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Coastal Flood Statement, Advisory, Watch, and Warning Defined

December 3, 2007

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Allison Vegh

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A Coastal Flood Statement is issued to inform the public about current coastal flooding conditions - caused by storms driving water onto the land - along the Atlantic, Pacific, or Gulf Coasts. They are also used to provide updates regarding existing Coastal Flood Watches or Warnings.

A Coastal Flood Advisory is issued when minor flooding - exceeding normal high tide levels - is possible. Flooding during a Coastal Flood Advisory is more of an inconvenience than a danger, but the possibility of a threat or escalation to a Coastal Flood Watch are still present.

A Coastal Flood Watch is issued when flooding with significant effects is possible. A Coastal Flood Watch will usually be issued 12 to 36 hours prior to the event.

A Coastal Flood Warning is issued when flooding that poses a serious threat to life and property is occurring or imminent in the next 12 hours.

Residents living in low-lying areas or close to the coast should listen to local radio and TV stations for continuous updates. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.

Additional tips:

  • Avoid areas known for flooding and head inland toward higher ground.
  • Do not walk through floodwater, 6 inches of fast moving water can sweep you off your feet.
  • Do not drive through flooded areas, 2 feet of water carries away most automobiles.
  • If the car stalls while in the water, abandon the car and find higher ground immediately.

Source: National Weather Service

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