MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - On the heels of the 2015 floods and Hurricane Matthew's flooding rains, the year 2017 saw our first bout with heavy rain and flash flooding Monday (April 24).
National Weather Service Meteorologist Steve Pfaff explains why these flooding disasters are striking more often over the past 20 years.
"At least FOUR 500 to 1,000 year flooding events. realized the ramp as far as catastrophic weather events. Certain weather patterns coming together more frequently than they were a couple decades ago."
With an ever changing landscape of new developments and land usage, it's getting trickier to track the impacts of heavy rain events
"Areas change, what's been built on it, are we taking away areas where the rain can soak and infiltrate in swampland, it's always going to change and we try and remedy and build ditches and drainage ponds," says Pfaff.
Nothing is fully flood-proof.
"Ultimately we will get to situations where the rain is so intense that it turns directly into run off."
While homes and properties see the most physical damage, it's the damage in vehicles that can prove to be the most costly.
"We're seeing a large number of events most of the fatalities are people driving into flooded areas. There's very little respect for power of flowing water," according to Pfaff
And flood waters can easily gain control of the wheel.
"Only takes six inches of flowing water to push a car and move the wheel and wheel wells and gets pushed off into a dangerous situation. The most important thing is turn around don't drown," Pfaff explains.
Half of all flooding deaths occur in cars according to the National Weather Service. Being aware, can help you prepare, but planning for flooding is an ever changing process.
"Each disaster is different in its own way and brings things that we don't plan for. So it's easy to plan for things we've come across, but it's difficult to imagine what something 3 times worse than that could be," Pfaff states.
Flooding Resources Before, During and After: https://www.ready.gov/floods