|Every March, the National Weather Service runs its Flood Safety Awareness Week. The key phrase we use during that week is Turn Around Don't Drown®. The point is, no matter how confident you are about the depth of water across a roadway, don't drive through it. Sometimes, there's a need for a reminder: after a storm dumped between 3 and 4 inches of rain in a short period of time on September 20th, flash flooding occurred. So did this:
Why is Turn Around Don't Drown® So Important?
Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters.Why? The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.
What Can I Do to Avoid Getting Caught is This Situation?
Most flood-related deaths and injuries could be avoided if people who come upon areas covered with water followed this simple advice: Turn Around Don't Drown®.
The reason that so many people drown during flooding is because few of them realize the incredible power of water. A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles. This includes pickups and SUVs.
If you come to an area that is covered with water, you will not know the depth of the water or the condition of the ground under the water. This is especially true at night, when your vision is more limited.
Play it smart, play it safe. Whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded road, Turn Around Don't Drown®
Follow these safety rules:
- Monitor the NOAA Weather Radio, or your favorite news source for vital weather related information.
- If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes etc.
- Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Turn Around Don't Drown®
- Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways. Turn Around Don't Drown®
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.