Turn Around, Don't Drown Signs Made in Austin Schools
By Larry Eblen, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, WFO Austin/San
city of Austin, TX, has always been a leader in the area of public safety
and they are particularly concerned about flooding and flash flooding.
In spite of a series of dams constructed northwest of the city, they lost
more than a dozen citizens in the devastating Shoal Creek Flood of 1981.
That has always stayed in their memory.
In 2006, Austin brought together a committee representing a dozen city
agencies, lead by their Office of Emergency Management, and including the
National Weather Service, to plan a local response to the NWS's Flood Safety
Awareness Week. They arranged a presentation before the Austin City Council
during that Awareness Week in March and a Flood Safety Awareness Proclamation
by the mayor.”
A Flood Safety Poster Contest was featured during a second week of safety
promotions in late May. The flood safety posters were accepted in three
age groups, ages 6 through 8, ages 9 through 11 and ages 12 through 13.
They were submitted on 8 1/2 X 11 inch paper with a variety of media,
such as watercolor, pen and ink, crayon, chalk, markers, etc. They were
judged on having a clear message and relevance to the theme "Turn
Around – Don't Drown" as well as on creativity, originality and artistic
quality. There were 90 entries in the younger group, 45 entries in the
middle group and 9 entries in the older group.
Each of the winners received a check for $75 from the local
newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman. They also got a ride on a Swift
Water Rescue Boat, received an official NWS 11-inch rain gage and a
were given a private tour of the National Weather Service office
in New Braunfels. Finally, the winning posters were displayed in a number
of city offices, including the Office of Emergency Management, and featured
in the 2007 version of the city's annual Safety
In addition, the 25th anniversary of the infamous Shoal Creek Flood was
highlighted by the Flood Safety Committee by holding a press conference
at the flood site. The program was emceed by the National Weather Service
and featured a number of speakers who recounted the events of that flood.
Speakers included home owners, shop-keepers, and fire-and-rescue personnel.
Their stories were devastating and dramatic and really took the audience
back to that terrible flood.