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Watch out for flooding

Staff report
With the possibility that 3 inches of rain could fall on the area by late this morning, the National Weather Service has issued a flood watch through the afternoon for Rowan and Cabarrus counties.
Rain began falling toward the end of an overcast Wednesday, and the Weather Service predicted storms that could produce heavy rainfall would move through the area overnight.
With soil already moist from recent rains, the new precipitation could cause significant runoff into streams and creeks, potentially swelling those waterways from those banks.
The Weather Service recommends that during a flood watch people be alert for possible flood warnings, and those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding occur.
The N.C. Department of Transportation reminds motorists that heavy rains and rushing water can create hazardous driving conditions, which increase the likelihood of an accident.
The best ways to stay safe during this type of weather are to drive defensively and stay alert, the state agency says. No matter what kind of vehicle you drive, never drive through standing or rushing water.
Here are more tips from the Transportation Department:
Avoid driving through flooded areas, even if they seem shallow. Just 1 foot of water can float many vehicles, while 2 feet of rushing water can lift SUVs and pickups;
After driving through a puddle, tap your brake pedal to help dry your brake rotors;
If your car starts to hydroplane, take your foot off the gas, apply the brakes in a steady, slightly firm manner without stomping and steer in the direction of the skid. If you have a manual transmission, push in the clutch and let the car slow down on its own;
If the rain is extremely heavy, pull over in a safe area in a parking lot or on the roadside with your emergency flashers on, away from any trees or tall objects, and wait for the weather to improve;
Allow more travel time;
Turn on your low-beam headlights and use the defroster to increase visibility;
If possible, stay in the middle lane where the road tends to be higher;
Reduce your speed by at least five to 10 miles per hour and allow at least twice the normal following distance;
Signal for turns ahead of time and brake early as you near a stop. Remember, roads are slickest in the first 10 to 15 minutes, especially if it has not rained for a while; and
If a traffic signal is knocked out by a storm, regard the intersection as a four-way stop. If two or more vehicles arrive at the same time, the car to the right has the right of way and after signaling, may move in any direction. If two facing vehicles approach the intersection at the same time, any car traveling straight ahead or turning right has the right of way.

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