Monett fire official explains rural roads, flooding dangers and how to stay safe

Published: Jun. 26, 2021 at 9:23 PM CDT
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MONETT, Mo. (KY3) - Back roads and bridges are staples in rural Missouri, and some might find the creeks and streams that pass through the prairie peaceful.

But when severe weather strikes, they can pose a danger to those out on the road.

“Your car can float away in six inches of water. Plus, you have debris coming from other creeks, rather it be logs, limbs or sticks,” said Lt. Dustin Stellwagen with the Monett Fire Department.

When crossing low-water bridges, it can also be difficult to see deep water.

“With rapid water, it can sweep you off your feet and sweep your car away and push you downstream,” said Stellwagen.

Another reason you never want to drive through a flooded area is those floodwaters could have washed away part of the road, making it even more dangerous. It also doesn’t matter how fast you try to drive through the water.

“If you drive slow, it’s going to take you that much longer to get across your car is going to float away. If you drive fast, it’s going to flood out your engine, and your car is going to die, and it will get swept away,” said Stellwagen.

Big vehicles like trucks and SUVs are more likely to get swept up. This is because their big tires make it easier to float on top of the water and moved downstream.

Country roads aren’t the only place that poses a danger. Flooded city streets can be just as dangerous.

“So you’ve got a flooded area. Maybe there’s not a current moving, but your kids out there playing in the street, but what if the manhole cover’s gone? You step in the road and your kid could fall and drown that way.”

The best way to keep you and your family safe is to turn around, don’t drown.

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