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What The Heck Is An ‘Areal’ Flood Warning Anyway??

A statue with a sign stands in front of a restaurant after flooding caused by Hurricane Irene damaged the village of  Windham, NY.(Photo by Monika Graff/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An “Areal Flood Watch?” Really CBS? Anyway, you may have noticed use of the word “areal” in the yellow or red bar at the top of cbsnewyork.com during the recent rash of rain.  This prompted some visitors to tell us that we had misspelled the word “areal,” and that it should be “area.”

The National Weather Service adopted the new term several years ago which generally means the same as the more commonly used “Flood Watch” designation. Basically 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.”

There’s no word on why the National Weather Service changed the name of the watch.

The word “areal” refers to an area, which is an expanse of space or a region of land. Not to be confused with “aerial” which means of or relating to the air. If a view existed from the air of a large expanse of land, it would be an aerial areal view; in other words a view of the area from the air. Neither of these should be confused with “Ariel,” the main character of Disney’s 1989 movie The Little Mermaid (The name Ariel is Hebrew in origin and means “Lion of God”) nor with Areal, Rio de Janeiro, a municipality in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro.

And now you know!

P.S. and no kidding:  A FLOOD WARNING MEANS FLOODING IS OCCURRING OR IS IMMINENT. MOST FLOOD RELATED DEATHS OCCUR IN AUTOMOBILES. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS WATER COVERED BRIDGES…DIPS…OR LOW WATER CROSSINGS. NEVER TRY TO CROSS A FLOWING STREAM…EVEN A SMALL ONE…ON FOOT. TO ESCAPE RISING WATER, MOVE UP TO HIGHER GROUND.