Use common sense when driving through water
by Paisley Boston
Jun 10, 2014 | 2741 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Recent storms have led to some flooding throughout Bolivar County.

A number of areas in Mississippi experienced four to seven inches of rainfall since early Monday morning.

This excessive amount of rain led to flooding in certain parts of the county and according to Emergency Management Director Bill Quinton, it is not safe to drive in flooded areas.

"There is no way in the world that any drainage system can take a large amount of water in a short amount of time. Drainage systems work accordingly, but when you talk about that amount of water, you just have to wait a little while and allow it to subside," said Quinton.

According to the National Weather Service highly populated areas have a high risk for flash floods.

The construction of buildings, highways, driveways, and parking lots increases runoff by reducing the amount of rain that the ground can absorb.

This runoff increases the flash flood potential.

During periods of heavy rainfall, storm drains may become overwhelmed and flood roads and buildings.

"Some of the streets were probably blocked off to prevent water from getting into buildings, due to waves. When vehicles drive through deep water, they can cause waves water and the waves of water could be pushed into buildings. This could cause and even bigger problem," said Quinton.

"This usually happens when there has been a large amount of water accumulated quickly," he continued.

The heavy and quick rainfall led to a flash flood advisory.

Flash floods are short-term events, occurring within six hours of heavy rain and often within two hours of the start of high intensity rainfall.

A flash flood is characterized by a rapid stream rise with depths of water that can reach well above the banks of the creek.

Flash flood damage and most fatalities tend to occur in areas immediately adjacent to a stream or arroyo.

Additionally, heavy rain falling on steep terrain can weaken soil and cause mud slides, damaging homes, roads and property.

Flash floods can be produced when slow moving or multiple thunderstorms occur over the same area.

When storms move faster, flash flooding is less likely since the rain is distributed over a broader area.

"Whenever flooding occurs, I advise individuals not to drive through the water but if they must, I advise them to drive slowly to prevent waves and possible damage to their vehicles. If you do not live in an area where the water is high please do not drive through it," said Quinton.

The National Weather Service urges individuals to avoid already flooded areas, and areas subject to sudden flooding and to not attempt to cross-flowing streams.

Most flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water, or people playing in high water.

The depth of water is not always obvious.

Quinton also said he has lived in Cleveland for 28 years and the worst roads are Third and Fourth Street.

"Whenever we get a large amount of rain, these two streets become very flooded and we usually have a problem with the drainage system on these streets," he added.

Rain chances have decreased for the rest of the week but citizens should still remain cautious around standing water because this could lead to other potential hazards such as mosquitos and snakes.