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Illinois Flood Safety Awareness Week

Turn Around. Don’t Drown.
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 4:54 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News) - With Spring just around the corner the chance for heavy rain will begin to increase and with that, so will the chance for flooding.

When it comes to weather-related fatalities, flooding lands number 2, just behind extreme heat. Flooding can be quick when heavy rain is moving through an area, this is usually flash flooding. However, it can be predicted if there is widespread rain over several days.

If you are traveling during a flood event and are faced with a washed-out roadway, there is only one thing you can and should do.

“The best thing for you to do is to turn around and that’s because you don’t know what’s lying below that water. The water could have washed away the road. The water could be running and could sweep your car away. So the best thing to do is to just turn around and find an alternative route.” Said Nicole Batzek.

Nicole Batzek is a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Lincoln. She also told us that the amount of rushing water needed to sweep away a vehicle is shockingly little.

“It only takes 12 inches of water to sweep away a small car and then 18 to 24 inches to sweep away kind of a large SUV or truck or a van.” Said Batzek.

The NWS is not the only line of defense when it comes to flooding. County Emergency Management Offices are on the ground when flooding is an immediate threat to life and property.

“We help mitigate plan prepare and we assist communities or wherever they have a flooding event if they need resources we can bring in county and state resources.” Said Kent McCanless, Director of the Woodford County Emergency Management Agency.

The Woodford County Emergency Management Office was on the ground in 2020 during a flood event in Roanoke. They have dozens of sandbags for use during flooding and multiple flood cleaning kits.

Woodford County EMA also has special sirens, similar to tornado sirens, that will alert residents to flooding. However, you must remember the most important point about outdoor alert sirens.

“Just like tornado sirens, the sirens are made to hear outside to go indoors to take shelter.” Said McCanless.

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