|Flood Safety Awareness for the RGV
2014 marks the 10th Anniversary of the successful Turn Around, Don’t Drown® (TADD) campaign! The effort, which helps society become more aware of the dangers of driving over flooded roads or walking in flooded areas, was founded in the Rio Grande Valley! At a brainstorming session with the Harlingen Fire Department, NWS Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley Warning Coordination Meteorologist Hector Guerrero asked them to consider a flood safety slogan similar to the commonly understood "Stop, Drop, and Roll" phrase, which people can follow if they catch on fire. The winning choice was "Turn Around, Don’t Drown!"; the rest is history.
Too many people die due to misjudging the power of moving water or their ability to navigate flooded areas. Flooding can happen rapidly due to isolated thunderstorm rains, or slowly due to rainfall events that impact a large area. When a Flash Flood Warning is issued by the National Weather Service, motorists and pedestrians should stay at home or work if possible. It only takes six inches of water for a vehicle to lose contact with the road surface, and most vehicles can be swept away in 18 to 24 inches of water. Sadly, many deaths could have been prevented by simply turning around. A canceled, delayed or rerouted trip is worth the time and effort. In 2010, one life was lost in early August during the Rio Grande Flood when a young man drove into the high water flowing through the Lower Rio Grande Flood Control Project (floodway).
On August 18th 2008, an area of slow moving thunderstorms produced 8 to 10 inches of rainfall near Roma, texas in Starr county. The heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding in the city of Roma, as well as in Garceño and Escobares. Flooding in the more urban areas was followed with flash flooding as several arroyos in the area filled rapidly with water and spilled into the already flooded towns. Numerous local roads and main streets were closed due to the heavy rains. U.S. Highway 83 was reduced to two lanes between Roma and Rio Grande City for most of the day, and when the Arroyo Quiote flooded, the highway had to be closed entirely as almost 3 feet of water covered the roadway.
Remember, it only takes six inches of water for a vehicle to lose contact with the road surface, and most vehicles can be swept away in just 18 to 24 inches of water! Some items to consider to increase your flood safety:
Finally, remain alert to the latest information from the National Weather Service by monitoring NOAA Weather Radio, our website, or your favorite local radio or television broadcast. Remember, if any type of flood related warning is in effect, consider postponing travel that could put you and your family in danger!
Stay calm if you encounter flooded roads. Your life is worth more than impatience.
Turn Around...Don’t Drown ® is a joint effort between the National Weather Service and the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.
Information about TADD can be found at
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