Flooding facts and safety tips

Saturday, December 01, 2007

  • There have been 80 flash floods in Harris County during the past 15 years, an average of over 5 per year.
  • More people die from flash flooding than from any other weather hazard.
  • Over half of all flood deaths are the result of people driving vehicles into flood waters.
  • It only takes two feet of rushing water to sweep away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks.
  • Six inches of moving water can knock over an adult.
Flash flooding is the number one weather killer because of the decisions people make. The easiest way you can protect yourself in most flooding situations is to simply stay away from the water. The flooding death toll would probably drop by 75% if everyone stopped driving over flooded roads and stopped walking near flooded waterways.

If you're caught on the road during an intense downpour, NEVER attempt to cross a flooded roadway. When murky rain water covers a road, you don't know the depth of the water, how fast the water is moving, or the condition of the road. Flood waters can quickly rise without notice, especially in urban areas. It only takes two feet of moving water to sweep away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks. Find an alternate route. It's better for you to arrive at your destination late than to never arrive at all.

Creeks and bayous that run throughout our neighborhoods can rage like rivers for hours, even days after a major flood. Some people, especially children, are tempted to walk near the flooded waterways to get a closer view after the storms clear. This is a dangerous thing to do. The water can rise rapidly, leaving no time to seek higher ground. One in every four flood deaths is the result of a person drowning after falling into a flooded waterway. Resist the temptation to get close to a flooded area and make sure your children know it is never safe to play near high water.

Many neighborhood roads in southeast Texas are designed to serve as secondary drainage systems when the primary drains become clogged or overwhelmed with water. When heavy thunderstorms are forecast, keep your car parked in the garage or on the driveway. If you park by the curb, your vehicle could flood if heavy rain falls.

(Copyright © 2007, KTRK-TV)

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