Turn Around Don't Drown: Heavy rain leads to flooding across the Ozarks

By  | 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Record breaking rainfall hit Springfield on Friday. The downpours led to flooding all across the Ozarks.

Despite the risk for flooded roads, experts say people are still not heeding the most basic safety tip.

Turn around don’t drown, you have heard the slogan before.

Patty Dunn, who has lived in Springfield for 5 years, said, “It seems like common sense.”

Dunn’s daughter found out the hard way when driving through a flooded road. Her car got swept downstream.

“The water just immediately took her off and into the ditch. She was very scared, there was water rushing all around her, and the car was filling up fast,” Dunn said.

Her car was totaled, but thankfully Dunn’s daughter was fine.

“She was in a hurry and she just kept going, hoping she can get through,” Dunn said.

Lesson here, you cannot drive through water. Just two feet of water is enough to float your car.

“Or even a large truck or a school bus for that matter,” David Pennington, the Fire Chief for the City of Springfield.

Unfortunately, not everyone understands the risks. On average, rescue crews perform six water rescues in Greene County during heavy rainfall events.

They have to send anywhere from 5 to 25 people to perform the rescue. Crews include a specially trained water team, police, EMS, boat crews, and in extreme cases a helicopter.

“The frustration is that people are decisions that people are making that are putting themselves at risk of being injured or killed,” Pennington said.

Nearly all of flooding deaths are preventable if you pay attention to the warnings

“It can flood anywhere, at anytime,” Pennington said.

Pay attention to signs and barriers along roads.

“Oftentimes barriers get moved, and cars will drive around them,” Pennington.

If you come across water on the roadway, Pennington said to find another route.

“It might increase your time to get where you’re going but at least you’ll get to where you’re going safely,” Pennington said.

Pay attention to forecasts for advance warnings.

“The key is prevention, and not going into the water to begin with,” Pennington said.

Take extra care at night because you may not see the water on roads. When it comes to driving in rain, go slower, allow more time for stopping, and put more space between you and the person in front of you.

For KY3's latest gallery with flooding photos from Friday morning, click here.