The National Weather Service has declared March 16 through March 22 as Flood Safety Awareness Week. The National Weather Service in Jackson will feature a different educational topic each day during the awareness week.
Today's Topic:Turn Around Don't Drown
Turn Around, Don't Drown, or TADD for short, is the National Weather Service campaign used to educate people about the hazards of walking or driving a vehicle through flood waters.
It floods somewhere in the United States or its territories nearly every day of the year. Flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other weather related event, with an average of eight billion dollars a year in the past thirty years. In addition, flooding is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the United States, claiming on average 89 lives per year. Most of these deaths occur in motor vehicles when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways. Many other lives are lost when people walk into or near flood waters. This happens because people underestimate the force and power of water, especially when it is moving. The good news is these types of deaths and related injuries are preventable with the right knowledge.
Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult. It only takes twelve to eighteen inches of flowing water to carry away most vehicles including large SUVs. If you come to an area that is covered with water, you will likely 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 limited. Play it smart, play it safe. Whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded road, walkway, or path, follow this simple rule: Turn around, Don't drown!
Here are a few more tips to keep you safe during a flood:
- Always plan ahead and know the risks before flooding happens.
- Monitor NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards and/or your favorite news source for vital weather-related information before, during, and after any disaster including flooding.
- If flooding is expected or is occurring, get to higher ground fast! Leave typical flood areas such as canyons, ditches, ravines, dips, or low spots.
- Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Turn around, Don't Drown!
- Never drive through flooded roadways. Road beds may be washed out under murky flood waters. 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.
- Never cross any barriers that are put in place by emergency officials. Not only is this dangerous, but many states and communities have laws against it and levy steep fines and points against driving records for people that ignore barricades or other road closure indicators. Always play it safe, Turn Around Don't Drown!
Road closure signs may be present when flooded waters cover the road. These were all road closures during
floods in 2011: flooded waters from the Mississippi River flood (left), during the Tallahala Creek flood (center), and
during Tropical Storm Lee (right).
Important NWS flood websites:
National Weather Service Partners:
- FEMA: http://www.fema.gov/
- Safety Information: http://www.ready.gov/
- Safety Kit Assembly: http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit/
- Property Protection and Flood Insurance: http://www.floodsmart.gov/
- FEMA Flood Map Center: http://www.msc.fema.gov/