Flood Awareness Week Reminds of the Dangers of Flood Waters
SAN ANGELO, TX-- Governor Greg Abbott proclaimed this week, the week of May 21, is Flood Awareness Week for the state of Texas.
Members of the San Angelo Police and Fire Departments, as well as the Office of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service, spoke to a crowd about the dangers of rushing flood waters by the Red Arroyo low water crossing on Southwest Blvd. by 7-Eleven on Wednesday.
Police Chief Frank Carter told the crowd that Texas leads the nation in flood related deaths.
“Deaths, for the most part, that are preventable,” Chief Carter went on to say.
These deaths come in the day and age of social media where information can be spread at light speed.
“With social media, those numbers should be dropping,” said SAPD Public Information Officer Tracy Gonzalez. “They’re not.”
The National Weather Service in San Angelo’s Meteorologist-in-charge Dr. Steve Lyons said males from ages 18 to 24 are more likely to drive through a flooded area and be involved in a swift-water rescue.
During times when San Angelo floods, SAPD and the Fire Department get stretched thin handling water rescues on top of normal 911 calls. Some of those water rescues happen after people disregard a barricade set by emergency vehicles.
“Driving around a warning sign or barricade that has been placed because of water is a Class B Misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail,” said Chief Carter. “So please, don’t disregard them. Don’t risk your life or the lives of first responders by driving into hazardous flood water.”
Flood waters present unknown danger just below the surface, with debris likely rushing downstream with the water.
“It only takes 12 to 18 inches of swiftly moving water to float a vehicle,” said Brian Dunn, San Angelo Fire Chief.
The members of the National Weather Service wore blue today to “bring awareness to the dangers of flood waters,” said NWS Hydrologist Katie Dedeaux.
“Look what happened last week in a short period of time,” Dedeaux said, referring to the surge of four feet in the Red Arroyo at Southwest Blvd. “Remember when you come to a flooded road, Turn Around Don’t Drown.”
Flood Awareness Week continues until Friday, May 25.