CAUTION: Don't underestimate the power of moving water

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MADISON, Ala. – Many parts of Madison County experienced some level of flooding overnight. Experts said just a few inches of moving water can knock you down or veer you off course, which is why we shouldn’t underestimate the power of water.

Indian Creek is flooded near Providence and University Drive in Madison

The Indian Creek basin in largely located in southwestern portions of Madison County.  The area experienced 2-4 inches of rainfall in the last 24 hours.

National Weather Service Senior Meteorologist Kristopher White said Indian Creek usually flows at 3.5 feet, but Thursday’s rush looked different. He said, “as of this morning at about 10 a.m. Indian Creek was at a stage of about 8.5 feet. At about 8.5 feet, Creekwood Park playground is underwater as is large portions of the Indian Creek Greenway.”

Indian Creek near Providence and University Drive is in a minor flooding stage, but other parts of Madison County experienced worse conditions overnight.

Beware of floodwaters

“In any sort of flooded situation, we typically advise people not to drive in areas where there is water covering the road – especially if that water is moving.” said White.

Normal walking speed is about 2-3 miles per hour, but it’s enough to push a small car in just 6 inches of water and it’s enough to push a large truck in 2 feet of water. “It’s important to remember that the force of moving water is very powerful,” said White.

Moving water is very powerful

Even if it doesn’t seem like much don’t underestimate floods. NOAA researchers said more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard.

“You’re typically driving across perpendicular to how the water is moving and so that exposes the long broadside of your vehicle to that moving water,” said White.

Avoid already flooded areas

That exposure enhances the force. “Two-three miles per hour, that’s all the speed you need to get a car moving,” said White.

Researchers said avoid flooded areas especially if the water is flowing as fast as Indian Creek. The National Weather Service predicts another few inches of rainfall next week. With the ground already saturated with water, there’s the potential for more floods.

Tips from NOAA on how to be flood safe

  • Monitor the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, and Live Alert 19 for vital weather-related information.
  • 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 Drown!
  • Road beds may be washed out under floodwaters. 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 conditions.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

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