Saturday, August 10, 2013

Turn Around, Don't Drown!

With the many, many areas of flooding around the nation the last week, I'm reposting this:

Turn Around, Don't Drown has been used by the National Weather Service for years to highlight the #1 danger in flash flooding and the easy way to prevent yourself from becoming a statistic.

As you know, 17 were killed by the May 31st  tornadoes near El Reno, Oklahoma. Storm chaser Chris Novy almost became a flood victim.

People so often do not realize how quickly their world can collapse: Perfectly safe to mortal danger. This video illustrates the point perfectly. Since it is the height of flash flood season in the U.S., I'm posting it a third time to remind everyone.


Chris says had his car not buckled and the window broken he never would have been able to get out. I'll let him pick it up in his own words.

Published on Jun 2, 2013
This is a view from my D-TEG dashcam. I approached a flooded road and made a quick U-turn rather than driving [all the way] into the water. This was a naturally smart move. Unfortunately my turn resulted in me plunging off a hidden embankment and splashing nose-first right into a swollen creek where I sunk straight to the bottom, I traveled several hundred feet underwater with the car quickly filling up. At one point I was completely surrounded by water and just holding my breath in the darkness. Somehow the driver-side and passenger-side windows broke and I was flushed from the vehicle. I surfaced after a bit and found myself racing down the creek. A cop called out to me and I was able to swim to him and his life-saving grab.

Analysis:
It probably would have been best for the police car (seen right before my turn) to have completely blocked the road the emergency lights on. As it was, the scene seemed like just a water hazard but probably should have been clearly marked as a no-go zone.

I should have come to a complete stop and taken more time to evaluate the situation. Ideally I should have just put it into reverse and slowly backed out. I took a dangerous situation and made it even worse leaping before I looked.

Lessons learned:
Turn around, don't drown!

Chris also posted this photo on Facebook which shows the drainage area his car floated into and sunk.

PLEASE: TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN.

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