No, you cannot make it through that floodwater. It doesn’t matter how good a driver you think you are, or how tall or big your vehicle.
Less than a foot of water can send your car floating away, and in a flood that means you can sink and drown.
“If we could say anything over and over and over, it’s “Don’t drive into water,” Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told St. Louis public radio this week as his state and others were slammed with record flooding.
But as he and every safety official keep giving warnings, people continue to think they can defy the treacherous force of water.
Storms have been blamed for roughly 49 deaths this past week across the country, and though some are blamed on tornadoes, many died because they attempted to drive through floodwater. In Missouri, 14 are dead. This week a motorist died after being swept off a road in Crawford County.
In Jefferson County, south of St. Louis, rescuers pulled a man from his car stuck in floodwater, CNN affiliate KMOV reported. He said he had not seen the water, because it was dark.
Five international soldiers temporarily stationed in Missouri for training when their car was swept away by water they attempted to drive through.
According to FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Administration:
- Just 6 inches of moving water will reach the base of most passenger vehicles;
- 2 feet of water can sweep away your vehicle, even an SUV or truck;
- Most vehicles will float in just 1 foot of water.
If that doesn’t seem like a lot, consider that a cubic foot of water weighs more than 60 pounds. Each foot of rising water applies 500 pounds of lateral force on a vehicle.
If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, the agency advises, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car to enter moving water.
The Weather Channel has repeatedly warned how dangerous it is to drive through water. This year, the Weather Channel wrote about a Louisville, Kentucky, woman who was stranded at 9:30 a.m. on a rural road. The car was swept away by 11:30 a.m., and when rescuers reached her, she was dead.