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“Areal” flooding – what does it mean?

Posted at 9:09 AM, Apr 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-30 11:09:31-04

Several people have contacted us in recent weeks asking us about the word "areal," wondering if we are incorrectly trying to use the word "aerial" or "area."

The answer: no. The word "areal" is a real word used by the National Weather Service and meteorologists.

The NWS began using the word several years ago, and it generally means the same as the more commonly used “Flood Watch” designation. An "Areal Flood "Watch means there is potential for flooding over a large area. The word “areal” is the adjective version of the noun “area.”

The NWS website states:

An Areal Flood Warning is normally issued for flooding that develops more gradually, usually from prolonged and persistent moderate to heavy rainfall.  This results in a gradual ponding or buildup of water in low-lying, flood prone areas, as well as small creeks and streams. The flooding normally occurs more than six hours after the rainfall begins, and may cover a large area.  However, even though this type of flooding develops more slowly than flash flooding, it can still be a threat to life and property.

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