If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: “Turn around. Don’t drown.”
Police and rescue workers can’t say it enough, yet some people still choose to drive through flooded roads.
It just doesn’t look that bad, does it?
Well, it could be, and you shouldn’t take the risk. When you drive into flood water, you’re also putting the people who would rescue you in harm’s way. But that hasn’t stopped hundreds of motorists from plowing through flood waters as they started to rise across Southern Illinois and Missouri.
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Here’s a compilation of motorists who didn’t heed the advice:
Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers rescued a few people stranded in flood waters in the Poplar Bluff area.
In O’Fallon, crews performed a water rescue for a motorist who drove into deep water covering the roadway. St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency posted about several water rescues since flood waters began accumulating over the weekend.
Despite the fact that U.S. 50 was closed, a driver in a truck decided to go on through. One of the men who died in Missouri, 60-year-old Kevin Compton of Poplar Bluff, was found in his pickup truck in a ditch along Highway 53.
Motorists aren’t the only ones at risk when it comes to becoming stranded in flood waters. Mobile homes and other buildings can quickly be moved in flood waters. Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation for Valley Park, Missouri and a voluntary evacuation order for West Alton, Missouri. Though some residents said they would stay, the Missouri Highway Patrol urged people to get out before waters got too high.
IDOT says it has received several calls about U.S. 50 from people who thought it looked OK to travel on, the department said. As of Wednesday morning, IDOT crews had not inspected the roadway to ensure it was safe, and although water was no longer on the roadway, a steady rain was falling again Wednesday morning. Late Wednesday morning the roadway was reopened to traffic.
With an additional 2-4 inches of rain expected, crews have kept busy rescuing stranded motorists. The additional rain could exacerbate flooding, hydrologist Mark Fuchs told the BND on Monday.
“That rain obviously is falling on already-soaked soil. The potential for rapid runoff is high. I think we will see some pretty high potential for area flooding … In all likelihood, with the flooding that is already taking place, this will create a second round of flooding or prolong the overflowing waters,” Fuchs said.
Remind your children not to play near flood waters; adults shouldn’t go near flood waters, either. In Jefferson County, south of St. Louis, a 78-year-old man drowned Sunday after walking to a creek to look at rising water. Authorities say he slipped and was swept away.
In O’Fallon, crews rescued an 8-year-old from rushing flood waters after he was sucked into a drain pipe Sunday. He was found safe hanging onto a ladder in a nearby manhole.