U.S. National Weather Service PSA Video on Turn Around, Don’t Drown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI6mIlHKrVY

If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way. Never try to walk, swim, or drive through such swift water. Most flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water, or people playing in high water. If it is moving swiftly, even water six inches deep can sweep you off your feet. It takes just twelve inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.

What to Do if Your Are Driving During a Flood

Almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles.

~Avoid already flooded areas, and areas subject to sudden flooding. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Most flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water, or people playing in high water. The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped. Rapidly rising water may stall the engine, engulf the vehicle and its occupants, and sweep them away. Look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges, and low areas. Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles.

~If you are driving and come upon rapidly rising waters, turn around and find another route. Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. If your route is blocked by flood waters or barricades, find another route. Barricades are put up by local officials to protect people from unsafe roads. Driving around them can be a serious risk.

~If your vehicle becomes surrounded by water or the engine stalls, and if you can safely get out, abandon your vehicle immediately and climb to higher ground. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles. When a vehicle stalls in the water, the water’s momentum is transferred to the car. The lateral force of a foot of water moving at 10 miles per hour is about 500 pounds on the average automobile. The greatest effect is buoyancy – for every foot that water rises up the side of a car, it displaces 1,500 pounds of the car’s weight. So, two feet of water moving at 10 miles per hour will float virtually any car. Many persons have been swept away by flood waters upon leaving their vehicles, which are later found without much damage. Use caution when abandoning your vehicle, and look for an opportunity to move away quickly and safely to higher ground.

For more information about your flood risk in Tulsa, call the City of Tulsa Customer Care Center at 3-1-1 or 918-596-7777 or visit https://www.cityoftulsa.org/government/departments/engineering-services/floodcontrol/ For more information on the Turn Around, Don’t Drown program, visit the U.S. National Weather Service site at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/water/tadd/

The Disaster Resilience Network shares these monthly key messages from the City of Tulsa Program for Public Information as part of the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System. Such documented outreach assists our community in keeping low flood insurance rates in Tulsa.

Tim Lovell