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Understanding the Power of Flash Floods in Iowa

Many people would concur that climate change is happening all across the country. Media reports of devastation due to increased frequency in hurricanes, snowfall, rain and flash-flooding are continuously broadcasted. Iowa is certainly not immune to these weather conditions. The state has experienced its fair share of flooding as a result of major storms. Due to the powerful nature of flash floods and their ability to strike on short notice, drivers should take note of a few safety tips to avoid motor vehicle accidents Iowa.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency-the federal agency commonly known as FEMA that responds to natural disast

Last month, several thunderstorms produced torrential rains throughout the state, dropping off as much as five inches of rain in some areas. The excessive runoff that resulted forced the Iowa Transportation Department to shutdown Iowa Highway 92 in Mahaska County. Highway 5 near Hartford was also closed early last month due to heavy rainfall.

Only a few weeks ago, the National Weather Service in Des Moines, Iowa, issued a flash flood warning for both Cerro Gordo and Southern Worth Counties after rainfall estimates of up to 4.5 inches in a few hours were predicted to hit the area.

Many people underestimate the powerful effects of standing water on roadways, particularly if it strikes unexpectedly. (Some flash floods occur even if it isn't raining.) A mere 6 inches of fast-moving water can knock a person to the ground. It only takes two feet of water to easily float a large car. Unfortunately, many drivers still attempt to get behind the wheel and drive through water-logged roads because they miscalculate or unaware of the dangers. This leads to auto accidents and fatalities. Approximately 80 percent of flood deaths are reported to occur in vehicles.

Progressive auto insurance recommends drivers follow a few safety tips if caught driving in a flood.

  • Be mindful of barricades. A barricade is a structure set up across a road surface to create a barrier or block the passage of water. Transportation officials set up barricades on roads that they deem particularly hazardous. Drivers should never drive past a barricade if they see one.
  • Avoid roads with standing water. Drivers should avoid driving on roads with standing water; roads become potentially hazardous because they can collapse under the weight of the water. Additionally, drivers attempting to travel on roads with standing water will most likely stall causing the driver to become stranded. Drivers should also avoid parking lots with standing water as well.
  • Remain extra cautious if forced to navigate across waterlogged roads. In some cases, drivers are hit with flash flooding unexpectedly or need to pass through a flooded route because there is no reasonable alternate route available. If this is the case, drivers need to be extra vigilant. Individuals should drive very slow, remain alert for potential items traveling downstream that can trap or crush a vehicle, and never talk on the phone or use a mobile device while driving. If the vehicle gets stuck, drivers should immediately exit the car, seek higher ground and flag down nearby automobiles or call 911 for assistance.

Source: http://www.kcci.com/r/28231438/detail.html

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