Letter to the editor: Be wary of flood dangerLast month we got a surprising reminder that spring will indeed come again this year. Minnesotans are already planning for another big flood year.
Last month we got a surprising reminder that spring will indeed come again this year. Minnesotans are already planning for another big flood year. The good news is that Lake County has no flood plains. The bad news is that means our rivers and streams can flash flood during winter snowmelt or heavy rains, making driving across flooded roads our greatest flood danger.
More than half of all people killed in floods are in vehicles. They make a poor decision to drive across moving water on a road, because the vehicle in front of them makes it or because they think the water doesn’t look too deep.
It only takes 18 inches of water to lift your car or SUV. Once your vehicle is floating; the water will easily push it sideways. Most vehicles then tend to roll over, trapping those inside and washing them downstream.
According to Lake County Highway Engineer Al Goodman, “One of our biggest problems is water oozing out of the woods and freezing in our roadside ditches, reducing capacity and plugging up our culverts.” Even still water sitting on a roadway can soften the roadbed, making it more vulnerable to be washed out when the water rises enough to start flowing across it.
Driving over a road with water flowing over it is unpredictable at best. And driving around barriers blocking a flooded road may cost you your car or your life.
This spring, while you are sitting in your vehicle considering whether to drive across a road that has water flowing over it, stop and repeat this a few times to yourself: “Turn around, don’t drown.”
From BJ Kohlstedt, Lake County Emergency Management Director