Several cities throughout Texas, including Houston—which is the 4th most-populated city in the country—are heavily flooded after getting significant rainfall due to Hurricane Harvey over the weekend. The images that have been released that show parts of Houston completely underwater are bringing back memories of the 2010 flood that devastated Nashville for many residents.
Per a report by the Tennessean, the flooding in Texas may be even worse, as the area was inundated with water even faster than Nashville. Some locations in Texas received more than 20 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, while Nashville received around the same amount in a 48-hour period in 2010.
A Facebook post by the U.S. National Weather Service in Nashville also stated that conditions are unlikely to improve in Texas over the next week, as an additional round of rain is expected in the coming days.
More than 1,000 water rescues were reported as of Sunday morning, with many more expected as flood waters continue to rise and spread, affecting more and more parts of the state. Volunteers from several cities and counties in Tennessee have been dispatched to Texas to assist with relief and rescue efforts.
If You Encounter Floodwater While Driving, Follow These Tips
One of the biggest dangers that residents face when their cities or towns have floods is getting trapped in their vehicles. Flash floods and major flood events due to hurricanes and other natural disasters have tremendous force and can overtake vehicles in seconds. Knowing what to do in the event of a flood can save your life when you’re out on the roadway.
The next time you’re driving in heavy rain or during a flash flood warning, be sure to follow these tips:
- Never drive past barricades.
Emergency responders and transportation officials will often set up barricades at the entrances to roads that are known to be flooded or prone to flooding during heavy rainfall. If you come across a road that is closed and blocked by barricades, take an alternate route—never drive past the barricades.
- Never drive through standing or rushing water on roads or in parking lots.
Water is both fast-moving and deceptively deep. Even just a few inches of fast moving water is enough to carry a vehicle off the roadway. Furthermore, what appears to be shallow water may be significantly deeper at its deepest point. If you drive through it, your vehicle could become severely damaged, flooded, or even be swept away by the current.
- Avoid driving through any water if downed power or electrical lines are nearby.
Hurricanes, tornadoes, and other powerful weather events can cause power lines to fall. It’s important to note that broken power lines are still “live,” which means they’re producing active electrical currents. And because currents easily pass through water, vehicles can be severely damaged and occupants severely injured if the water they’re in is electrified.
- If your vehicle stalls in floodwater, move to higher ground ASAP.
Staying inside your vehicle when you’re stuck in floodwater can be extremely dangerous, as you may be swept into deeper water that could enter your vehicle’s interior. As soon as you know that your vehicle won’t start, get out and move to higher ground. If the water around you is moving too fast to safely exit, call for help and wait for assistance.
Driving through floodwater won’t just ruin your vehicle—it could also cost you your life. In fact, the National Weather Service reports that around 75 people die every year because of flash flooding in the U.S., and many of those victims were caught in their vehicles when floodwaters reach them. An expert with the Weather Channel says that nearly two-thirds of all flash flood deaths from 1995 to 2010, excluding those associated with Hurricane Katrina, occurred in vehicles.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident attorneys know that severe weather is a significant contributor to accidents in Middle Tennessee. Being careful and erring on the side of caution can help you significantly reduce your risks of being a floodwater statistic.
Unfortunately, not all drivers exercise caution and show a dedication to safety when they get behind the wheel, regardless of the weather or road conditions, putting people like you and your loved ones at risk. If you were hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault, our legal team may be able to help you. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation by dialing (615) 200-1111 or completing a free online consultation form.