You’ve probably sat at home before, watching as it pours outside, and seen a notification somewhere warning you of flash flooding. Flash flooding occurs when an area receives too much rain in a short period of time, and the environment doesn’t have enough time to get rid of all the water. Consequently, rivers, drainage systems, and other areas where water collects tend to overflow rapidly. Often, this water will move onto roadways, making travel extremely dangerous. Sometimes it’s hard to tell how deep this water is, and people will try to drive through it, but end up getting stuck or washed away by fast moving currents. This is why forecasters will tell you to avoid these flooded roadways, and find an alternate route. Thus, the saying “turn around, don’t drown” comes in. If you aren’t sure about how deep water is, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and you should just turn around and find another way.
How dangerous is water? Water weighs 62.4 pounds per cubic foot, and can flow anywhere between 6 and 12 miles per hour. When a vehicle gets stuck in water, the momentum is transferred to the vehicle, meaning the water moves the vehicle with it. As the water rises, 500 pounds of force per foot is applied to the vehicle, and the vehicle displaces 1,500 pounds of water. This makes driving in deep water (2 or more feet) extremely dangerous, as the water can easily carry away most vehicles.
So, turn around, don’t drown. If you’re not sure how deep the water is, just drive somewhere else. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
©2020 Weather Forecaster Sarah Cobern
To learn more about weather safety, visit https://www.globalweatherclimatecenter.com/weather-safety-educational-topics