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Community: Safety Tips For Driving During High Water Conditions

With the heavy springtime rainfall the state is receiving there is the possibility of high water and flash flooding on rural highways in some areas. Flash flooding can occur even after just a few minutes of heavy rainfall. The Indiana State Police offers the following flood safety tips.

•Always carry a cell phone and charger.
•Pay attention to local media reports and heed warnings issued by the National Weather Service.
•Never drive around barricades at water crossings.
•Be especially careful at night and early morning as it can be difficult to see water and it’s depth across the roadway.
•Reduce your speed in rain and NEVER enter flowing water. Driving through water creates less tire contact with the road surface (hydroplaning) and increases your chance of crashing.
•Driving through water affects your brakes reducing their effectiveness until they dry out.
•If you end up in water, immediately abandon your vehicle, exit through a window and climb on top of your car. Call 9-1-1 from there and wait for help to arrive. Ride the top like a boat, as vehicles will often float for several minutes.
•Be aware that road erosion can occur anytime there is running or standing water on a roadway.
•Remember it only takes six inches of water to reach the bottoms of most car doors and one foot of water to float most vehicles.

If you find yourself stranded in water, act fast. Get yourself and everyone in your vehicle out of their seatbelt and out a window onto the roof of the car. Remember; call 9-1-1 AFTER you reach the top of your vehicle. Indiana State Police divers advise to only swim for it if you absolutely have to, and don’t swim against the current. Make sure you’re a survivor, NOT a victim.

 


 

 

Make a plan at home or work for severe weather

The National Weather Service uses the words "watches" and "warnings" to alert you to potentially dangerous weather. Knowing the difference between the two can be a life saver.

Weather watches

A watch means conditions are right for dangerous weather. In other words, a "watch" means watch out for what the weather could do, be ready to act.

  • For events that come and go quickly, such as severe thunderstorms, tornadoes or flash floods, a watch means that the odds are good for the dangerous weather, but it's not yet happening.
  • For longer-lived events, such as hurricanes or winter storms, a watch means that the storm isn't an immediate threat.
  • For either kind of event, a watch means you should keep up with the weather and be ready to act.

When a severe thunderstorm, tornado or flash flood watch is in effect, it means you should watch the sky for signs of dangerous weather. Sometimes a severe thunderstorm, a tornado or a flash flood happens so quickly that warnings can't be issued in time. Many areas don't have civil-defense sirens or other warning methods. People who live near streams that quickly reach flood levels should be ready to flee at the first signs of a flash flood.

Hurricane or winter storm watches mean it's time to prepare by stocking up on emergency supplies and making sure you know what to do if a warning is issued. For those who live near the ocean, a hurricane watch may mean it's time to prepare for evacuation.

Weather warnings

A warning means that the dangerous weather is threatening the area.

For severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flash floods, a warning means the event is occurring. Since tornadoes are small - a half-mile wide tornado is considered huge - a tornado will miss many more buildings that it hits in the area warned.

Still, a tornado warning means be ready to take shelter immediately if there are any indications a tornado is approaching. Severe thunderstorms are larger, maybe 10 or 15 miles across.

A hurricane warning means either evacuate or move to safe shelter.

A winter storm warning means it's not safe to venture out. If traveling, head for the nearest shelter.

How alerts are issued

Before watches and warnings are issued, the National Weather Service, private forecasters, newspapers, radio and television normally try to alert the public to potential weather dangers.

Often, forecasters begin issuing bulletins on hurricanes and winter storms three or four days before the storm hits.

But forecasters can't issue alerts for the danger of severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flash floods that far ahead. Usually, the Storm Prediction Center sends out alerts the day before dangerous weather is likely. Most television weathercasters highlight these alerts on the evening news the day before threatening weather.

Weather radio

A weather radio is one of the best ways to stay tuned-in to dangerous weather. These radios receive broadcasts from the National Weather Service. The broadcasts are from weather service offices.

Broadcasts include ordinary forecasts of several kinds, including for boating, farming, traveling and outdoor recreation as well as general forecasts for the area.

The stations immediately broadcast all watches and warnings. Some weather radios have a feature that turn on the radio automatically when a watch or warning is broadcast. Such "tone alert" weather radios are highly recommended for places where large numbers of people could be endangered by tornadoes or flash floods. These include schools, nursing homes, shopping center security offices, hospitals, and recreation areas such as swimming pools.