Turn around, don’t drown

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As the region gets hit with some drenching rain, we thought it would be a good time for a reminder about flood safety. 

According to the National Weather Service, more people die from flooding than from “any other thunderstorm related hazard.” And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than half of all those drownings happen after a vehicle is driven into flood waters.

Image courtesy NWS.

Walking near or into flood waters is next on the list of storm-related deaths. 

It happens because people underestimate the force of moving water. Yet a shallow stream — or flood — can pick a tremendous punch. According to the NWS, “It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feetof rushing water can carry away most vehicles.” That means cars, trucks, and SUVs. You may think a large vehicle’s size, weight and all-wheel-drive capabilities make it invincible, but there are plenty of YouTube videos that can show you otherwise.

If a road is barricaded, don’t drive around them and try to make it anyway. Even if you could make it through the water, there may be road damage you can’t see — such as washouts underneath that could cause the road to collapse.

If there’s a high volume of water moving across a road, and you can’t judge whether it’s safe, back up and find an alternate route. And if you’re walking, remember that just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down.

It is never safe to drive or walk through flood waters. Turn around, don’t drown.