The winter of 2015 is slowly fading into history as spring is making its way across the country. A shopper’s thoughts turn to not having to reschedule shops because of inclement weather and actually being able to plan a route and stick to the plan. While the arrival of spring is a welcomed event, it brings its own set of problems.
Flooding: The winter snowmelt, combined with usual spring rainfall will likely cause flooding in many areas of the country. If you see water flowing across a road, don’t attempt to cross. You have no idea if the road under the water has been washed out. Additionally, six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars and can cause the driver to lose control. As little as a foot of water can cause some vehicles to float. Two feet of water will float most vehicles.
Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.
The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. Why? The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.
Tornadoes: In a car or truck—Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible — out of the traffic lanes. [It is safer to get the car out of mud later if necessary than to cause a crash.] Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If in the open country, run to low ground away from any cars [which may roll over on you]. Lie flat and face-down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris. Most tornadoes occur in the late afternoon and early evening, when the heating of the day has made the atmosphere unstable.
When I’m on the road, I will check The Weather Channel first thing in the morning for a general forecast. I do keep a scanner in my car so I can listen to the NOAA weather forecast if it appears that conditions are going to deteriorate during the day.
If you’re going to be on the road, have some energy bars, some water, a blanket and pillow in the trunk just in case you run into a mechanical problem. Like the scouts say, “Be prepared.” It can make your shopping a lot less stressful.