|  TPWD News Release 20041123a                                            |
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[ Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
Nov. 23, 2004
Low-Water Crossings Are No. 1 Cause for Weather-Related Deaths in Texas; Wardens Rescuing Flood Victims
UNDATED - If you think you can make it across water in the road, think again and opt to take the long way home.
Much of east and central Texas is under a flood and/or thunderstorm warning or has already flooded. The San Antonio River at Elmendorf was 20 feet above flood stage. Salado Creek was at 11 feet above flood stage. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game wardens are using the specialized equipment they usually use on the lakes and in rough backwoods terrain to rescue flood victims.
Wardens are expecting major flooding to continue and TPWD is urging the emphasis of these public safety facts, which could save lives:
--It takes less than two feet of water to float a 3,000-pound car
--More Texans die in floods than any other type severe weather event
--Flash-flood deaths in Texas average 15 a year (since 1994) 80 percent could have been avoided if drivers had not driven across flooded streets or underpasses.
--Nearly 50 percent of all flash flood fatalities nationwide involve vehicles.
"Don't attempt to drive through flooded roads, even if the water looks shallow. "If you can't see the road, don't try it. It could be a deadly mistake," said TPWD Lt. Col Pete Flores. "Your life is not replaceable. Everything else is," Flores said.
TPWD law enforcement also advises to watch out for downed power lines and do not go near them, even around residences. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
"It may be too late the second time." Flores said. "The first time we can get them out by land, the second time it will be by boat if we can get to them at all. Don't attempt to drive through flooded roads, even if the water looks shallow.
Today, (Tuesday), Colorado County Game Wardens are attempting to rescue some oil field workers in the back waters of the Colorado River. The oil field workers were attempting to shut down the rig when the waters surrounded them. A Caldwell County Game Warden and other county rescue personnel are attempting to rescue an individual that is stranded in the San Marcos River near Martindale. It is reported that the individual has a broken ankle and is awaiting rescue. Bastrop and Fayette County assisted Bastrop County officials with high water rescues in the Colorado River flood plain near the Travis County line yesterday. About 30 people were taken out of the high water area in the Lazy River subdivision. Near the Fayette County and Bastrop County line, a Game Warden rescued two people that were trying to evacuate using a canoe. Their canoe overturned and they were forced to cling to trees waiting to be rescued.
Even after it stops raining, there can still be danger. The water has no place to go. Flash flood warnings remain in effect for areas of south and eastern Texas. For more weather-related information, visit the National Weather Service's Web site.