As of today, Wednesday (June 19th), the city of St. Louis and surrounding areas are under a flood warning. The Mississippi river is currently at a flood stage of 30.0 ft. with more major flooding in the forecast. Meteorologists are predicting the flood stage to fall to 40.0 ft. by Thursday morning. If rainfall continues at rates heavier than predicted, there may be an even higher risk of flooding. The National Weather Service will be monitoring this developing situation and issue follow up statements as conditions or forecasts change. A Flood Warning for St. Louis is not that rare.
What is a Flood Stage?
A flood stage is the measurement of a river’s water level above a certain set point, usually with the zero point being the river bed. A river’s normal stage is usually around 5-20 ft. depending on it’s size. Anything above 20 ft. will commonly issue a flood watch or flood warning. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) can monitor the stage of many streams almost instantly using modern computer and satellite technology.
4 Different Types Of Flood Alerts
According to the National Weather Service, there are actually four different public alerts for flooding which include a flood advisory, flood watch, flood warning and flash flood warning. Each alert is issued depending on both the rivers’ flood stage and the weather forecast. These alerts range from a simple nuisance to a severe safety risk.
- Flood Advisory – This is the least serious alert of the four. It simply alerts local residents to take caution in lightly flooded areas. Flooding for this alert can be a bit of an inconvenience and isn’t usually a threat to your safety, unless you take unnecessary risks.
- Flood Watch – Flood advisories can often lead to a flood watch if water levels continue to rise. This alert encourages local residents to be prepared in case conditions worsen. A watch is issued when conditions favor a flooding hazard, but isn’t quite there yet. This doesn’t always mean a flood will occur, but it’s best to be wary if this alert is issued.
- Flood Warning – This is when real caution must be taken. When a flood warning is issued a flood may be imminent or already happening. If you live close to a river, you’ll want to tune into your local weather channel for updates and possibly think about evacuating the area.
- Flash Flood Warning – This is the most serious alert of the four. If a flash flood warning is issued you’ll want to take action immediately by evacuating and moving to higher ground. Flash floods can occur in a matter of hours or even minutes and can be very violent. It’s even possible to fall victim to a flash flood in an area where there’s no rainfall. Always take extreme caution after receiving this alert.
Safety Risks of Flooding
When severe or even slight flooding occurs it can put you and your family at risk. It’s important for you to take caution when walking or driving during a flood alert and know what you can do to avoid disaster.
Little Known Flood Facts
Make sure to avoid areas that are susceptible to flooding including low-lying streets, areas around bodies of water, and around clogged drainage systems. Never attempt to walk or drive through a water-covered roadway no matter how shallow it may appear. If you’re driving and happen upon a flooded area you’ll want to find an alternative route, even if it adds time to your drive.
If you attempt to drive through a flooded area your vehicle is likely to stall and get stuck in the water. If the force of the current is strong and if the water level is high enough to float your car, it may start to drift away. Once off the road, vehicles often start to roll, making escape difficult to impossible. A large number of flood-related deaths are a result of people trying to drive through flooded areas.
Our Advice to St. Louis Residents – Flood Warning For St. Louis
If you currently live or plan on purchasing a home in a flood zone, make sure that you look into flood insurance. Your normal homeowner’s insurance won’t cover the cost of damage for flooding. We’d be more than happy to answer any of your flood-related questions or talk with you about what you can do as a current or future homeowner to make sure you’re prepared for a flooding hazard.