Local News

New Campaign Calls Attention To Dangers Of Flooding

Posted June 28, 2004

— Flooding claims more lives than anything else in severe weather. In Hurricanes Fran and Floyd alone, 47 people died as a result of flooding. Emergency workers said most drivers underestimate the killing power of flowing flood waters and that is what has them so concerned.

"Turn Around, Don't Drown" is the message from the National Weather Service. With flooding fatalities on the rise, it is urging people to think twice.

"The purpose is to really make people aware of how little water it takes to carry their vehicles away," said warning coordinator Jeff Orrock.

Orrock said just 6 inches of rapidly moving water can float a vehicle off its wheels. A foot of water can cause a car to float, even flip.

"The water pressure on the side of the car -- about 500 pounds of lateral force is actually pushing both vehicles sideways," he said.

Flooded roads are not just a problem in hurricanes. Creeks can rise in just minutes following a severe thunderstorm. Many times, the flash flooding brings tragic results.

"I think we are being more aggressive," said Sgt. Everett Clendenin, of the state Highway Patrol.

The Highway Patrol is on board with the campaign. It is ready to ticket people who drive around barricades.

"We don't have the manpower to staff all the barricades, so they are going to have to use common sense and realize you could lose your life if you drive around the barricade," Clendenin said.

If you get caught in a flash flood, the National Weather Service said if the water is not flowing, get on top of your vehicle and wait to be rescued. If the water is moving, experts suggest abandoning your vehicle. You should try to climb out a window or door and swim to safety.

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