Dangers of Flash Floods as Seen Last Night

News

Floods may be one of the most underestimated weather hazards out there, but you would be very surprised by how much trouble a little extra water can cause.

All it took was a quick shot of heavy rainfall sending high water over this asphalt, before a car was taken downstream.  It stranded two passengers and their furry friend in a creek at White Pines Forest State Park.  Campers visiting the area were shocked by how quickly the water levels rose, as some of them had crossed over that same ford earlier in the day.

Chris Sarris, a camper at the park said, “It’s scary, it’s scary thinking that we were out there.  We’ve crossed over a few times actually, so it kind of puts things in perspective that it could’ve been us as well.”

Tony Karrow, the Fire Chief for the Polo Fire District, said the rescue took around an hour and a half, one of the reasons was because the flooded area had water rushing into it as opposed to standing water.  Karrow says the procedures for handling standing water versus rushing water differ greatly, especially with a ford over a creek involved.

Karrow said, “On each side of it, it drops off.  Obviously the downstream side of it is gonna wash out and on a normal day like right now, the flooding’s probably down now I would say, and it’s probably running like 6 to 8 inches.  Last night we were running almost 2 feet over top of it.”

Fortunately, Karrow says that this was only the second time he’s had to rescue someone out of a flash flood situation.  He stresses however the importance of flood safety, that everyone should listen to emergency crews and meteorologists when they talk about the dangers of flooding.

He added, “Don’t drive through flooded areas, especially if it’s fast moving water.  Fast moving water is very powerful.  We wouldn’t drive our fire trucks through it, and look at how big they are.”

Flash floods often are not the first thing that come to mind when people think about severe weather, but in reality floods kill more people each year in the United States than tornadoes.

 

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