Flash Flood Policy
The New Orleans area and much of Louisiana has experienced severe urban and rural flooding in the past which was not hurricane related.
The rainstorms that produce this type of flooding are at times predictable, but this is not always the case.
Flash Flood Watch
The National Weather Service issues a Flash Flood Watch when “flooding is a possibility in or close to the watch area. Those in the affected area are urged to be ready to take action if a flash flood warning is issued or flooding is observed. These watches are issued for flooding that is expected to occur within six (6) hours after the heavy rains have ended.”
As such, if a Flash Flood Watch is issued production need not cease, but a heightened level of awareness to weather conditions in the production area should be established within production’s command chain. Production should begin to identify nearby shelter of sufficient elevation in the event of flooding.
Flash Flood Warning
The National Weather Service issues a flood warning for life/property threatening flooding that will occur within six (6) hours. It could be issued for rural or urban areas as well as for areas along major rivers. Very heavy rain in a short period of time can lead to flash flooding, depending on local terrain, ground cover, degree of urbanization, amount of man-made changes to the natural river banks, and initial ground or river conditions. If a flash flood warning is issued in the immediate vicinity of production employees should be directed to previously identified shelter.
Urban/Small Stream Flood Advisory
The National Weather Service issues a Flood Advisory to the public when heavy rain will cause flooding of streets and low-lying places in urban areas. It is also issued if small rural or urban streams are expected to reach or exceed their bank.
As in flood watch conditions, a heightened awareness to weather conditions should be established within production’s command chain. In the event of a Flood Warning production should be prepared to stop at a moment’s notice.
If flooding begins anywhere within a one mile area of the production location or a Flood Advisory is issued for the area within one mile of production then production should cease. Personnel need not be dismissed as this may result in sending employees home and into the path of floodwaters.
Personnel may be asked to assist in securing equipment and/or locations as long as other weather hazards such as lightning are not present in the immediate area.
All personnel should, in fact, remain on location and be directed to predetermined shelters situated at least three (3) feet above street level.
For more information regarding flash flood preparedness visit the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s website at http://www.noaa.gov.