have one for another 100 years.
Fact: The 100-Year terminology is a commonly misunderstood concept that is better refereed to as the 1% annual chance. This means that in any given year, a property within the 1% Annual Chance Flood Hazard Area, or 100-year floodplain, has a 1% chance of flooding in any given year. Additional, according to a technical paper published by the USGS “…during the span of a 30-year mortgage, a home in the [1% Annual Chance Flood Hazard Area, or 100-year floodplain] has a 26-percent chance of being flooded at least once during those 30 years…”