NWS Flood Products: Ready, Set, Go!

Ready, Set, Go: This is the mindset we want people to be in when it comes to being prepared for any type of weather related hazard.

Ready: At this stage, the National Weather Service sees something on the horizon that may end up being a widespread flood event in the future. The Probabilistic Hydrologic Outlook will be issued by the local NWS office if there is a 30-50% chance of flooding and/or where more detail is deemed necessary than what is stated in the Hazardous Weather Outlook. Flood potential is included in the Hazardous Weather Outlook when there is a 30 % or greater chance of hazardous flooding in the 1 to 7 day time frame.

Set: In this stage, we are confident that flooding will occur, but are not sure of the exact timing, location, or impact of the event. Usually, a Flood Watch for the affected area will be issued at this time. 

Go: When we hit this stage, we are confident that a flood is occurring and action should be taken to protect life and property. At this step, your local NWS office will issue a Flood Warning, Flash Flood Warning, or Flood Advisory.

·         A Flood Warning is issued when a river or body of water has reached flood stage and is expected to impact or is already adversely impacting life and property.

·         A Flash Flood Warning is issued when fast-flowing water of at least 6 inches in depth is impacting or expected to impact an area.

·         A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to reach warning criteria but could cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

Using the “Ready, Set, Go” concept, the National Weather Service strives to issue products in the outlook, watch, warning order. Since the possibility for flooding as stated in Hazardous Weather Outlooks, Hydrologic Outlooks, and/or Flood Watches is lower than for Flood and Flash Flood Warnings and Advisories, it is not certain that a warning or advisory will always follow an outlook and/or a watch.



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