County receives two flood warning signs

Gretchen Ritchey
Staff Writer

Each year, flooding causes more deaths than any other weather hazard. Many flooding deaths could have been prevented because they occur in motor vehicles when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways. Many other lives are lost when people walk into or near flood waters. This happens because people underestimate the force and power of water, especially when it’s moving, according to National Weather Service.

Arkansas Floodplain Management Association, Inc. (AFMA) has partnered with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Little Rock to provide a limited number of “Turn Around Don’t Drown” signs to communities in Arkansas. “Turn Around Don’t Drown” (or TADD) is a National Weather Service campaign to warn people of the hazards of walking or driving a vehicle through flood waters. Several counties are adopting TADD signs and posting them at locations where flash flooding often leads to water over the roads.

On Monday, April 22, 2019, Denny McPhate, the AFMA Southwest Arkansas Region Representative, and Tabitha Clarke, Senior Service Hydrologist with the NWS in Little Rock presented to Hot Spring County two sets of TADD signs. These signs will be posted in Hot Spring County where the incidence of flooding is high and the onset of flooding is rapid. Signs will be placed at Grigsby Ford Road and Reyburn Creek Road.

Think you vehicle is safe to drive through high water? Many people have the misconception that a heavy vehicle will keep them safe. That is false, according to NWS. Many believe that their 3,000 pound vehicle will stay in contact with the road surface when driving through high water. Considering that your vehicle is nothing more than a vessel — like a ship or boat. Ships float because of buoyancy, and your vehicle will float in high water also. Small motor vehicles can be swept away in 18 to 24 inches of moving water, and trucks and SUVs can tread an additional 6-12 inches of clearance.

The danger of driving through moving water is that your vehicle could be swept downstream. When this happens vehicles often become buoyant enough by the moving water to shift and turn sideways. Often the vehicle will roll on one side or flip over entirely. If a the vehicle flips over the driver only has a few seconds to escape.

The solution to staying alive during flooding waters is to stay away from flooded roadways and “turn around, don’t drown.”