How dangerous can flash flooding be in Middle Tennessee?

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Flooding, especially flash flooding, is the No. 2 weather-related hazard in Middle Tennessee, just behind tornadoes.

Flash flooding is especially dangerous because it combines the destructive power of water with incredible speed and unpredictability.

Here in Middle Tennessee, the type of downpours that can cause flash flooding often occur with summer thunderstorms.

News 2 spoke with Krissy Hurley, who is a warning meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Nashville, about just how dangerous flash flooding can be.

“Well, I think flash flooding is a huge threat here in Middle Tennessee just behind tornadoes,” she said.

Photo: WKRN

According to Hurley terrain can play a factor in flood severity since steep sided hills and mountains can cause quick runoff which leads to quick rising water.

Motorists can also get themselves into a bad situation by driving into floodwater since it is extremely difficult to know how deep the water is and if there is even still a road under the water.

Most flash flooding fatalities occur when vehicles are driven across flooded roads and it only takes as little to six to 10 inches of moving water to float an automobile.

Photo: WKRN

“I think, you know, they don’t, it’s the whole optimism vice. It’s not going to happen to me, it won’t ever happen to me. I’ve driven across roads with water over them many times, I’m still here, and I think that does play a part in the decision making,” Hurley said.

If you do get caught by floodwater, the National Weather Service recommends you get out of your vehicle and try to get to higher ground.

In the last 30 years, there have been 64 flood-related deaths in the state.

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