Austin TADD poster contest winners (Photo: WFO Austin/San Antonio)
(March 24, 2011) - The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Austin held a news conference to kick off Flood Safety Awareness Week (March 14-19).
While the primary goal of the conference was to promote awareness of the hazards of flash floods, it also provided an excellent opportunity to announce the winners of Austin's 2011 Turn Around Don't Drown® (TADD) poster contest.
The winning youngsters were given a swift water rescue boat ride and viewed a demonstration of a helicopter swift water rescue.
The National Weather Service Southern Region launched the TADD program with the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) and other partners in 2003. Its purpose was to enhance public awareness of the dangers of driving or walking into flooded areas.
While the statistics may vary from year to year, the current 30 year annual average for flood-related deaths in the United States is 99.
That average is based on deaths observed between 1980 and 2009. Approximately 80 percent of those deaths occur when people drive or walk into moving water.
Austin also announced plans to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 1981 Austin Memorial Day flood on May 24, 2011. The City of Austin has created a website (www.austinfloods.org) where people are encouraged to share their stories and photos. The Memorial Day flood is considered by locals as the flood that "changed" Austin forever.