Floods and Extreme Weather
In Texas, especially in central Texas and West Texas, flash floods are a common and real danger. In hilly terrain, flash floods can strike with little or no advance warning. Be aware of changes in the weather and seek higher ground early. Watch for water rising rapidly in streams and rivers. Watch for unusually hard rain over several hours or steady substantial rain over several days. Never camp on low ground next to streams, bottoms of canyons or deep arroyos since a flash flood can catch you while you're asleep. Distant rain may be channeled into gullies and ravines, turning a quiet stream into a deadly torrent in minutes. Water travels fast - if it's raining upstream you can be flooded even if the sky is clear overhead.
Watch the Weather!
When a waterway has swollen beyond its normal banks special care should be taken.
- Study the river before crossing - walk along edge & look for best possible place to cross
- Do not cross if it looks dangerous- walk to a safer crossing.
- Look for the wide, shallow areas, which are usually safest
- Avoid the main current
- If you can't see the bottom, it's probably too deep to wade across
- Watch for floating debris
- Look for sand, gravel or cobble stone bottom
- Look for gradual slopes to enter & exit (avoid cutbanks)
- Crossing on a log keeps feet dry, but if you slip, you will most likely be injured - avoid dry or rotten logs
- Rock-hopping - be careful if rocks are slippery or loose
- Run a taut rope to solid anchors on each bank, if possible
- Use a wide, stable canoe or Jon-boat when possible
If you fall or get swept away...
- Float on your back, keep your feet up in front of you.
- Don't try to stand in fast water.
- Use your hands to maneuver until you reach shallower water.
- Use your feet to push off obstacles. Falling into cold, deep water can result in hypothermia.
On the Road
Never disregard placed road barriers. It is against the law and can imperil you and others that may have to rescue you. DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH FLOODED AREAS, (“Turn Around, Don’t Drown!”) even if it looks shallow enough to cross. Roads concealed by water may not be intact. The majority of deaths due to flash flooding occur when people attempt to drive through flooded areas. Water only a foot deep can displace a 1500 lb. vehicle! If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf you and your vehicle and sweep it away.
Texas has all extremes of weather from bitter cold to blistering heat, from prolonged droughts to sudden flashfloods. Hunters need to be aware of their surroundings and be prepared to deal with any unexpected changes, before and after they occur.