According to the National Weather Service, there will be thunderstorms with very heavy rain this afternoon through tonight.

Numerous showers and thunderstorms are expected this afternoon and tonight across southwest Virginia, northwest North Carolina and southeast West Virginia. Many locations in this area were saturated from previous rainfall. Rainfall rates with the storms today and tonight may produce rapid runoff and flash flooding, especially in the mountains and foothills of northwest North Carolina.

The National Weather Service in Blacksburg has issued a Flash Flood Watch for portions of North Carolina, Virginia, and southeast West Virginia, including the following areas, in North Carolina, Alleghany NC, Ashe, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yadkin. In Virginia, Bedford, Bland, Botetourt, Campbell, Carroll, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Grayson, Henry, Montgomery, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Pulaski, Roanoke, Smyth, Tazewell, and Wythe. In southeast West Virginia and Mercer from noon EDT today through late tonight

Rainfall rates up to four inches per hour are possible. This may result in flash flooding, especially in locations that have saturated ground due to the rain on Monday and Monday night.

Roads associated with low water crossings, poor drainage areas and developed urban centers may quickly become inundated with water and impassible. Small streams and creeks may rapidly rise and overflow their banks causing flooding of roads.

Recommended actions in a flash flood watch mean that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

Remember...TURN AROUND...DON`T DROWN! You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

Tips include building an emergency kit and make a family communications plan; elevating the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk; consider installing "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home; if feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.

During a flood be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move; if you must prepare to evacuate.

You should Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.

Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.

If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:

Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.

Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening conditions.

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