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Flood Safety: Turn Around, Don't Drown

Flooding can happen in a flash with our heavy, summertime thunderstorms. If you see the water rising on the roadways, it's best to turn around than drive on through.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Summertime downpours in Jacksonville can cause flooding to happen in a flash with a lot of rain falling in a very short amount of time.

Most flash flooding is caused by slow-moving thunderstorms, thunderstorms repeatedly moving over the same area.

During a flood, water levels and the rate the water is flowing can quickly change. Remain aware and monitor forecast updates from your First Coast News Weather Team. Avoid flood waters at all costs and evacuate immediately when water starts to rise. Don't wait until it's too late!

Here are some tips from the National Weather Service:

  • Stay Informed: Listen to radio and television, including NOAA Weather Radio if possible, check the Internet and social media for information and updates.
  • Get to Higher Ground: If you live in a flood prone area or are camping in a low lying area, get to higher ground immediately.
  • Obey Evacuation Orders: If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Lock your home when you leave. If you have time, disconnect utilities and appliances.
  • Practice Electrical Safety: Don't go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping or popping noises--get out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!
  • Avoid Flood Waters: Don't walk through flood waters. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 if possible. Do NOT drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade; Turn Around, Don't Drown! Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide hazards such as sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc. A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in seconds 12 inches of water can float a car or small SUV, 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles.

Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in cars swept downstream. Many of these drownings are preventable. Never drive around the barriers blocking a flooded road. The road may have collapsed under that water. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.