Catastrophic events are violent flash floods that extraordinarily threaten lives and cause disastrous damage. The agency issues more than 4,000 flash flood warnings each year and they all trigger a Wireless Emergency Alert on enabled cell phones, regardless of the severity of the event. Here are the differences you need to know the next time a heavy rainfall is in the weather forecast for your area. Always check weather.gov for official National Weather Service forecasts, watches and warnings. Warnings with a damage threat tag of either “considerable” or “catastrophic” will trigger a wireless alert. In December, after all NWS forecast offices are issuing flash flood warnings in the new format, wireless alerts will only be sent for flash flood warnings where a life-threatening flood event is occurring and urgent action is needed. Considerable flood events are significantly life-threatening and may cause substantial damage to property. A flood is very different than a flash flood. Media contactMaureen O'Leary, 301-427-9000, Wireless Emergency Alerts for flash flooding reserved for most life-threatening events, This is the new bulleted format for flash flood warnings with easily readable information, including a description of the flash flood hazard. The format changes being made to flash flood warnings will reduce the number of wireless alerts sent to customers. The agency issues more than 4,000 flash flood warnings each year and they all trigger a Wireless Emergency Alert on enabled cell phones, regardless of the severity of the event. Software installation for the reformatted flash flood warning is underway in nine local National Weather Service (NWS) forecast offices. The new impact-based format will allow for more targeted Wireless Emergency Alerts directed at those who need to take immediate action to preserve life during a flash flood event. Never drive into a flooded roadway, or around a barricade; Turn Around Don’t Drown. A Flash Flood Watch is issued when conditions are more conducive to flooding than a normal day. The remaining offices will implement the new format by late November. “We’re always looking for ways to improve how we communicate a flash flood threat,” said Mary Mullusky, branch chief, National Weather Service Water Resources Services. To better communicate the threat of a flash flood, NOAA’s National Weather Service is moving to a bulleted format for the warnings, with easily readable information, including a description of the flash flood hazard, the source of the information and the hazard impact. The new look builds on the successful reformatting of warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and special marine warnings, and is part of the broader Hazard Simplification Project to improve communication of watches and warnings to the public. This is another step in our effort to build a Weather-Ready Nation.”. We are reserving flash flood wireless alerts for the most life-threatening events.”. (NOAA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, #Zeta: Get the latest forecast, maps, images and more, U.S. Winter Outlook: Cooler North, warmer South with ongoing La Nina. A flash flood warning is issued when flash flooding is imminent or occurring. “In the future, if you receive a flash flood warning wireless alert, you need to take immediate life-saving action. A flash flood warning is issued when flash flooding is imminent or occurring. Flash floods are among nature’s most common and destructive natural hazards. The majority of flash flood deaths in the U.S. occur inside vehicles swept away by high water. Causes of flash flooding include heavy rain, river ice or debris jams, and levee or dam failure. The new tags will help reduce the number of flash flood warning Wireless Emergency Alerts currently distributed. When a Flash Flood Warning is issued for your area, you need to act as quickly as possible. Flash floods generally develop within minutes to hours of the immediate cause and bring a damaging and life-threatening rapid rise of water into a normally dry area. “The changes to our flash flood warnings simplify the text to more clearly tell people what the hazard is and what impacts are expected so they can take appropriate action. A Flash Flood Warning is issued when flooding is likely or is already occurring. “We listened to the public who voiced concern that there were too many flash flood Wireless Emergency Alerts,” Mullusky said. All National Weather Service flash flood warnings will still be issued and distributed via weather.gov, NOAA Weather Radio, Emergency Alert System and through dissemination systems to our emergency managers and partners.