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Explainer: Five flooding myths

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 5:41 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - With the Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agencies and the National Weather Service joining forces to declare this week Flood Safety Preparedness Week, it’s likely a good idea to get some myths out of the way.

Myth 1: Flash flooding can only occur on flowing streams. Not really, according to NOAA. Flash floods can happen along dry creeks or river beds. They can also occur in cities where streams are not present.

Myth 2: Homeowner’s insurance covers flood damage. Nope. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t find out that their flood damage isn’t covered in a basic policy until flooding takes place, according to FEMA. Homeowners and renters should talk to their insurance agent to see what works best for them.

Myth 3: Large and heavy vehicles are safe to drive through flood water. Water weighs more and has more force that some would think. Just a gallon of water weighs a little over 8 pounds. Imagine the weight of hundreds or thousands of gallons of water.

Two feet of water can float most vehicles - including trucks and SUVs - according to NOAA. Enough water can push (and has pushed) a school bus, which can weigh around 21,000 pounds. If flood water can move a bus, it can move most vehicles. Important note: A driver can not know how deep the water may be until it’s too late.

Myth 4: It’s okay to walk through flood water. Not really. There could be nails and broken board on the ground in the flood water where someone may not be able to see it. There may also be leaks from household chemicals, gasoline, and waste from malfunctioning sewer lines or septic tanks, according to the CDC.

There could also be snakes, rodents, and floating ant colonies. No thanks.

Myth 5: A 100-year flood means a home will flood only once every 100 years. Not quite. It really means that there is a 1% chance of a property being inundated in any given year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That means the odds of a home flooding once during a 30-year period are really at 26%, according to FiveThirtyEight.

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