TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN®
TADD Success Stories
Turn Around Don't Drown
Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard.
Why? The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur
in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many
people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.
Whether you are driving or walking, if you come to a flooded road, Turn Around Don't Drown. You will not know the depth of the water nor will you
know the condition of the road under the water.
Follow these safety rules:
- Monitor the NOAA Weather Radio, or your favorite news source for vital weather related
- If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This
includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes etc.
- Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to
cross flowing streams. Turn Around Don't
- Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways. Turn Around Don't Drown If your vehicle is suddenly
caught in rising water, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
Except for heat related fatalities, more deaths occur from flooding than any other hazard. Why?
Most people fail to realize the power of water. For example, six inches of fast-moving flood water
can knock you off your feet.
While the number of fatalities can vary dramatically with weather conditions from year to year,
the national 30-year average (1977-2006) for flood deaths is 99. That compares with a 30-year
average of 61 deaths for lightning, 54 for tornadoes and 49 for hurricanes.
National Weather Service data also shows:
- Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle-related,
- The majority of victims are males, and
- Flood deaths affect all age groups.
Most flash floods are caused by slow moving thunderstorms, thunderstorms that move repeatedly
over the same area or heavy rains from tropical storms and hurricanes. These floods can develop
within minutes or hours depending on the intensity and duration of the rain, the topography, soil
conditions and ground cover.
Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new
channels. Rapidly rising water can reach heights of 30 feet or more. Furthermore, flash
flood-producing rains can also trigger catastrophic mud slides.
Occasionally, floating debris or ice can accumulate at a natural or man-made obstruction and
restrict the flow of water. Water held back by the ice jam or debris dam can cause flooding
upstream. Subsequent flash flooding can occur downstream if the obstruction should suddenly release.
More information can be obtained at the Southern Region
Flood Hazards Page.
Turn Around Don't Drown Outreach Materials in
You are authorized and encouraged to reproduce these outreach
materials for distribution through schools, community organizations, government agencies, and
Turn Around Don't Drown Partners with the National Weather Service and
The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.
BACK: NWS Southern