Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

January 9, 2014

A warning of flooding

Tuesday, we facetiously asked which plague would be visited next upon Kokomo.

We know better than to tempt fate.

Sunday’s 14-odd inches of snow and Monday’s 41-below zero wind chills will give way to temperatures in the mid-30s to low 40s and the likelihood of rain, the National Weather Service predicts.

“We’re talking about a 50-degree swing,” meteorologist Dan McCarthy told The Indianapolis Star this week.

And that severe change in climate will make flooding possible and motorists challenged.

“As that thaws, the ground becomes saturated,” McCarthy told the Star. “A lot of that snow will run off into lakes and rivers. ... There will be flooding on streets because of melting snow.”

With rain atop melting snow, local and state authorities warn motorists to be cautious when driving on flooded roads and highways. Flash floods can come rapidly and unexpectedly.

Indiana State Police offer a few flood safety tips:

• Don’t travel unless absolutely necessary. If you have to travel, carry a cellphone with a car charger.

• Purchase a weather scanner and heed all flood and flash flood warnings issued by the National Weather Service.

• Do not drive around barricades at water crossings.

• Be especially vigilant at night. Many drowning deaths occur at night when it is difficult to see water crossings.

• Do not cross or enter flowing water. Driving fast through high water on the road is not a solution. Faster speeds create less tire contact with the road surface and increase your chance of crashing.

• Driving through standing water may affect your brakes. Test your brakes at low speeds as soon as you exit the water.

• If you choose to abandon your vehicle, respect the force of the water flow – you may be swept off your feet. After you exit the vehicle, seek higher ground.

• Be aware that road erosion may occur when there is running or standing water.

Remember that 6 inches of water will reach the bottoms of most car doors. One foot of water will float many vehicles, and 2 feet of moving water can carry away most vehicles. If you find yourself stranded in flood waters, remain calm and call 911. If you can do so safely, move to higher ground.

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