CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — As the rain continues to fall this week, flash flood alerts continue to roll throughout the region. But do you know what to do if you get caught in a flash flood?
“Flooding is our number one disaster in the state and in Kanawha County. We deal with more flooding than any other disaster combined,” said C.W. Sigman with Kanawha County EMS.
According to the National Weather Service, more than 120 people die in the U.S. each year due to flash flooding…but why so many deaths?
“The steep valleys, the fast-moving streams, and creeks here in West Virginia do prove fatal. Cars especially—they think they can drive through the water, and a lot of times the vehicle will end up a long way downstream and a lot of times it’s fatal,” said Chief Lance Carney with the St. Albans Fire Department.
As many counties in West Virginia are currently under a flash flood watch, emergency management crews have one strong message.
“Regardless of how high the water is…don’t drive through it,” said Sigman.
This month marks the five-year anniversary of the 2016 floods that happened in West Virginia that devastated thousands of homes and killed dozens.
“Our last major catastrophic storm with the loss of life, that devastated the Elk River community. We don’t want a repeat of that,” said Sigman.
Dangerous situations can occur quickly and don’t require much.
“A lot of times its not very deep water and people underappreciate the power of water,” said Carney.
So the motto for for when you encounter flash flooding while driving is “turn around, don’t drown.”