The National Weather Service Partners with Clark and Jackson Counties to Install "Turn Around Don't Drown" Road Safety Signs
The National Weather Service (NWS) in La Crosse, WI is teaming up with Clark and Jackson County Emergency Management officials to install “When Flooded Turn Around Don’t Drown” signage at a few low water crossing areas. These signs will be unveiled during a ceremony on Tuesday, August 9, 2011. This ceremony will begin at 10:30 am, and will be held at the Clark County Courthouse, 517 Court Street, Room 307, in Neillsville, WI.
Flash flooding from heavy rainfall events is a frequent occurrence at low water crossings across western and central Wisconsin. Both Clark and Jackson Counties have identified a few areas where this occurrence creates a safety hazard to passing vehicles. To heighten awareness, these signs will be posted to alert drivers to be wary of water crossing the roadway.
Signs will be installed at the following locations: Black River at Clark County Road N 4 miles southwest of Withee; South Fork Eau Claire River at Clark County Road M just downstream of Mead Lake; and the Black River at Jackson County Road VV near North Bend.
Many people believe that their 3,000 pound or more vehicle will always maintain contact with the road surface, thereby keeping them safe. They believe their car is too heavy to float. But think about that for a moment. Aircraft carriers float, and they weigh as much as 97,000 tons! Vehicles (and ships) float because of buoyancy. In fact, most cars can be swept away in as little as 18-24 inches of moving water. This includes trucks and SUVs.
And in moving water, all that needs to happen is for the vehicle to become buoyant enough for the force of the moving water to push it sideways. Once swept downstream, the vehicle will often roll to one side or even flip over entirely. The driver then only has a few seconds to escape the vehicle.
The solution is simple. Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Do not cross flooded roadways. The water may be much deeper than it appears, and the roadbed may be washed out. Always respect any posted signs and highway barricades.
These “When Flooded Turn Around Don’t Drown” signs were provided by the National Weather Service Hydrology Services Division, and were installed by the Clark and Jackson County Highway Departments.
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