BUCKS COUNTY >> Heavy rain associated with Tropical Storm Fay is expected to overspread New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania through the day on Friday. Widespread amounts of 1 to 4 inches are likely with locally higher amounts possible.
As a result, the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, New Jersey, has issued a Flash Flood Watch through Friday evening.
A Flash Flood Watch means that there is the potential for flash flooding which can be life-threatening. Heavy rain is expected to occur over a short period of time. Rapidly rising flood waters may quickly inundate roadways and areas of poor drainage. Streams and creeks could leave their banks, flooding nearby properties.
AAA reminds motorists that even if you don’t live in an area that typically floods, remain alert when out on the roads and delay driving if at all possible during periods of heavy rain.
“Many motorists view rain storms as more of an inconvenience than a hazard,” said Jana L. Tidwell, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “As a result, drivers tend to be less cautious than they should be. The most important steps to take when driving in wet weather are to buckle up, slow down, and if you see ponding water turn around, don’t drown.”
On Monday, the Philadelphia-area saw flash flooding result in more than 20 water rescues on flooded roads. Some areas saw two to four inches of rain in a matter of minute, sweeping vehicles from dry land into raging flood waters. Rapidly rising flood waters may quickly inundate roadways and areas of poor drainage. Streams and creeks could leave their banks, flooding nearby properties.
AAA Driving Tips:
· Sign up for emergency alerts – alerts are often provided by agencies like the National Weather Service and can help notify you when there is a risk of flooding.
· Turn Around, Don’t Drown! As little as six inches of water can cause you to lose control of your car and potentially stall your engine. Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads. Turn around; find another way to get to your destination. Pull over to a safe location if needed.
· Seek higher ground - If your vehicle stalls or is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately.
· Never drive through standing water - Standing water can be deceiving and motorists should avoid it. No matter how shallow it may appear, water may be concealing downed power lines, be deeper than it appears, or have significant force from flooding, etc.
· Standing water may also be hiding potholes – Another good reason not to drive through it!
· Watch for hydroplaning - No car is immune from hydroplaning on wet surfaces, including four-wheel drive vehicles. Even if brakes work under normal conditions that doesn’t mean they will react the same on slippery roads where tires roll with less traction. Also, turn off cruise control as it can cause hydroplaning.
· Take the nearest exit - If conditions worsen to the point where there is any doubt about your safety, take the nearest exit. Don’t just stop on the shoulder or under a bridge. If your visibility is compromised, other drivers may be struggling too.