A Deadly Respect-2004
CORSICANA DAILY SUN
By LOYD COOK/Daily Sun Staff
With the tragic events that occurred last weekend, the
issue of high-water flooding on roadways has been brought painfully to
Bill Bunting, meteorologist in charge for the Fort
Worth office of the National Weather Service,
said that the presence of high-accumulation rainfall doesn't get the
respect it deserves: A deadly respect.
need to be told twice to not drive in front of a tornado," Bunting
said Monday. "But in this country, twice as many people die from
flash flooding as in
tornadoes. We need to give it it's due
Two toddlers and a 33-year-old man died Saturday, victims
of two separate flood-related accidents after vicious thunderstorms popped
up over Corsicana in the early
There are some telling facts about the hazards of sudden,
rising water levels: Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle-related,
the majority of the victims are males, and flood deaths affect all age
Flash floods can roll boulders, rip up trees, take down
buildings and bridges, and make their own channels. And, in hilly areas,
flash flooding can trigger large mudslides.
People get used to driving through standing water on roadways
during the typical thunderstorm seasons, Bunting said, especially in Texas which
is notorious for severe weather.
"You get a comfort level because of that, 'I've done
this before' ... and we get caught off guard," he said. Bunting said
that two feet of rapidly flowing water is the equivalent of "a 500-pound
hammer hitting the side of your vehicle."
For the past year, the National Weather Service has been
promoting its "Turn Around Don't Drown®" program in an
attempt to stem the tide of flood-related fatalities.
The effort focuses on having the public learn to better
inform themselves during severe weather incidents, to avoid areas more
prone to flooding and to be especially cautious at night when it is more
difficult to identify the problem.
"Cautious" is always the key word, Bunting said.
"If there's any doubt on your mind about that water
up ahead -- stop," he said. "Let the water recede or find another
way to get where you're going."