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Flash Flood vs. Flood: How it’s defined and what you need to know

More than 24 inches of rain fell in 24 hours in Houston, the National Weather Service reported Sunday morning.
More than 24 inches of rain fell in 24 hours in Houston, the National Weather Service reported Sunday morning. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

With hurricane season approaching, KPRC 2 Hurricane Headquarters is here to help Houstonians power through the storms by providing our audience with everything they need to know, starting with terminology.

Here’s what to know about floods and flash flooding:

Flash Flood

Flooding caused by the rapid rise of water in rivers, creeks, other waterways, or urban/developed areas as a result of intense rainfall over a small area. Flash flooding usually happens within minutes to several hours after a heavy rainfall event.

Flash Flood Watch

An announcement issued when conditions are favorable for flash flooding. It does not mean that flash flooding will occur, but it is possible.

Flash Flood Warning

A warning issued when flash flooding is imminent or occurring.

Flood

Overflowing of a stream or other body of water. Or, the accumulation of water over areas that are not normally submerged.

Flood Watch

An announcement issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.

Flood Warning

A warning issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.


More weather terms to know