Why you should always be prepared for flooding in the Ozarks

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Here in the Ozarks, we may not be expecting impacts from Florence, but that still doesn't mean that you should let your guard down for flooding.

Megan Terry is a meteorologist and service hydrologist for the National Weather service. She said, "We get flooding all times of the year, so when we get storms, there is a chance that we're going to have some flooding."

To demonstrate the power that flooding can have, Terry and uses a model.

"We're going to simulate about an inch of rainfall per hour, 1-2 inches per hour. We know with parking lots, there's a lot of concrete and it doesn't absorb very much water. So, a lot of that rainfall is going to run off into your river basin. And so we can see here, as it comes in, the water level is going to rise in your river. I've also simulated a low water crossing here to demonstrate how quickly that will flood," Terry said.

The layout of your neighborhood and any debris that builds up from trees after a storm can change where the water rises the highest..and fastest. But the thing that makes us most prone to flooding in the Ozarks is our location.

"We have a combination of rocky and rugged terrain, and numerous head water basins, which are small basins and the water runs off very rapidly and causes flash flooding. We also have low water crossings, which are basically roads that go through dry creek beds. Most of the time, those are fine, but after heavy rainfall those will flood. And also, we have direct access to Gulf of Mexico moisture often with storms coming in," Terry said.

One of the best ways that you can prepare for flooding is just to know the area where you live, and if you do have to travel during a flood, remember that saying: "Turn around, don't drown."

The National Weather Service office in Springfield has also been helping to improve the accuracy of forecasts for Florence by doing extra weather balloon launches.